Darrell Jobe believes in second chances – for both the planet and the people who inhabit it.
“Vericool provides companies with a second chance to improve the environment through choosing high-performing, sustainable packaging. We’ve helped eliminate tons of EPS from the environment,” he said. “We also offer second-chance career opportunities to formerly-incarcerated individuals. It’s been amazing and deeply rewarding to see the positive effect that a job at Vericool has had on some of our employees’ lives.”
Consider it a win-win. In an era of environmental and social forward-thinking, Vericool is leading the pack.
“Vericool was founded with the mission of replacing expanded polystyrene (EPS), commonly known as Styrofoam, which wreaks havoc on land and in waterways, and is often mistaken for food by wildlife,” said Jobe, CEO of Vericool. “For decades, EPS was the only option for shipping goods that needed to be kept cold. However, the detrimental environmental impact of EPS has created a real need for cold-chain packaging that is better for the environment and that can easily be put in curbside recycling. I knew there needed to be more sustainable packaging that would still keep products safe from packaging to receipt, and I set out to create it.”
Jobe started Vericool in his Pleasanton dining room, where he worked on the prototypes and designs that would become Vericoolers.
“Our first manufacturing and office location, which we still occupy and plan to expand, is in Livermore,” Jobe said. “Livermore, where I’ve lived for four years and which is a great city with proximity to San Jose and San Francisco, provides us with access to target customers and key funding sources.”
For the past 60 years, EPS foam solved one problem but created another, more disturbing problem. Although it provided inexpensive, lightweight storage, EPS damaged the environment – ending up in landfills, oceans and lakes. Polystyrene, manufactured from non-renewable fossil fuels, is not biodegradable and it breaks into tiny pieces, making cleanup nearly impossible. Further, compounds—benzene and styrene—used to produce EPS have been identified as being harmful to human health, causing adverse neurological issues and increased risk of cancers from prolonged exposure.
“Vericool uses recyclable and compostable materials that meet our customers’ cold-chain shipping needs, and are tested to customer and industry standards,” Jobe said. “Our clients are primarily in the food-delivery and health-care industries, and share an interest in a green solution for keeping food, medicines and other temperature-sensitive products cold from packaging to receipt, with zero impact on the environment.”
As more cities and counties nationwide ban EPS products, patented and patent-pending Vericoolers are providing a low-cost, reliable and sustainable alternative.
“For the fast-growth food kit and meal delivery subscription industry, companies now can ensure the safety of customer orders in a way that makes both financial and environmental sense,” Jobe said. “Our customers see Vericoolers as an extension of their brand and as an important part of their customers’ experience. Think about getting a package: part of the fun is the anticipation and then actually opening the packaging. What is inside? Is everything in good shape? Our customers understand the importance of that experience for their customers.”
Companies presently using Vericoolers include TF Scientific, Habit, Raw Living, Spirulina and Butcher Box. Additionally, Vericool creates custom Vericoolers featuring customers’ names, logos and colors.
“Vericool is a second-chance company,” Jobe said. “We provide a second chance to the environment through our products, as well as employment for formerly-incarcerated individuals. This makes us a better community member.”
Vericool aims to reduce recidivism by providing jobs for parolees, which results in reduced prison populations, lighter police workloads and lower prison budgets, along with safer neighborhoods and stronger families.
Located at 7066 Las Positas Road, Vericool currently employs 45 people.
“The biggest challenge we’ve faced is evolving our business processes to keep pace with our rapid growth. We have shifted across every sector of our business ̶ from IT to manufacturing to human resources to management,” said Jobe. “Rapid growth is a good challenge to have.”