Green Circle Salons: Creating Beauty, Not Waste

Day 248Green Circle Salons is a Certified B Corporation and they offer to help salons go green.

They provide services that will help salons do the following:

  1. Recycle and repurpose up to 95% of your salon’s beauty waste including hair clippings, used foils, color tubes, excess hair color and more.
  2. 84% of salon guests care about a salon’s environmental impact. Grow your business while being an industry leader and making a difference.
  3. Get help setting up a simple revenue-building program that supports environmental sustainability as well as financial sustainability.
  4. Use additional revenue to invest in environmentally friendly technologies, which conserves energy, reduces waste, and saves you more money.

You may not think about the waste produced by hair salons, but it is substantial.

  1. 63,000 pounds of hair gets thrown away every day.
  2. Over 42,000 pounds of excess hair color, lightener and toner is thrown away every day. When rinsed down the drain, it can find its way back into our drinking water and soil.
  3. Over 110,000 pounds of used metal, including hair foils, is thrown away every day in salons in North America.
  4. Single use items – like nail files, waxing strips and cotton swabs – make up a large portion of beauty waste that ends up in our landfills.
  5. More than half the waste thrown away in salons is paper and plastic. If not properly recycled, these items clutter our landfills.

Since 2009, Green Circle Salons have been able to keep close to 8 million pounds of beauty waste from entering the landfill.

To find a salon that is putting the environment first, click HERE.

Tomorrow, a sustainability expo coming your way.

Looptworks: Upcycled Fashion

Day 240 – The word upcycle was first used in the early 1990s. Upcycling is defined as the reuse of discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. Today, upcycling is more popular then ever. We are running out of space to put our trash. So, we need to find ways to reuse our stuff and get a second and possibly a third life out of them.

We now have companies that upcycle materials to create new products for resale. Looptworks is one of those companies. They are a Portland, Oregon based business that re-purposes and upcycles abandoned, pre-consumer and post-consumer materials into limited edition products.

“All the materials used to create Looptworks products at one time were headed to the landfill, or worse. We intercept and utilize these industry excess materials, transforming them into new, useful products — a process known as upcycling. Our sustainable, eco-friendly products are made in limited editions, and in the process save materials from landfills or incinerators.” – Looptworks

Looptworks has collaborated with numerous companies to create new products from discarded materials.

  1. They have partnered with professional kiteboarder and swimsuit entrepreneur Sensi Graves. Their bags are designed from pre-consumer excess kiteboarding kite material.
  2. They partnered with the NBA to give a second life to all those game jerseys that become obsolete. They created backpacks and crossbody bags.
  3. They partnered with Southwest Airlines when they replaced their heavy leather airline seats with a lighter weight material. Southwest Airlines wanted to ensure that the journey didn’t end for 80,000 leather seat covers. Looptworks upcycled the seat leather into the In Flight Collection.
  4. Looptworks partnered with Patagonia to upcycle retired Patagonia fly fishing waders. The result is an insulated wine carrier and Tate lunch bag.

Looptworks is always looking for new partners and the possibilities are endless. I look forward to seeing what new and improved products they will create from materials that were once on their way to the landfill.

I almost forgot to mention, Looptworks is a Certified B Corporation!

Tomorrow, glass recycling.

Preserve: Reusable Plasticware

Day 207 – It may sound counterproductive to write about plasticware, especially during Plastic Free July. However, Preserve is not your typical plasticware. Preserve has been making products good for people and the planet since 1996.

Here are just a few of the ways Preserve is making a difference:

  1. Preserve’s plastic products are made from 100% recycled plastic.
  2. Preserve’s plastic products are dishwasher safe and made to last.
  3. Preserve’s products are made in the U.S.
  4. Preserve has a line of 100% compostable items that are plant based and gluten free.
  5. Preserve has a take back program called Gimme 5, which collects #5 plastic that they transform into new Preserve products.
  6. Preserve even takes back their own products that reach the end of their life. They then recycle and create new products from those items.
  7. Preserve is a Certified B Corporation.
  8. Preserve makes a line of products made from ocean plastic. Through sales of our POPi products, they support organizations that prevent plastic from reaching the ocean. 25% of proceeds from POPi products are donated to non-profits that work on issues including:
  • Developing better recycling systems around the world.
  • Researching the effects of plastic in the ocean and on marine life.
  • Creating catchment technologies (ways to trap plastic in waterways before it reaches the ocean).
  • Providing better end of life solutions for recovered and recycled packages that were heading for the ocean.

I recently purchased the On the Go Party Set (currently sold out) and couldn’t be happier with the product. The plates, cups and plasticware will be used for countless parties to come.

Tomorrow, fun at the beach is becoming more environmentally friendly.

Eco Bandages: Plastic free options for your cuts and scrapes

Day 187 – There was always an uptick in the number of Band-Aids that my children needed, once the summer arrived. The combination of more time outside and frequency of wearing shorts, increased the likelihood that an injury would occur. I never gave much thought about the plastic waste created from all those bandages.

It wasn’t until a recent visit to the pharmacy that I noticed an eco-friendly bandage brand. PATCH bandages are 100 percent compostable (wrapper and paper backing included), natural, kid-friendly, hypoallergenic, soothing, vegan, and cruelty-free. It is the world’s first compostable and 100% plastic-free wound care product. It is entirely made out of bamboo fibers and is infused with different natural minerals and oils for different types of wounds. Bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource that grows many times faster than trees, uses much less water, produces up to 35 percent more oxygen and doesn’t need pesticides or herbicides.

Patch is a Certified B Corporation. So, you know they are a business that prioritizes the environment and producing a safe product for their consumers. Patch bandages can be found at your local pharmacy and come in a variety of sizes.

So, the next time you need to make someone feel better with a kiss and a bandage, grab a PATCH. It will make yourself feel better, too, knowing you are helping the planet.

“We see scratches, bruises and cuts as little badges of honor. Signs of a life lived to the fullest! Because scratches are natural, so is PATCH.” – PATCH by Nutricare

Tomorrow, inventive ways to use plastic waste.

We Need to Welcome a New Normal

Day 186 – “I can’t wait until we get back to normal.”

This sentence has been spoken by many of us this past year. We all want the pandemic behind us and be able to move on. Unfortunately, going back to normal will not work. “Normal” has not been working. Real change needs to happen and it needs to happen now.

Mahira Kalim wrote in an article for B the Change that there are a number of challenges that face us today.

  • Our resource consumption is abnormal. At the current consumption rate, by 2050 we will use Earth’s resources three times faster than can be regenerated. Scientists suggest that we have roughly eight to 10 years to save the planet by slowing global warming, but our actions in the next 12–18 months are critical in sealing the planet’s fate.
  • Our measures of growth and success are askew. Gross domestic product (GDP), a commonly used measure of economic growth and success for nations, does not account for the cost to create monetary wealth, wellness of its people, or damage to the planet.
  • Recycling is a myth. Less than 9% of the 800 billion tonnes of plastic has ever been recycled. Most of it gets incinerated, resulting in further air pollution and an increased risk of respiratory conditions, or it ends up in the oceans where it breaks down into micro and nanoparticles and lives on for hundreds of years.

The pandemic forced us all to slow down. It made us realize what was important and what we could do without. It would be easy to go right back to the hustle and bustle and forget the lessons learned from this experience. However, if we don’t learn, we are destined to repeat the same mistakes.

“Our best hope for a livable future is to embrace sustainability on a massive scale. To achieve this, we don’t need a handful of people achieving sustainability perfection. We need MILLIONS of people making concrete, positive changes to the best of their ability, even if they do so imperfectly.”Rainforest Alliance

Everyday we are reminded that the environment is in need of help. Wildfires, extreme heat and weather conditions are an indication that change needs to happen, now. The new normal involves making a real effort to reverse the current trends. It starts with small steps. As long as those steps are in the right direction, we will reach our main goal of saving the planet.

Tomorrow, covering those summer cuts and scrapes with a non-plastic bandage.

Why Are Rainforests Important?

Day 173 – We lose 40 football fields worth of rainforests every minute. In less than 10 years, there may only be 10% of rainforest left. We have already lost over 9 million acres.

So, why should we care about the rainforests?

  1. Rainforests absorbs carbon dioxide and release the oxygen that we depend on for our survival. The absorption of this CO2 also helps to stabilize the Earth’s climate.
  2. Rainforests help to maintain the world’s water cycle by adding water to the atmosphere through the process of transpiration which creates clouds.
  3. Tropical rainforests contain over 30 million species of plants and animals. That’s half of the Earth’s wildlife and at least two-thirds of its plant species. There’s thousands of species that have not been identified, yet.
  4. Many indigenous people have been living in harmony with the rainforest for thousands of years, depending on it for their food, shelter and medicines. They are often forced to move away from their homes to unfamiliar places, sometimes even being killed in the process.
  5.  it is believed that the Amazonian forests alone store over half of the Earth’s rainwater. Without rainforests continually recycling huge quantities of water, feeding the rivers, lakes and irrigation systems, droughts would become more common, potentially leading to widespread famine and disease.
  6. Soil in the rainforest is very poor in nutrients. What little nutrients it has comes from decaying trees and plants. However, if trees are removed from the forest, the nutrients are removed with it. The unprotected soil is then simply washed away in heavy rains, causing blockages and floods in lowland rivers, while leaving upland rivers dry.
  7. More than 25% of our modern medicines originate from tropical forest plants. However, we have only learned how to use 1% of these amazing plants.

What can we do to help protect the rainforests?

  1. Many rainforest are cleared to make room for cattle. Reducing your beef intake and buying your meat from local farms that use sustainable practices will help.
  2. Choosing products that are responsibly sourced or made from recycled materials can go a long way to curbing tropical deforestation. You can also refrain from purchasing products from companies who score poorly in terms of eliminating deforestation from their supply chains.
  3. It’s best to buy less. But when you do buy, choose companies that donate to environmental causes.There are hundreds of companies – specializing in a variety of products – that give back to the environment. Certified B Corporations has narrowed down some of the best.
  4. Buying artisanal and fair trade products made by indigenous peoples is a unique and effective way to protect rainforests and sustainable livelihoods.
  5. Reduce your carbon footprint. Drive less, take public transportation, turn down your home thermostat (even a couple degrees makes a big difference!), turn off lights and electronics when not in use, and avoid unnecessary air travel, can all help reduce carbon emissions.
  6. Whenever you cannot reduce, you can mitigate by supporting projects that offer carbon emissions reductions by keeping forests standing.
  7. Share what you know. The more people that know what is happening to rainforests and the indigenous communities who rely on them, the more likely they are to join and support the cause.

So, on this World Rainforest Day make a choice to do something to help protect the rainforests.

Tomorrow, an organization that you most likely have not heard about, but has been working hard to keep you safe.

National Geographic: 133 years old and still going strong

Day 27 – On January 27, 1888, National Geographic was founded in Washington D.C. Its purpose was for “the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”

As a kid, I had a subscription to National Geographic. Sadly, I was not a big reader and spent most of my time looking at all the beautiful pictures. I dreamed of working for National Geographic one day. I figured I would probably have to be a photographer, because I was not the best writer.

Fast forward 35 years, I’m still dreaming of being a National Geographic photographer and I’m still enjoying the National Geographic magazine. The only difference, I’m reading a few more articles now. And it’s those articles that have given me a glimpse into the vast world around me. Giving me a window into places and people, I may never have a chance to see for myself.

National Geographic has also been a wonderful resource in my journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. They have covered every topic imaginable when it comes to having a more environment friendly way of living.

Here are a few of my favorite articles:

  1. You Can Help Turn the Tide on Plastic. Here’s How
  2. How People Make Only a Jar of Trash a Year
  3. Closing the circle on waste
  4. The business of nature
  5. Do You Know How to “Go Green”?

So, on this National Geographic Day, I encourage you to spend a little time reading one (or many) of their great articles and be sure to check out the amazing pictures.

Tomorrow, a clock that everyone should keep an eye on.

Toilet Paper: You should give a crap

Day 26 – I don’t think I have ever been this excited about toilet paper. In all honesty, I have never been exciting about toilet paper. However, that has all changed with my purchase of Who Gives a Crap. This Australian company has found a way to make toilet paper environmentally friendly, charitable and fun!

Before purchasing Who Gives a Crap, we would alternate between Charmin and Costco’s Kirkland brand. Little did I know that these brands, along with other big name brands, are not very good for the environment. In 2019, a study was done by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Stand.earth to determine which toilet paper companies had the best sustainability practices. My two brands received “F” scores. This score was given because these companies (along with Angel Soft, Quilted Northern and Target’s brand Up & Up) do not use any recycled content in their toilet paper. Instead, these brands get their paper by clear-cutting the Canadian boreal forest. With the amount of carbon dioxide being released in our atmosphere, we need to keep every tree we can.

I decided to look for a better alternative. The reviews were not great on recycled toilet paper products. That is, until I came upon, Who Gives a Crap. Here are all the reasons why this company is awesome!

  1. It is a plastic free product. No plastic bags or wraps, just paper.
  2. The toilet paper comes from recycled school and office paper.
  3. The toilet paper does not use any inks, dyes or scents.
  4. 50% of profits help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
  5. The toilet paper is surprisingly soft and sturdy (its 3 ply).
  6. The cost is comparable to the name brands.
  7. The company is a certified B-Corporation, so you know they’re legit.
  8. The colorful wrappers will brighten up your bathroom.
  9. They’re just a fun company. Their name alone is a good indicator of that fact.

So, it is fitting that today, Australia Day, we celebrate an Australian company that is saving trees, saving lives and giving us something to be excited about, even if it is just toilet paper.

* Here’s $10 off from Who Gives a Crap!

Tomorrow, celebrating the 133rd birthday of a beloved magazine.

Certified B-Corporations: A force for good

Day 16 – I have heard of B-Corporations, but I can honestly say I did not pay much attention to them. I have even made some purchases from some Certified B-Corporations without even realizing, some more (Ben & Jerry’s) than others (Patagonia).

“Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.” – About B Corps

After learning more about B-Corporations and the certification process, it became very clear that any company displaying the Certified B-Corporation label is a company that is setting the “gold standard for good business”.

The Certification Process:

“Certifying as a B Corporation goes beyond product- or service-level certification. B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how your company’s operations and business model impact your workers, community, environment, and customers. From your supply chain and input materials to your charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp Certification proves your business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance.” – B-Corporation

So, be on the look out for these companies that place the highest priority on their employees, communities and the environment. I will be highlighting a few B-Corporation companies throughout the year.

If you would like to verify a company’s certification or find a business in a particular industry or location, check out the B-Corp Directory.

Tomorrow, companies on the other end of the spectrum.