“Hand someone a jar of Karmic B.S.™ sanitized bovine excrement, and their first reaction is likely to be confusion,” says ecopreneur Joe Hennager. “They see the bull and the yin-yang in our logo — and the pile of bull poop — and they usually look up with a question in their eyes.
“But the second they tip the jar to read the punch line on top, they burst out laughing. They get it. The person giving them the jar is saying, ‘This is full of B.S. & so are you!’
“The idea of karma is that you get what you give,” says Hennager, who also happens to be my husband and the co-owner of Blue Planet Green Living. “The yin-yang symbol in our logo represents the idea of ‘what goes around comes around,’ which is another of the punch lines we use. After all, this is real, sanitized B.S. (and you know what that means). When someone gives you B.S., you can give it back — literally — with our adult novelty gift.”
Joe and I are the principal owners of this, um, somewhat unorthodox, ecopreneurial venture that turns poop into product. When we began talking about his unique idea, we both had a passion for rivers and for Iowa’s rivers in particular, but not a whole lot of expertise in how to go about implementing it. Today, thanks to Joe’s ingenuity and some heavy-duty research by scientists, what I thought was a “crazy idea” has become a full-fledged business called ReDeMa, LLC (short for Research, Development, and Manufacturing).
“One of the definitions of the word redeem means to improve something,” Joe will tell you. “We’re working to improve the environment by using animal waste to make useful products.
“When I was a child growing up in Iowa,” he adds, “it was safe to swim and fish in the creeks and streams that meandered through our farms and neighborhoods. But today, many of these waterways contain such high levels of bacteria, it’s not safe to even touch the water, let alone eat the fish. Much of that bacteria comes from the runoff of manure from the nearly 118 million farm animals raised in the state.”
So that’s the first goal of ReDeMa products: to prevent pollution by reducing the amount of farm animal fecal matter that gets washed into Iowa’s waterways. Not an easy task, considering Iowa has more farm animals than any other governmental body in the world except China. And that means we have a whole lot of poop. You can read statistics about just how much poop Iowa produces at KarmicBS.com.
Get a Laugh
The second, and most obvious, goal of this new kind of greeting card — a “greeting jar,” as Joe calls it — is this: to get a laugh. And, boy, do we all need a good belly laugh in these tough economic times. Giving a gift of Karmic B.S.™ or Karmic Bull Shit™ (our “adult” version) or any of our other sanitized bovine excrement products causes almost everyone to burst out laughing.
As a gift to a friend or family member who tends to exaggerate, tells lame jokes, or talks you under the table, the passing of a jar of actual bovine excrement is a friendly way of saying, “Gotcha! I’m onto your B.S.” That’s all in good fun, and it’s a great stocking stuffer. Joe adds. “Hey, it’s better than a piece of coal.”
Call Out the Liars
Our third purpose is more pointed: to call out the corporate liars who put profits before people and then try to trick us into thinking they’re doing us a favor, the bloviating windbags in the media who foment hatred and anger among the populace, and the politicians who forget their promises the minute they’re elected. Now we can give them back the B.S. they’re spouting.
“We have a trio of political products that voters can send to their elected officials with a personalized message, telling them exactly why their votes or their campaign promises are B.S.,” Joe says. “It doesn’t matter which party you support, or whether you’re in the middle. There’s always someone who deserves to be called on their B.S..
“This will be good for elections for the rest of eternity. For the 2012 elections, we are printing display boxes that say ‘American Politics is B.S.’ The punch lines on the bottles announce, ‘This is full of B.S. and so are the Democrats,’ or ’This is full of B.S. and so are the Republicans,’ or ‘This is full of B.S. and so is the Tea Party.’ You can choose the politician you want to send them to, along with a personalized message that tells the recipient exactly why you sent it. Bullshit is blind to party lines,” he adds.
In fact, we’ve been attending rallies across the political spectrum, handing out samples of Republican B.S., Tea Party B.S., and Democratic B.S. We’ve talked with Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, and Tea Partiers, and they’ve all admitted that even people in their own parties occasionally spout B.S. “It’s time for us to speak out,” Joe says. “We need to let our politicians know that we’re onto their games. We don’t want their lies and false promises anymore.
“The Tea Party sent thousands and thousands of tea bags to Washington in protest. But what happened to all those tea bags? Their elected officials get to drink free tea for the rest of their lives. Message lost. Imagine what will happen if we send thousands of jars of sanitized bovine excrement to Washington. That doesn’t go so well with their silver tea services,” Joe adds.
Cleaner than Broccoli or Spinach
But is it safe to send bull poop (and most of it is, literally, from bulls, by the way) through the mail to your Congresspersons?
It is, if it’s a ReDeMa product. Our sanitized bovine excrement products have been evaluated and approved by the U.S. Postal Service.
“If you send raw fecal matter through the mail without proper approval and precautions, you might get arrested as a terrorist,” Joe says.
“But not with Karmic B.S.™ sanitized bovine excrement or any of our other products. You can send them through the mail with confidence — or we’ll even ship them for you.”
Why are ReDeMa products so safe? “We’ve taken out almost all of the bacteria,” Joe says. “It’s a trade-secret process that makes this bull poop cleaner than the broccoli or spinach you buy in the grocery store. That’s why we can call it ‘sanitized bovine excrement.’ It really is sanitized.”
“So if it has less bacteria than broccoli or spinach, are you saying that people can eat it?” a reporter recently asked Joe.
“Of course not. It’s fecal matter,” Joe told him. “Achieving food grade levels of bacteria just tells the world that our products are perfectly safe for our workers to handle, safe for stores to sell, and safe for consumers to live with in their homes.”
In addition, the jars are sealed shut so that customers can’t open them. And the label contains two warnings: “Do not open,” and “Not for human consumption.” It’s a novelty gag gift, after all.
Economic and Environmental Benefits
“We have another goal, too,” Joe says. “That is to give farmers a new income source for their bovine manure, so they can sell it to us rather than over-apply it on their fields.
“Today, animal waste is worth $6.40 per ton to a farmer as fertilizer. When the waste fits our criteria, we pay farmers $30.00 a ton. Bovine excrement has many chemical and fibrous qualities that make it the ideal material for the products that we are developing.
“Once we figured out how to remove the bacteria, dozens more environmental and economic benefits became evident. For every ton of animal waste we capture, we’re lessening the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere; this lowers our carbon footprint and slows the depletion of the ozone. We’re reducing fecal runoff to our rivers, which is saving fish and waterfowl, and making rivers safer for recreation. We’re also reducing contamination of deep-water aquifers, which will improve the quality of drinking water.
“And,” Hennager adds, “by providing jobs, we are employing the unemployed. We’re helping families put food on the tables, doing our small part to improve the economy, and helping our country get back on its feet.”
The concept of karma includes doing good, of course, and ReDeMa takes that idea very seriously. It’s not a religion, but a way of life for us. Because we’re commited environmentalists, one of our most important goals has been to have as little negative impact as possible in producing our product. One way we do that is to source as locally as possible. “ReDeMa products are entirely made in the USA, from bull to bottle, so to speak,” Joe says.
“And both the contents and the jar are completely recyclable. When the novelty loses its appeal, all the owner has to do is to break open the jar and dump the contents onto their garden. Voila! Compost! The jar itself – plastic label and all – can be recycled at a local recycling facility. We want to insult the recipient – not injure the planet,” he adds.
Or, if you don’t want to do the job yourself, ship the jar back to us. We have a take-back program that gives you a 10 percent discount on a new jar of our product for every jar you return to us for recycling.
“But we don’t stop there,” Joe says. “When you buy any of our Karmic B.S.™ or Karmic BULL SHIT™ or political B.S. sanitized bovine excrement products, a portion of those sales goes directly to environmental product research, clean water projects, and humanitarian charities worldwide.”
Our current charity focus is Tagum City Food Bank, a charity that is close to my own heart, as it is largely funded through the efforts of David Wasson, my cousin, who feeds malnourished children in the Philippines.
The First-Ever B.S. Mechanical Pencil
If a novelty gag gift doesn’t get your attention, our latest product should. We’ve been working with a local woodworker who has developed a process to make mechanical pencils and (coming soon!) pens out of ReDeMa’s sanitized bovine excrement.
The first-ever mechanical pencil made from sanitized bovine excrement is for sale on our website. “You won’t believe how beautiful it is until you see it,” Joe says. “It looks like a fine marble, but it feels like sculpted wood.”
So who would ever want to write with a pen or pencil made of bull excrement?
“This is the ideal gift for an attorney, whose clients constantly feel they are signing documents that are B.S. Soon, the attorney will be able to hand them a pen that’s befitting of the documents they have to sign. And I just wish I could be there to see the reaction!” Joe says.
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