So I wanted to give a quick update about a few environmentally focused companies I've recently discovered.
As we all know, important movements are happening in America and the world, and I understand my voice isn't always the most representative or the most helpful.
I'm doing my best to listen and learn. Reading books on systemic oppression, fascism, inequality. Reading articles on the true scope of racial bias and police brutality. Replaying in my head every conversation I've ever had about Feminism, Racism, opportunity, and equity.
I've had relationships with strong, progressive women over the years. They've helped me better grasp many issues I've never had to face directly. Most importantly, they've done so with only mild annoyance, frustration, and disdain, which I appreciate more than they know. To each of you, I say thank you. Sorry I'm sometimes a slow learner, but I get there eventually.
Learning, however, can feel a bit hollow without action. How do we apply our newly acquired knowledge? I've backed kickstarter projects and donated to various causes and will continue to do so, but donating doesn't necessarily satisfy the need for personal responsibility, even if it's the right step to support people best positioned to enact change.
As is probably obvious to most people, the easiest direct action I can take is to modify my consumer behaviors.
Now, there's a whole conversation to be had about the dangers of identity politics and single issue voter mentality, both of which frustrate me to no end, so I'm trying to multitask on the causes front. The environment is my greatest passion. Climate justice, sustainability, reducing our carbon footprint, etc, but that can't be my only cause anymore. In that spirit, I'm searching for businesses that allow me to support my most passionate cause while helping to simultaneously advance other causes and elevate important voices.
Therefore, I set out to find companies founded by people of color or immigrants or women that strive for sustainability while helping to reduce my personal environmental impact.
So far, I've found three I would recommend wholeheartedly. I found every one of these companies via Facebook/Instagram advertisements. Their targeting is dialed in. I'm actually a big fan of targeted marketing, because I'd rather see ads for the following companies than for ED medications. At least for the next decade, I hope!
I've rarely given much thought to Toothpaste tubes. When I saw the ad for Bite Toothpaste Bits, I broke into a big smile, nodding my head. "Why hadn't I thought of this before?"
Bite toothpaste bits come in 100% recyclable glass jars or cardboard sleeves. They're basically a solidified powder. You chew one tablet until it's broken into pieces, then you apply a wet toothbrush. It's a different experience than traditional toothpaste but not in an unpleasant way. It also has the added benefit of portion control. I'm guilty of always using too much toothpaste.
I find their bamboo toothbrush fascinating. Who needs plastic toothbrushes?!?!
The company has a female CEO/founder and is dedicated to improving the planet. An excerpt from their website:
We believe the earth is not ours to keep, but to protect for future generations. We believe that animals are not ours to test on or to use as ingredients. By using only recyclable, biodegradable or compostable materials, we’re able not to add to our already overflowing landfills and polluted oceans — and we’re able to replace products that would otherwise end up there.
Unlike toothpaste tubes, I've given plenty of thought to toilet paper. Deforestation is an ongoing issue, even though many timber companies have implemented stronger sustainability practices.
Along comes Reel Paper, one of whose cofounders grew up in Nigeria. Reel produces sustainably sourced bamboo toilet paper. Why bamboo? Let's consult their website:
27,000 trees are cut down everyday to make toilet paper, and they can’t even be recycled.
Bamboo can grow 3ft in just 24 hours... In fact – it’s the fastest growing plant on the planet, it can be harvested once a year and doesn’t need to be replanted. It uses 30% less water than hardwood trees...Plus it gives out 35% more oxygen than trees, meaning an acre of bamboo can fix approximately 25 metric tons of atmospheric CO2 per year
Reel Paper is made of 100% bamboo, making it the most sustainable, eco-friendly toilet paper on the market. Plus, all of our shipping materials are biodegradable and we use plastic-free packaging"
The company actively works toward making toilets accessible to people in regions where access is limited or unsafe, which is a problem too easily ignored in wealthy countries.
I've been told by female friends that bamboo toilet paper can feel a bit rough when used frequently. I don't find it noticeably different than other toilet paper, but I don't use it as often as women do, so the verdict is still out on that one.
I've been on a mission the past few years to eat less meat. To be honest, it's more about health (and cholesterol) than anything, but there do seem to be environmental reasons for reducing our collective intake.
Daily Harvest jumped out at me early in the pandemic, and I've been subsisting on it regularly for a couple months now. The service is not totally unique. Frozen, pre-packaged, vegan meals delivered to your doorstep. I find them filling and healthier than most meals I make for myself. The convenience is undeniable. And they taste great.
Daily Harvest's founder is female, and they've been updating all packaging to be as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.
This one is probably a bit more controversial than the previous two. Costs may be restrictive for some people, especially if you're feeding a family. And last mile delivery is not exactly carbon friendly. But deliveries required fewer trips to the grocery store during Covid, which was a big motivator for me.
And the bonus selection:
I bought a pair of shorts from a company called Vuori. The company is dedicated to sustainability and offsetting their own carbon footprint. The shorts I purchased use 4-5 recycled plastic bottles per pair. That's way better than dumping those bottles in a landfill. And the shorts are great. Thanks, Instagram.
If you've tried any of these or do so in the future, let me know what you think.