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Inventor puts eco-friendly lubricant on store shelves

July 21, 2017 Digital Media Exclusive

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Cranberry Township business owner Samuel Hopkins in his Slippery Rock warehouse where he stores his Eco Sheep bicycle and household lubricants.

CRANBERRY TWP — A squeak in his bike inspired Samuel Hopkins to create a line of environmentally friendly bike and household lubricants that has ended up on the shelves of the world’s largest retailer.

“When I go to the Cranberry Wal-Mart and see Eco Sheep, I think ‘I’ve touched that. That label was put on by my hands,’” Hopkins said.

Hopkins, of Cranberry, founded Eco Sheep in 2016 after using an unusual substance to fix a squeak on his bike. Eco Sheep is a line of bicycle and household lubricants derived from lanolin.

Lanolin, also called wool wax or wood grease, is an oily secretion in the skin of sheep that becomes trapped in the sheep’s wool. It is often used in cosmetic products, Hopkins said.

In the summer of 2015, Hopkins was addressing a squeak on his bicycle using conventional chain lube made from petroleum when he realized that he’d “just dumped 8 ounces of this chain lube on the ground and the next time it rains, it’s going to go into the storm sewer system,” he said.

Looking for a more environmentally-friendly solution for the unwanted noise, Hopkins turned to a gallon of lanolin he had sitting around.

“I’m an inventor at heart,” Hopkins said. “I had a gallon of lanolin for another project. I thought ‘I’ll throw this on,’ and it worked great.”

When he looked online, he could find nothing like it on the market. After testing it on his bike for several weeks, Hopkins came up with a business plan and began canning his homemade lubricant and selling it through Amazon.com beginning in February 2016.

“I put it on Amazon and they sold like hotcakes,” he said.

A full report will appear in the Butler Eagle.

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