“Eco-Friendly” and “green” have become the buzzwords of the decade and are used ad nausem. They’re so ubiquitous and constant that it’s almost difficult to find any meaning in them. That being said, there still are some truly environmentally sound and sustainable practices being used by many businesses. Their environmental, and often social, awareness can make you feel much better about purchasing their products than you otherwise would from another less scrupulous company.
GoodGuide’s main virtue doesn’t lie in being environmentally friendly. Its big selling point is that it gives consumers the ability to make educated decisions regarding their favorite products. It uses a mobile app, website toolbar, and the website itself to help customers find and quickly research their favorite products. A customer can use a barcode reader–embedded in the program–itself to research products on the fly.
The guide itself is created by science and technology experts who painstakingly go over ingredients of products, chemical interactions and several other factors to determine the quality of how the product was made, its environmental impact, health impacts and even social impacts. GoodGuide has ranked thousands of products in categories such as personal care, food, household items, children’s items, pet food, electronics, clothing, appliances and even cars.
How many soda bottles does it take to hold up a bulldozer? How many discarded gallons of laundry detergent would you need to keep a train on its rails? AXION is the company that has answered these questions.
AXION specializes in using recycled plastic products to make vehicle bridges, railroad ties, and other massive structural materials. They have been developing this technology over the course of several years and helping to keep landfills free of plastic waste at the same time. The massive, sturdy structures that AXION has made include a project in 2010, during which time they created a train bridge that can hold upwards of 130 tons. Don’t forget, that project was completed using nothing but post-consumer plastic materials.
The Honest Company
The Honest Company was founded by actress Jessica Alba and her friend Christopher Gavigan as a way to sell safe and environmentally-friendly children’s products. They found this shared passion through becoming parents and realizing that there was very little in the way of products that they could buy for their children that they felt particularly good about using or purchasing.
Their ultimate goal is to become 100% plant-based and completely sustainable while minimizing the use of petroleum in their products. In their products they work to use only organic, natural, sustainable, renewable and raw materials. They are also committed to thoroughly tracking their materials to understand the environmental impact that each part of their development has on the earth.
Not only are they environmentally-minded when it comes to their products, but they ensure that the way they conduct their business is able to be sustained as well. They use solar energy in their headquarters and warehouse, but they don’t stop there. The lights that they use for electricity are energy efficient. They even work to avoid using those when they can–by ensuring that their warehouses and headquarters are largely lit by natural light. What about their correspondence within the company? You guessed it. They have gone paperless in their facilities to prevent deforestation.
Urban Woods is dedicated to stopping, and hopefully reversing, deforestation by using exclusively reclaimed hardwoods that were originally used between 50 and 100 years ago, proving their durability and usefulness. They refrain from using tropical hardwoods because their removal damages the precious ecosystem of where they are taken from. A special manufacturing process ensures that the beautiful color and rugged strength is maintained throughout the life of the product. This, in addition to non-toxic glues and water-based finishes and stains, make these pieces of furniture beautiful, functional and environmentally-friendly.
Wash Cycle Laundry
Every now and then, if you’re in Philadelphia, you’ll notice yellow bikes with little yellow trailers on the back riding throughout the city. These bikers represent a fleet of workers from Wash Cycle Laundry that pick up your laundry, do it and bring it back to you within 24 hours. The entire transportation process is bike-powered and reduces carbon emissions significantly.
Once your laundry gets to their facility, they use locally-made, hypoallergenic natural detergents in high-efficiency machines to make sure your clothing comes out clean and “green” (not literally green, but environmentally conscious).
Not only do they work to improve the environment, but others’ lives as well. They work with Philadelphia Works, which helps workers develop skills and get back on their feet. They also work with Gearing Up, a foundation that helps women escaping abusive relationships, addiction or reintegrating after a period of incarceration.
Even though many companies use words like “eco-friendly,” “environmentally-responsible and “green” simply as buzzwords, it’s nice to know that there are companies that are actually working to keep the planet healthy.
“What Does Eco-Friendly Mean?” – SFGate
“GoodGuide rates products on ingredients’ safety” – SFGate
“Axion Begins Construction on Landmark Railroad Bridges Made from Recycled Plastic” – BusinessWire
https://www.honest.com/about-us/health-and-sustainability – Honest.com Health & Sustainability
http://washcyclelaundry.com/ – How it Works