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“Plastics!”—Not

Green Awards Winner: Yumi-Eco Solutions: cleaning up housewares



Virginia P’an has a very simple mission for YumiEco Solutions: to replace plastics with sustainable natural products. “Plastics account for 25 percent of all solid waste in our landfills,” says P’an, who started this houseware and tabletop-products business in 2010.

Working with partners in China, P’an became aware of new natural materials that were being developed for the consumer marketplace. At first, she took these materials to the corporate world. She pitched Weight Watchers and Oreo, for example, to replace their plastic food trays that slide inside the packaging with YumiEco’s starch-based products.

“They couldn’t make a decision,” P’an says. “They wanted to test it and test it and test it.” Finally, with the help of a grant from the state of Connecticut, P’an and her team created their own consumer products to demonstrate the viability of these new innovative materials.

Now, six years later, YumiEco Solutions has two main products that are sold in more than a thousand retail stores across the county. The Return product line is a replacement for paper and plastic tableware—the plates and other items you might use for picnics or barbecues, then toss. Return products are made from a natural starch. 

“They are produced using non-GMO corn and starch, they are microwave safe, durable, biodegradable, compostable, renewable, sustainable. It’s the throwaway that goes away,” she says. “They are affordable and made with exceptional quality.”

Yumi Nature+ and Yumi Art+ products are made from 100-percent natural bamboo. This line of serving pieces is dur-able, sustainable, biodegradable, melamine-free, and petroleum-free. “This is a revolutionary and stylish bamboo product line. It’s made from all-natural materials that are renewable and farmed,” she says. “Bamboo grows like a weed and is very abundant.”

In March 2015, Yumi had ten of its bamboo fiber products featured in the Hall of Global Innovation, Going Green exhibit at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago. “This highlighted to thousands of the attendees there how green products could be high-quality, colorful, functional, and attractively designed,” she says.

The International Home and Housewares show featured 2,100 exhibitors across 13 miles of floor space from 45 countries. Yumi was the only company at the show to exclusively sell innovative green and eco-friendly home and tableware products. Yumi was nominated as a Tech Company to Watch at the Connecticut Innovation Summit in Hartford last year. 

“YumiEco Solutions is creating a new market and pushing forward with innovative technologies that will potentially have a positive, global impact,” says Daphne Dixon, a 2015 Green Award winner, 2016 Green Awards judge, and founder of Live Green CT!

Prior to launching the YumiEco Solutions sustainable eco-products company, P’an was creating financial products at American Express, she was a senior advisor to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and she was the first woman to manage investment portfolios, which were in excess of $7 billion, for the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. 

P’an’s next step was investing in this new business with her husband, launching Yumi in 2010. “This could easily become a billion-dollar business and the first in this space,” says P’an. “YumiEco Solutions is a young company that plans on replacing plastic with bio-materials in new and innovative ways.”


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January 2019

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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
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Norwalks, CT  06850
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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
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One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

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Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

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Maritime Garage Gallery
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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
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Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
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Cost: Free

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Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
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Telephone: 203-831-9063
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Wednesday, January 16, 12:30 – 1:30pm: Country Acres & Cul de Sacs in Connecticut: 1938 - 1952 Join Dr. Jay Gitlin, history professor at Yale University and Fairfield Museum curator Laurie...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

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Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
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In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

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Cost: Free

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Telephone: 203-869-0376
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Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

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1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
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Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
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Cost: Free

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Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
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Robert Kalm discusses his documentary Self Make: The American Dreams of Philip Musica, about the notorious swindler Doctor Frank Donald Coster, also known as Philip Musica, who was a respected...

Cost: Members: Free; Non-Members: $5

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

The Maritime Garage Gallery’s latest exhibit features works inspired by art in public places. “Street Level ” brings to life the notion that public art can transforms...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Maritime Garage Gallery
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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View map »


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Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
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Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
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