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How the Jane Goodall Institute Turned Plastic Water Bottles into a Forest

Written By Bobby Firestein

November 30, 2021

When it comes to sustainability, we often talk about ideas and valuable content. But even the best ideas can disappoint if the execution undermines your environmental values. We recently worked on a project for the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) that’s a perfect example of aligning actions to values.

The Jane Goodall Institute is a global conservation organization founded in 1977 by Dr. Jane Goodall, whose pioneering work with chimpanzees in the 1960s brought worldwide attention to the behavior of these amazing animals. JGI believes that “by protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.” 

When the Jane Goodall Institute relocated its offices from Vienna, VA to Washington, DC, they wanted to get creative with the space by showcasing the animals and habitats they work hard to protect. But it was important to find an eco-friendly material that wouldn’t run counter to JGI’s environmental mission. Luckily, our Ecoprint team had the perfect solution.

Lobby area in JGI’s new office

DreamScape Terralon, a type of wall covering material, contains 31% post-consumer recycled single-use water bottles. It’s PVC- and lead-free and doesn’t contain any plasticizers or heavy metals. Terralon is also highly breathable, which helps prevent mold. In other words, it was perfect for JGI’s new office space. 

The Jane Goodall Institute loved the idea of using Terralon. “We were compelled by the environmental story,” says Shawn Sweeney, JGI senior communications and marketing manager. “By using Terralon, we are supporting a product that, to date, has saved 12 million single-use water bottles from our landfills—and growing.”

We covered three different walls with beautiful forestscapes that reflect JGI’s mission: a mature Jane Goodall gazing into the forest canopy, chimp Ferdinand at rest on a limb, and a simple forestscape showcasing the beauty of the natural forest where Jane first did her research. JGI was thrilled, so much so that we soon returned to install a fourth wall in the office of JGI’s executive director, Anna Rathmann.

Fresh new art for the Executive Director’s office
Putting plastic bottles to work by installing Terralon at JGI’s new DC office

By being thoughtful with their material choices, the Jane Goodall Institute was able to brand their new office space in a way that reinforced their environmental mission. We’re looking forward to the next project—who knows, maybe we can create a jungle out of microplastics.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to make your upcoming project more sustainable, drop us a line. We’d love to share some ideas!