"USELESS" Launches Online Socially Conscious Venture that will Inspire People to "Use Less" and "Give More"

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USELESS (http://www.useless.org) launches its campaign and online shop today by offering environmental and socially responsible products. Its mission is to use less and give more. The line of consumer products help people use less of the planet's natural resources, and at the same time gives more to people in the developing world who lack the very basics needed to sustain healthy lives.

USELESS (http://www.useless.org) launches its campaign and online shop today by offering environmental and socially responsible products. Its mission is to use less and give more. The line of consumer products help people use less of the planet's natural resources, and at the same time gives more to people in the developing world who lack the very basics needed to sustain healthy lives.

USELESS, a social venture that aims to revolutionize the way people think of themselves as consumers and the power they have to improve the planet, is the creation of Mark Simmons and Kathy Fletcher. Together, the two have created a simple solution to buying cool products that don't leave a huge footprint and keep the dollars in America.

"We made a conscious decision to source all our products in the USA," says Simmons, a marketing expert who has consulted for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. "It was really important to us that each thing we sell has as small an impact on our environmental as possible. And shipping things in from coal-powered factories overseas just doesn't make any sense anymore."

Everything USELESS does is designed to use less. The packaging materials, for instance, are 100% post consumer and the larger items are shipped in boxes that read: "This is a useless box. Please reuse it." While Simmons and Fletcher readily admit that buying USELESS products will not single-handedly solve the problem of too much unnecessary consumption, they think that the provocative brand name will encourage people to think about their role as consumers.

"If people can at least question what they buy and the impact it has, then that's a good thing. They will have become conscious consumers," he says. "USELESS isn't saying 'don't do this or do that,' it's providing cool, utilitarian, well-made products that happen to help people use less. Even if they just buy a USELESS tee because they like the design, they will still be helping the planet."

The "give more" part of the USELESS campaign starts right at home, with 10 percent of profits going to charities like Wherever The Need (http://www.wherevertheneed.org), a non profit that delivers eco san toilets and water supply to underserved countries worldwide. "At useless.org we give people the opportunity to see exactly where their money's going, down to the specific village it will fund," says Kathy Fletcher, co-founder of USELESS. "Projects span the globe and are in villages in Sierra Leone, India and Nicaragua."

"Every seventeen seconds a child under five dies from diseases resulting from poor sanitation, and that's just tragic," says Fletcher, who has worked in the non-profit world for eighteen years and is a passionate advocate of human rights. "Especially when here in the developed world we use so much."

Here's a company that is more committed to their message than to their profit - they actually sell handmade recycled steel stencils of the logo so that you can brand anything you own as 'useless.' On top of that, to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, they are giving people the chance to buy the ultimate USELESS product - absolutely nothing. Visitors to useless.org can buy 'Earth,' the mother of all products, and for the $25.00 price tag they get absolutely nothing in return except the knowledge that 100% of the money goes to water and sanitation projects.

Personally selected USELESS products are chosen for their sustainability, are built to last quality and all made in the USA. They include: USELESS-branded organic cotton tees, hoodies and caps; messenger bags and totes made from recycled billboards; notebooks made from 100% post consumer paper; and sturdy BPA-free plastic reusable water bottles. Products in the pipeline include vintage tees re-branded USELESS and recycled steel stencils so people can brand their own clothes USELESS.

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Kathy Fletcher
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