A local entrepreneur has combined innovation, sustainable practices and assistance for the less fortunate in one clever venture.
Armando Camacho has a knack for inventing solutions to everyday problems. He patented his first invention at just 19, and hasn’t stopped since. He has now created Basket for Life, an ingenious idea that eliminates plastic bags in retail outlets and provides a safe, easy storage solution for both homes and businesses.
Camacho established Basket for Life as a not-for-profit venture that supports Australian Rotary clubs and other charitable community organisations. He has been supported by fellow Rotarian Jeremy Carter, who is CEO of Rapport Leadership.
The idea is simple enough — the sale of plastic baskets and rack
systems that can be used in a wide variety of situations. A dollar from
the sale of every basket goes to the local Rotary club, and 98% of
donations go to people in need. The rest is divided between local Rotary clubs and other charities.
And to cap it off, his Basket for Life concept was recently a finalist in the Small Business Ventures and Projects category at the Australian Engineering Excellence Awards in Sydney. These awards showcase outstanding achievements in engineering.
“I was trying to find a better solution to all the different types of storage solutions out there,” said Armando. “Each type had strengths, but also limitations. That’s when I decided I wanted a storage solution that you can also take with you.
“It’s an honour to stand amongst Australia’s most prestigious engineering professionals, but more so to show Australia and the world how this simple storage solution can change lives,” he said. “It’s about helping people in first-world countries to become more organised and then use this venture’s profits to support important aid programs in developing countries.”
His solution is deceptively simple — a rack with removable plastic baskets. The rack is readily assembled and can hold up to seven baskets.
The baskets retail for less than $10 each, and can be used for shopping and storing items. The racks are modular so users can opt for several different storage methods — for example, a wall standing unit or a tall mobile unit and a shopping trolley.
Armando’s original concept rested on the idea that shoppers take their basket to the shop, fill them with groceries or other items and once they were scanned, the baskets would be refilled and taken home, removing the need to use plastic bags. The baskets can be stored on the racks instead of unpacking them in a pantry.
The storage system can also be used in the laundry for clothes, cleaning products, in the garage or in children’s rooms and rumpus rooms.
“Basket for Life can change the way you organise your life,” said Armando. He suggested that the system could also be used for workplaces, classrooms, hospitals and healthcare practices.
Several Australian retailers are considering personalising Basket for Life for their own stores.
Armando is thinking big. He is looking at pushing the concept globally through Rotary International.
“You’ve got to look at the big picture and what the big goal is, rather than messing around with $1,000 here and $1,000 there. Our goal is to raise $100,000 in Australia in 2016/2017, and then $1,150,000 every year thereafter. This figure is based on five cents per person in Australia. At the international level, we hope to raise way more than that.” ❐

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