An Eiffel Tower of Broken Umbrellas

7047703331_13438f2279_mNew Yorkers are all too familiar with the trials and tribulations of rainy days. The city is gray enough already and the clouds just make it even more depressing. You have to bring a different pair of shoes to work. The subway is packed and soggy. Cabs and Ubers are suddenly nowhere to be found. Worst of all, it’s somehow impossible to remember to bring an umbrella as you leave your house. It’s the one thing that could shield you from some of this city-rain misery, but you don’t have one.

You can, and you almost certainly have, bought one of those $5 or $10 umbrellas from street vendors. Maybe you made it all the way to Dwayne Reade to pick up a fancy $15 model. Cheap umbrella in hand, the rest of your day is going to go one of two ways.

Maybe you’re lucky. Maybe the rain and wind aren’t too crazy. Maybe you make it in and out of the office with umbrella intact. Then you’re home, safe and dry and ready to explore the bounties of Seamless and Netflix. Your new umbrella gets left out on the doorstep to dry. You’ll probably kick it and break it tomorrow morning, although it doesn’t matter because you won’t remember to grab it the next time it rains anyway. That forlorn little single-use umbrella is going to end up in the trash.

That’s a best-case scenario. It’s like walking up to the platform right as your train pulls up – it happens, but not very often. Unfortunately, the weather in our lovely city is not terribly prone to playing nice. All it takes is one enthusiastic gust of wind and pop! Your new umbrella is inside out and you’re soaking wet. Your mangled umbrella is going straight into the trash, and then what do you do? Resign yourself to the soggy and sad or trek bravely to spend another $10 on another umbrella? Neither of these is a good option and either is going to ruin your blowout.

Cheap Umbrellas Black Umbrellas End Up in the Trash

Of course, your DryBar tab isn’t the only victim here. Green is the new black and trashcans full of cheap umbrellas are not a good look for Mother Nature. One study found that, worldwide, we throw away enough broken umbrellas to build 25 Eiffel Towers. The Eiffel Tower is 986 feet tall – or 301 meters, for our friends across the pond. That’s a lot of trash going straight into landfills. We’ve considered the possibility, but we don’t think there’s much of a market for Eiffel Tower replicas made of broken umbrellas – certainly not enough to support 25 of them per year.

But what’s the option for us city-dwellers? We’re running out the door, running to the train, running to the office, running to the gym, running at the gym – you get the idea. New Yorkers are on-the-go all the time and it’s a miracle if we remember our keys and phones, let alone an umbrella. Besides, who likes to carry a clunky umbrella? And once it’s wet, what are we supposed to do with it? You’d better believe that sopping mess isn’t going back into our handbags.

 ‘brellaBox: Saving Mother Nature

Enter ‘brellaBox. Get an umbrella when you need one, wherever you are. The umbrellas are high quality, so you don’t have to worry about every little gust of wind. When the rain stops, just drop your umbrella off. Why drag an umbrella around with you everywhere? We’re here to help.


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John O'Connor


John O'Connor is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of 'brellaBox.

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