Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Derek Augustus, who co-owns local recycling company Environmentality with Karissa Bowley, has always been interested in finding his creative eye, and designing and building things by hand, he says.
"I've done so many different jobs over the years and I just have an obsession with efficiency," he says. "I spend a great deal of my mental energy thinking of ways to do jobs in more efficient ways and I've invented quite a number of tools over the years."
He specifically loves to turn trash into usable products. One of the first things he ever built out of recyclables was a solar heater out of mostly beer bottles and a small computer fan.
"Some tools didn't actually work out well, but I have a strong desire for trying to simplify things," he says.
Augustus, 36, a Kentucky native, graduated from Murrah High School in 2000. He attended Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss., and received his associates degree in general studies in 2002.
In 2017, he and Bowley turned their shared passion for recycling into Environmentality, a company that tries to make recycling more accessible to Jacksonians.
He also gets to use his love for upcycling products in the business. He rents a processing warehouse, where he builds recycling-processing machines such as glass breakers, forklifts and warehouse belts out of products such as old ovens, microwaves and treadmills.
"... I find it amazing how I'm able to go to the side of the road and find unwanted exercise machines and build usable machines to help my company out of them," he says.
The business' services include recycling glass, paper, cardboard, plastic and metal. Residents pay $5 to $10 per pickup, while commercial businesses pay $20 to $60 depending how far the drive is, how much waste they have and how well it's sorted.
The company has more than 100 residential customers and about 15 to 20 commercial business customers, including Cups Espresso Cafe in Fondren, Cathead Distillery and Davaine Lighting.
He also owns Jackson Jumpers LLC, an inflatables company that allows people to rent out space jumps for parties for 10 years.
For more information, find the business on Facebook.