The 10 Most Environmentally Friendly & Sustainable Companies

Day 280 – The mission of Grow Ensemble is to make sustainability and better-for-the-world business practices the norm for both individuals and businesses. They spread awareness of social and environmental issues we face, highlighting the companies and organizations providing solutions to these issues, and inviting the community to engage with these solutions daily. They exist to encourage all of us to take actions every day to ensure a life of dignity for all people, protect the planet that sustains us, and support those who make sustainable living possible. They are also a member of 1% for the Planet.

Grow Ensemble has come out with the list of the 10 Most Environmentally Friendly and Sustainable Companies. However, before we get to the list, lets look at what make a company environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Here’s how Grow Ensemble defines an environmentally friendly company:

For companies that we consider eco-friendly, sustainability is central every step of the way: from transparent and ethical sourcing of raw materials, to environmentally-friendly practices in manufacturing, to packaging and shipping, to diverting landfill waste at the end of their product’s life.

Eco-friendly companies go beyond their products in their fight against climate change. They each continue the fight in their own unique way as well. They take action to preserve the planet through environmental policy advocacy, promoting environmental awareness and local participation in conservation efforts,  partnering with other movements and organizations and more!” – Grow Ensemble

Many of the companies listed have been highlighted in previous posts.

  1. Patagonia – Outdoor clothing company
  2. Seventh Generation – The paper, personal care, and cleaning product company
  3. A Good Company – Everyday products
  4. New Belgium Brewing – Craft Brewery
  5. Pela – Phone cases
  6. Dr. Bronner’s -Organic soaps and personal care products
  7. Preserve – toothbrushes, razors, plastic tableware and more
  8. Numi Organic Tea – Organic tea
  9. Rogue Creamery – Organic cheeses
  10. West Paw – Pet toys

Finding an environmentally friendly company is becoming easier and easier. However, don’t fall for companies with false claims of being “green” and sustainable. Make sure you do a little homework. A great place to start, when finding companies that are putting the planet before profits is the B-Corporation directory.

Vote with your dollars!

Tomorrow, making sense of the recent Illinois’ environmental legislation.

Sustainable Pet Products

Day 272 – All year I have been sharing eco-friendly products to help you on your way to a more sustainable lifestyle. Well, that doesn’t stop when it comes to your pets. Today, I’m writing about two companies that offer pet products that are good for your pet and the planet. I would also like to add that both these companies are Certified B Corporations. YES!

West Paw., located in Bozeman, Montana, is on a mission to create the best pet products possible. They choose eco-friendly materials and processes whenever they can. They keep waste out of landfills, chemicals out of soil and water, and toxins out of their products, all while guaranteeing durable, beautiful toys and beds your pets will love. West Paw has created a material called Zogoflex.

“Zogoflex is made to last. After your dog’s favorite toy has been thoroughly loved, chewed on, retrieved, carried, buried, dug up, and cuddled, just send it back to West Paw. Old toys are sanitized, ground up, and fed back into our machine to make completely new, bouncy, bright Zogoflex toys. Nothing diminishes Zogoflex’s strength—it can literally be recycled infinitely.”West Paw

They also have a line of toys, bowls and mats made from Seaflex. Seaflex is made from ocean-bound plastic.

Another pet company trying to do their part to help the planet is P.L.A.Y. Located in San Francisco, California, P.L.A.Y. offers dog beds, toys and accessories. P.L.A.Y. uses PlanetFill polyfiber, which is made from plastic bottles, to make their beds. They keep packaging to a minimum and use tags made from paper that is certified safe by the Forest Stewardship Council. P.L.A.Y. also offers dog bed covers that can be stuffed with your old towels, garments, or even bed filler from an old dog bed. When you fill your own bed you can easily wash the cover and filling to help the bed last longer and reduce waste.

P.L.A.Y. also gives back to numerous charities.

The next time your furry friend needs a new toy, bed or accessory, consider supporting a company that is putting the planet first.

Tomorrow, composting pilot program coming to a Chicago neighborhood.

AmpleHarvest.org: Connecting Gardeners with Local Food Pantries

Day 266AmpleHarvest.org has created a way to connect home and community gardeners with local food pantries. Instead of letting unused food go to waste, it is given to those in need of it most. AmpleHarvest.org is a free, opt-in, nationwide registry that enables gardeners who’ve grown too much food to easily find food pantries in their area.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Food Pantries tell AmpleHarvest.org the days and times they want to receive fresh food.
  2. Gardeners find pantries on AmpleHarvest.org, and bring their surplus of locally grown, fresh food.
  3. People in need have healthier food options available to them.
  4. Food is not wasted.

Click HERE if you want to find a pantry to donate to.

Click HERE if you would like to register a pantry.

Click HERE if you are in need of food.

There are 7,974 food pantries listed on AmpleHarvest.org. Produce donations have increased from 8.6% to 23.1% at food pantries around the country, since AmpleHarvest.org was founded.

It’s a perfect partnership!

Tomorrow, organizations working to create a more sustainable and equitable world.

Medical Supplies: Donation Options

Day 252 – It’s not hard to acquire medical supplies that you end up only using for a short time. You are then faced with either storing them away, throwing them out or finding someone else that may be able to use it. Today’s post gives you a few suggestions on donating your surplus medical supplies.

MedShare

MedShare’s recovery efforts save millions of pounds of surplus medical supplies and equipment from landfills and incinerators that, for various regulatory reasons, hospitals and medical companies must discard. They accept donations of unused, unexpired medical surplus supplies and used biomedical equipment through our hospital recovery program and corporate product donations. To see the complete list of accepted items, click HERE.

MedWish

MedWish International is a not-for-profit organization that saves lives and the environment by repurposing discarded medical supplies and equipment to provide humanitarian aid to people in need. To see list of accepted items, click HERE.

Alliance for Smiles

All over the world children born with cleft lip and palate anomalies suffer physically and emotionally. They may become malnourished and are prone to ear infections and hearing loss. Often times, they experience upper-respiratory problems or speech and dental difficulties; many need multiple operations and long-term treatment.   Alliance for Smiles offers these children and families hope for a bright future. To see the complete list of accepted items, click HERE.

American Medical Resource Foundation

The American Medical Resources Foundation’s mission is to improve health care around the world by donating medical equipment and supplies to hospitals that serve the poor in underdeveloped and developing countries of the world. Click HERE for more information on what items are accepted.

Project C.U.R.E

Project C.U.R.E. is the world’s largest distributor of donated medical equipment and supplies to resource-limited communities across the globe, touching the lives of patients, families, and children in more than 135 countries. For more information on donating supplies, click HERE.

Before tossing your unwanted medical supplies, find out if someone else can use it.

Tomorrow, free stuff at HHW.

Recycle Your Electronics & Save the Great Apes

Day 235Eco-Cell collects and recycles electronics and those efforts help save the gorillas and chimpanzees in the Congo.

How you ask? I’ll let Eco-Cell explain.

Electronics are connected to apes via an ore called Coltan (columbite-tantalite\tantalum). Tantalum coats the capacitors inside gadgets which makes them energy efficient. This ore is found in great quantity in the Congo, home to the critically endangered gorilla and chimpanzee. These species are being killed by rebel bands mining Coltan. The U.N. has reported that in the past five years the eastern lowland gorilla population in the Congo has declined 90%. Recycling your cell phones with ECO-CELL helps save these animals by reducing the demand for Coltan and by providing funds for our partners like the Cincinnati ZooThe Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund Intl. and the Jane Goodall Institute who are actively engaged in protecting these species.

Eco-Cell collects the following:

  1. cell phones
  2. smartphones
  3. iPods
  4. iPads
  5. tablets
  6. Apple/Android watches
  7. bluetooth
  8. GPS
  9. MP3 players
  10. e-readers
  11. digital cameras
  12. handheld gaming systems & accessories

Eco-Cell would be a great partner for your organization or school’s next fundraiser. The process is very straightforward: collect as many electronic gadgets as possible and send them to ECO-CELL (Don’t worry they pay shipping). When the phones arrive at ECO-CELL, they determine their reuse\resale value. If they can be reused they resell them and pass as much money back to you as possible. If your gadgets are obsolete they recycle them properly and pay you their recycle value. After they process your shipment they follow it up with an itemized statement of your order and a check within 30-45 days.

You can also drop-off your electronics on your next trip to the zoo. Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo participate in the program. Check to see if your local zoo is part of the program.

Recycling e-waste, saving the great apes and raising funds for your organization, it’s the trifecta. You just can’t lose.

Tomorrow, bus stops to the rescue to help save the pollinators.

World Elephant Day

Day 224 – When we think of elephants, I know many of us picture them in far off lands, in parts of the world we’ll never have the chance to visit. So, when it comes to saving them, we might think there is no opportunity to help these big, beautiful animals. Thankfully, the organizers of World Elephant Day has shared a list of ways in which we can help protect these magnificent creatures.

  1. Do not buy ivory or other wildlife products. Be an elephant aware consumer. Only 12 states have banned the sale of ivory. In 2016, the U.S. passed a near total ban on commercial trade in African elephant ivory but states regulate commerce within their borders. The U.S. is one of the largest importers of wildlife products, including trophies of animals killed in hunts and products made from skins of endangered species.
  2. Study elephants in their “keystone” role in the environment and interrelationships with plants and other animals because all of nature is interconnected. As the largest of all land mammals, elephants play an important role in balancing natural ecosystems. They trample forests and dense grasslands, making room for smaller species to co-exist. Elephants also create water holes used by other wildlife as they dig dry riverbeds when rainfall is low. Herds travel over vast rangelands, and they disperse seeds in their dung, which helps generate new green growth.
  3. Learn about and support organizations that are working to protect habitat for wild elephants and finding solutions for human-elephant conflict. Elephants are increasingly being crowded out of their habitats. Humans are encroaching these lands for farming and infrastructural development, which leaves elephants with small patches of disconnected land.
  4. Support organizations that are working to stop the illegal poaching and trade of elephant ivory and other wildlife products. Few people know that 96 elephants are poached each day. At this rate they will be extinct in the wild within a decade. Losing these important ecosystem engineers will be of extreme detriment to the environment and beyond. If the elephants go extinct, entire ecosystems could follow.
  5. Support organizations that are building natural sanctuaries and alternative habitat for domesticated elephants to live freely. The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee provide captive elephants with individualized care, the companionship of a herd, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being.
  6. Support healthy, alternative, sustainable livelihoods for people who have traditionally relied on elephants, wild animals and natural resources. Learn about indigenous cultures that have traditionally lived in harmony with elephants.
  7. Visit elephants in countries where they live in the wild – tourism benefits the economy, provides needed jobs, deters poachers and abuse, and gives you the opportunity to experience the beauty, intelligence, and emotional capacity of these magnificent giants. Here is a list of the 10 best places to see elephants. I
  8. f you wish to experience elephants in their natural environment, choose eco-tourism operators who support local elephant conservation projects and who treat elephants with respect and dignity.
  9. Be aware of elephant habitat. Do not buy coffee that is not fair-trade or shade-grown, nor products with unsustainable palm-oil. These commercial crops are grown in plantations that have decimated elephant habitats. Only buy wood products that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which promotes responsible management of the world’s forests – the natural habitat for elephants and other wildlife.
  10. Use your love of elephants and World Elephant Day, August 12, to start a conversation with the next person you meet.

We can not all be like Kelly Lyee Chigumbura, a member of the all female wildlife ranger group, called Akashinga, ‘the Brave Ones’ in Shona. Chigumbura now spends her days protecting her country’s most vulnerable citizens: the wildlife. “When I manage to stop poachers, I feel accomplished,” she says. “I want to spend my whole life here on this job, arresting poachers and protecting animals.”

So, on this World Elephant Day, consider helping these precious Pachyderms.

Tomorrow, Clorox wipes that are good for the planet.

Digs with Dignity: Helping people exiting homelessness

Day 219Digs with Dignity is an organization that works with local social agencies to help individuals and families exiting homelessness by providing them furnishings and much needed household items.

Here’s how they do what they do:

  1. They collect gently used home furnishings from the community and store them in their warehouse.
  2. They work with Chicago-based social workers to identify a family transitioning out of homelessness.
  3. They work with the family (or individual) and get to know what their likes and dislikes are, so they can better find the furnishings that will make their new space feel like home.
  4. They design the space from top to bottom with the help of volunteers and their designer.
  5. They identify which pieces from the warehouse will bring the design to life. Everything that they receive from donors is either used, fixed, or recycled.
  6. Then, with the help of movers and volunteers, they load up a moving truck and get to work — welcoming the family into their newly furnished home in a matter of hours.

Digs for Dignity helped their first family on October 25, 2019, and in 2020, serviced 21 additional families. They are actively building out their network of partners and supporters and have goals to fill the homes and provide support for 40 families in 2021.

The Northcenter Neighborhood Association Recycle Popup started collecting metal-based cookware and bakeware, as part of the Calphalon Cooking Tools Recycling Program through TerraCycle. We started accepting items during our July popup and received many pots and pans in very good condition. So, we will be donating any and all pots, pans and bakeware that we receive in good condition to Digs with Dignity.

If you would like to make a donation and there are many ways you can do that, just click HERE.

There’s no better feeling than being a part of making someone’s house feel like a home.

Tomorrow, a place to recycle your old cooking oil.

IGLOO’s Coolers are Going Green

Day 205 – Many of us have an IGLOO cooler. It may be very large or it could be very small. They come in all sizes and colors. Now they’re even environmentally friendly. IGLOO has created the first hardside cooler made from recycled plastic. The ECOCOOL collection is the first of its kind to be made with recycled resin. The resin is made from post-consumer plastic. They are taking discarded plastic yogurt cups and milk jugs that would otherwise end up in landfills throughout the world and transforming it into a recycled resin used in the outside body, liner and/or lid of each ECOCOOL cooler, all made at their facility in the USA.

IGLOO has also partnered up with the Parks Project. A special edition collection of ECOCOOL™ Playmates is now available with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the National Parks Conservation Association.

IGLOO also offers the Packable Puffer cooler bags, which is made with recycled plastic bottles from the inside out: PrimaLoft® insulation and REPREVE® exterior. With a fully scrunchable, compressible construction, this cooler folds into its own front pocket for ultimate packability. All this and the Packable Puffer still provides 12 hours of ice retention.

Lastly, IGLOO has created the world’s first 100% biodegradable cooler. It’s biodegradable, compostable and recyclable, RECOOL helps eliminate the need for those harmful, single-use polystyrene foam coolers that had once been so commonplace. Since they released RECOOL in 2019, it’s gone on to receive eight innovation awards, and have sold 575,000 and counting. Less polystyrene foam in the world is a good thing.

IGLOO not only wants to keep your food and drinks cold, but they are doing their part to help keep the planet cool.

Tomorrow, an important message from the U.S. Coast Guard.

4Ocean: On a Mission to End the Ocean Plastic Crisis

Day 202 – It all started in Bali, Indonesia in 2015. Friends, Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper saw first hand how the plastic pollution problem was negatively impacting the marine life and those that lived along the coast.

After speaking with local fishermen whose livelihoods were negatively impacted by plastic pollution, Alex and Andrew decided to build a company that would hire boat captains and fishermen in communities heavily impacted by plastic pollution as full-time, professional cleanup crew members to recover plastic and other harmful debris from the ocean, rivers, and coastlines seven days a week.” – 4Ocean

4Ocean uses some of the plastic pulled from the ocean to create products (shoes, jewelry, phones cases). They also offer items that can swap out your single-use plastics (water bottles, bamboo utensils, reusable straw). They pull one pound of trash from the ocean, rivers, and coastlines for every product purchased. 4ocean has cleanup divisions in Florida, Bali, Haiti, and Guatemala, and recovers millions of pounds of trash from the ocean, rivers, and coastlines every year.

4Ocean is a certified B-Corporation and a 1% for the Planet member. Their captains and crews have recovered 16,035,392 pounds of plastic, and counting, since 2017.

4Ocean hopes that their business model will have to change in the near future. They hope there won’t be any more plastic to pull from the oceans, rivers and coastline. They imagine a world with plastic free oceans.

Tomorrow, a company using plastic bags to create eco-friendly decking.

Clothing Made from Recycled Plastic

Day 193 – On Day 150, I posted about shoes made from recycled and sustainable material. On Day 181, I wrote about sustainable options for swimwear. Today, I’ll be writing about other types of everyday clothing, shirts, pants, shorts and everything in between.

Here is a list of just a few of the companies creating clothes from recycled plastic.

Last Bottle Clothing is a sustainable apparel company with products made from 100-percent recycled plastic bottles. More importantly, each piece of apparel is also 100-percent “recyclable,” meaning the company closes the loop at the end of the product’s life by taking it back and recycling it yet again. Every piece of Last Bottle Clothing apparel removes an average of 13 plastic bottles from the environment. Next time you are looking to have t-shirts made for an event, be sure to check out Last Bottle Clothing.

Patagonia has been making recycled polyester from post-consumer soda bottles since 1993 making it the first company to turn trash into fleece. Now the company makes its recycled polyester fibers from a blend of soda bottles, manufacturing waste, and worn-out apparel. Recycled polyester is in a wide range of Patagonia’s products from t-shirts to cold weather gear.

Girlfriend Collective uses a variety of recycled material to make their activewear. The compressive leggings and bras are made from 79% recycled polyester (or RPET) and 21% spandex. their leggings are made from 25 recycled post-consumer bottles and our bras are made from 11. The LITE leggings are made from recycled fishing nets and other waste using ECONYL® yarn. LITE fabric is made up of 83% recycled nylon and 17% spandex. Their tees and tanks are 100% cupro, a delicate fiber made from waste the cotton industry leaves behind. Their yarn is made in a zero-waste, zero-emission facility in Japan.

30A’s line of super-soft apparel is made from recycled plastic bottles. They have already prevented 5 million plastic bottles from going into landfills and oceans. All 30A designs are printed in the U.S.A. with eco-friendly water-based inks, and our products are shipped in recycled packing materials. They have helped raise $2.5 million for coastal charities.

Toad & CO uses a variety of eco materials in their casual clothing. They are a 1% for the Planet member and give back to a variety of charities. They also offer reusable packaging. From their California headquarters to their storefronts across the country, they do their part to be good neighbors everywhere you find Toad. You’ll find them volunteering with local non-profits, riding their bikes to work, cleaning up the coastline, and marching for the planet. You’ll find their name signed on petitions to support carbon caps, reduce fossil fuels and keeping public lands public.

American Backcountry uses REPREVE® recyled polysters in their tri-blend tees which use an average of 4 recycled water bottles per shirt, helping significantly in reducing the impact of their products on the Earth. REPREVE is a brand of recycled fibers made from recycled bottles and other products. It uses and emits less greenhouse gas by reducing the need for new petroleum resources. American Backcountry has worked closely with our National Park Partners to increase our product offering and commitment to MADE IN THE USA Garment and Accessories.

RECOVER strives to produce the very best apparel with the most minimal impact on the environment. The materials that they use, which otherwise would have been sent to the landfill, are 100% recycled. From design to production to packaging, their entire process contributes to the environmental impact of a garment and it is the RECOVER Initiative to reduce that impact as much as possible every step of the way. RECOVER is a 1% for the Planet member.

Tentree give back to the earth by planting 10 trees for every item purchased, while using eco-friendly and natural materials such as REPREVE to make their products. Their core values drive them to find the best responsibly sourced materials, and the guarantee of safe and respectful work environments. So, by the time your Tentree product arrives to you, you know that its journey was defined by the smallest environmental footprint, and made proudly by people treated fairly and with dignity.

Supporting companies that are helping the planet is a great way to make a difference.

Tomorrow, a favorite building block is becoming eco-friendly.