Unless you’re a doomsday prepper living off the grid somewhere, you could probably lower your environmental impact. People tend to imagine going green as a punishment, as if they need to give up things they love as a sacrifice for the planet. But that thinking is totally backwards. There are many companies that produce eco-conscious products you actually want, with a nice side-effect of helping save the environment at the same time. Plus, green goods offer you the chance to brag to all your friends about how you saved the Earth—err, spread the word about buying eco-conscious brands.
There are a lot of different ways companies create green products. Some use recycled and biodegradable materials to ensure the entire lifespan of a product is environmental from creation to destruction. Others concentrate on renewable power sources and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Still others donate to environmental causes.
Earth Day is the perfect time to make the switch to support these green brands. There are options in pretty much every store these days, with eco cleaning products, clothing, food and makeup. Still, it can be hard to know which companies are serious about protecting the environment and which just want some good press for little real change. Here are some brands that have committed to going green, so you can feel good about making a similar commitment.
Home Products: Seventh Generation
Seventh Generation fills the cleaning aisle with eco-friendly products. Just to name a few environmental benefits, the brand’s detergent has earned EPA Safer Choice certification, the all-purpose cleaner is 91 percent USDA certified plant-based, and the unbleached paper towels come from 100 percent recycled paper.
Easily one of the most recognizable eco-conscious companies in the world, the sports equipment and outerwear company Patagonia has been fighting the good fight for the environment since the 1970s. Beyond donating to and training grassroots activists across the country, Patagonia also helps customers recycle all used items. Just send in your (preferably clean) Patagonia merch, and the company will find a new use for it.
Beer: New Belgium
The 100 percent employee-owned brewery is pretty frank about how far the brewing industry has to go to be energy efficient, but New Belgium has built out an extensive conservation and recycling plan. The brewery uses a combination of solar energy and biogas, while efficient equipment recaptures waste energy. The team even self-imposes an energy tax to reserve funds for more green work.
Toms built its reputation on doing good for people (donating shoes to children in need for each sale), but it’s also doing good for the planet. The brand offers some shoes made with natural hemp, organic cotton, or recycled polyester, and 80 percent of Toms shoe boxes are made with recycled waste too.
Lush sells many of its bath products and makeup totally “naked,” entirely without packaging. Their goods are 100% vegetarian and 80% vegan too, unlike other cosmetics based on animal fats, and they don’t test on animals. The brand even offers a philanthropic Charity Pot lotion, donating 100% of proceeds to humanitarian, environmental and animal rights causes.
Grocery bag: Junes
Cut down on guilt in the checkout line by nixing plastic bags in favor of these eye-catching mesh produce bags. You can even mail in any old, tired bags to be shredded down into yarn for new bags (and to earn a discount).
You may go to IKEA for cheap bookcases and coffee tables, but consider every purchase an investment in the company’s efforts to go green. While 60 percent of IKEA products are currently based on renewable materials and 10 percent incorporate recycled material, in 2018 the brand announced plans to switch entirely to renewable and recycled materials by 2030.