When Patio Screendoor (not the name his mama gave him) forgot to bring his reusable grocery bags to the market, he figured he’d simply pick one up along with his groceries. The store’s options—either too expensive or cheaply made—weren’t thrilling. “I had already replaced a few flimsy bags at this point and was determined not to own another crappy bag,” says Screendoor.
So about a year ago he started making his own reusable bags. While sourcing materials for his totes he learned that billboard vinyls are tossed aside after their short lives as roadside beacons of materialism. The sturdy, graphic vinyls stood out as the ideal material for his endeavor and provided a solution to the ironic practice of “green” shopping bags too often being produced in a not-so-green manner. “Every store seemed to have their own bags, but none were really made here. And if they were, it seemed that they were made out of some kind of new materials,” explains Screendoor.
With the help of girlfriend Laura Van Brunt-Screendoor, the vinyls are scrubbed, cut and sewn into durable, multiuse bags. The once giant graphics end up as sublime chunks of colors, text and images stenciled with the company name, L.A.N.D., an acronym for “Landfill Avoidance the Natural Decision.”
The manufacturing originally took place in Laura’s Rio Rancho apartment. But when their popularity expanded beyond family and friends, the couple moved the operation to an Albuquerque warehouse. They are experimenting with solar power, and once L.A.N.D is profitable, they intend to donate 10 percent to environmental charities. If you’re looking for quality assurance, look no further than Patio’s own demand for longevity: “If it doesn't last, it shouldn't exist.”