OUR STANDARDS

We seek out brands and products who place sustainability at their very core. Below are some of the criteria we look for. Not all of our products will have all of these qualities, but we work hard to find great brands that fit as many of these standards as possible.
We believe that the important thing is to have a positive impact, not a perfect one!
  • Manufacturing

    🔂 Simple Supply Chain

    🐝 Organic

    🥦 Vegan

    🌊 Plastic Free

    ⬆️ Upcycled

  • End of Life

    ♻️ Recyclable

    💧Biodegradable

    🪴Compostable

    📦 PCR Packaging

  • Certifications

    🌳 FSC Certified

    🇺🇸 Made in USA

    🤝🏽 Fair Trade

    🪱 Regenerative Certified

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Simple Supply Chain: What does it mean and why is it important?

One of the largest issues when it comes to sustainability is lack of traceability. The bigger and more complicated a product's supply chain is, the harder it is to keep track of the myriad of raw materials, chemicals, manufacturers, transportation, and energy sources that go into making it. Companies can say they're trying to be sustainable, but it's easy for things to fall through the cracks.

That's why we look for products with short supply chains and raw materials sourced from as few locations as possible, so we can keep track of them. Many of our brands actually work with farmers directly and manufacture their own goods in house! 

Traceability is crucial because it keeps supply chains transparent. That creates trust and accountability, so companies that operate sustainability can get the credit they're due.

Organic: What does it mean and why is it important?

Organic refers to a specific way of farming and processing food that prioritizes natural methods and avoids synthetic additives. Here's a breakdown of what organic means, how it works, and why it's important for sustainability:

What it Means:

  • Natural Production: Organic farming emphasizes natural processes over synthetic interventions. This means avoiding synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
  • Animal Welfare: Organic standards often require higher animal welfare standards, such as providing animals with access to the outdoors and organic feed.
  • No GMOs: Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not allowed in organic production.
  • Third-Party Certification: To be labeled organic, farms must undergo a certification process by an independent organization that verifies they meet strict organic standards.

How it Works:

  • Maintaining Soil Health: Organic farmers focus on building healthy soil by using methods like crop rotation, cover crops, and composting. This promotes natural pest control and nutrient cycling.
  • Natural Pest Management: Instead of synthetic pesticides, organic farmers rely on natural methods like beneficial insects, bird boxes, and crop rotation to deter pests.
  • Organic Fertilizers: Manure, compost, and other organic materials are used to nourish crops instead of synthetic fertilizers.

Why Organic is Important for Sustainability:

  • Reduces Reliance on Chemicals: Synthetic pesticides and herbicides can harm human health and pollute waterways. Organic farming minimizes these risks.
  • Promotes Biodiversity: Organic practices create a healthier environment for beneficial insects, pollinators, and soil microbes, leading to increased biodiversity.
  • Improves Soil Quality: Healthy soil is essential for sustainable agriculture. Organic practices promote soil health, leading to better water retention and improved crop yields in the long run.
  • Reduces Pollution: Organic farming reduces runoff of pollutants from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, protecting water quality.

It's important to note:

  • Price and Availability: Organic food can sometimes be more expensive and less readily available compared to conventionally grown food.
  • Not Always a Guarantee: Organic certification focuses on production methods, not necessarily the nutritional content of the food.

Overall, organic farming practices promote a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to food production.

Regenerative Certified: What does it mean and why is it important?

Since the 1970's, earth has lost 30% of our topsoil. One of the main reasons that our soil is becoming lifeless is because we are practicing monocropping at scale, and these crops (mostly corn, soy and wheat) are extracting the same nutrients from the ground over and over again. Our farm systems often rely on chemical fertilizers to add back in nitrogen and other crucial nutrients to this depleted soil, instead of using traditional methods of rotating crops, which gives the soil time to heal in between growing cycles.

Certified Regenerative farms maximize soil health and improves biodiversity of crops and animals by mimicing natural ecosystems as much as possible. It includes using cover crops, reducing tilling, rotating crops, and moving away from synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and factory farming.

This results in healthier soils, meaning increased carbon sequestration and biodiversity!

Vegan: What does it mean and why is it important?

Animal agriculture is among the highest contributors to deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions. This includes things like methane production from cows and other animals (farts and burps) but also the cutting down large parts of the Amazon and other rainforests to grow soybeans to feed them.

That's a big deal, because the Amazon is one of the world's largest and most important carbon sinks. But over the past 20 years alone, the Brazilian Amazon has lost 350,000 square km of forest and emitted 13% more CO2 than it has absorbed.

We believe that moderation is key. You don't have to stop eating animals overnight. But we do believe that people should incorporate more plant based protein into their diets to reduce the overall demand for meat.

Made in USA: What does it mean and why is it important?

Because most of our customers are in the United States, we look for products made in the USA or in North America when possible. This is to keep the supply chain as local as possible and reduce how far products need to travel before reaching you!

Direct from Farm/Fair Trade: What does it mean and why is it important?

Direct From Farm:

  • Meaning: This refers to purchasing products directly from the farmers or producers who grow or raise them. This can happen through farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, or farm stands.
  • How it Works: Consumers can buy directly from the farmers, eliminating middlemen like distributors or wholesalers. This often leads to fresher produce and potentially lower prices for consumers, while farmers may receive a higher share of the profits.
  • Importance: It can support local agriculture, promote fresher produce, and potentially benefit small and medium-sized farms. It allows consumers to connect directly with the people who grow their food.

Fair Trade:

  • Meaning: Fair trade refers to a system that sets international standards for how farmers and workers in developing countries are treated. It ensures they receive fair prices for their products and promotes sustainable farming practices.
  • How it Works: Fair trade organizations certify products that meet specific criteria. These criteria include fair pricing for producers, safe working conditions, and environmental sustainability. Consumers can look for fair trade certifications on product labels.
  • Importance: Fair trade helps ensure farmers and workers in developing countries receive fair compensation for their labor, improve their livelihoods, and contribute to sustainable farming practices.

Choosing Between Them:

  • Direct from farm is a great way to support local agriculture and potentially get fresher produce. However, it may not guarantee fair treatment of farmers or sustainable practices.
  • Fair trade ensures fair prices and working conditions for farmers globally but may not involve local producers.

In some cases, you might find products that are both direct from farm and fair trade. This is ideal as it supports both local agriculture and fair treatment of farmers worldwide.

Plastic Free: What does it mean and why is it important?

Plastic-free" is a term that emphasizes a lifestyle or product that avoids plastic altogether. It's not necessarily about achieving a complete absence of plastic in everything we do, but rather a conscious effort to minimize plastic use and explore alternatives.

Here's a breakdown of the concept:

What it Means:

  • Minimizing Plastic: Plastic-free living is about reducing your reliance on single-use plastics and plastic packaging as much as possible. It involves finding alternatives for everyday items like shopping bags, food containers, and personal care products.
  • Focus on Reusables: The core principle is replacing disposable plastics with reusable alternatives. This could include using reusable grocery bags, water bottles, coffee mugs, and food containers.
  • Prioritizing Sustainable Materials: Choosing products made from natural, biodegradable, or compostable materials like glass, metal, bamboo, or paper is another key aspect.

How it Works:

  • Shifting Habits: Plastic-free living involves making small changes in your daily routines. This could involve planning your grocery shopping to minimize plastic packaging, opting for unpackaged fruits and vegetables, or bringing your own reusable bags.
  • Seeking Alternatives: There are a growing number of plastic-free alternatives available for many products. For example, you can find shampoo bars instead of bottled shampoo, beeswax wraps for food storage instead of plastic wrap, and safety razors with replaceable blades instead of disposable razors.
  • Supporting Sustainable Businesses: Many businesses are offering plastic-free packaging and products. Choosing these options sends a message to manufacturers and retailers that there's a demand for sustainable alternatives.

Why Plastic-Free is Important:

  • Reduces Plastic Pollution: Plastic pollution is a major environmental concern, harming wildlife, ecosystems, and potentially even human health. Reducing plastic use helps minimize plastic waste entering our environment.
  • Conserves Resources: Manufacturing plastic requires a significant amount of energy and resources. Plastic-free living helps conserve these resources and promotes a more sustainable future.
  • Promotes a Circular Economy: By focusing on reusable and sustainable materials, plastic-free living encourages a circular economy where products have a longer lifespan and less waste is generated.

Important Considerations:

  • Gradual Shift: Transitioning to a plastic-free lifestyle doesn't have to happen overnight. Start with small, achievable changes and gradually incorporate more plastic-free practices into your life.
  • Not All Alternatives Are Perfect: Some alternatives might have a higher environmental footprint than certain plastics. Researching and choosing the most sustainable option for your needs is important.
  • Focus on Impact: The goal is to minimize overall plastic use. Don't get discouraged by occasional plastic use. Focus on making a positive impact with your choices.

By embracing a plastic-free approach, we can collectively contribute to a cleaner environment, a more sustainable future, and a reduced reliance on plastic.

Recyclable: What does it mean and why is it important?

Recyclable refers to materials that can be collected, processed, and turned into new products. It's a key component in reducing waste and conserving resources. Here's a breakdown of recyclables and their importance:

How Recycling Works:

  1. Collection: The first step is collecting recyclable materials through curbside pickup programs, drop-off centers, or deposit systems (like bottle deposits).
  2. Sorting: Recyclables are then sorted by type (paper, plastic, glass, metal) at sorting facilities. This ensures they can be effectively reprocessed.
  3. Processing: Each material undergoes specific processing depending on its type. For example, paper might be pulped and formed into new paper products, while plastic bottles are crushed and melted into pellets for new plastic items.
  4. Manufacturing: The reprocessed materials are then used to manufacture new products. This can include things like recycled paperboard boxes, plastic bottles made from PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled) plastic, or aluminum cans made from recycled aluminum.

Why Recycling is Important:

  • Reduces Landfill Waste: Landfills are overflowing, and recycling diverts a significant amount of waste, extending their lifespan and reducing the need for new landfills.
  • Conserves Natural Resources: Manufacturing new products from scratch often requires extracting virgin resources like trees for paper or ores for metals. Recycling utilizes existing materials, reducing our reliance on these resources.
  • Lowers Energy Consumption: The process of creating new products from recycled materials generally requires less energy compared to using virgin resources. This translates to lower greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller environmental footprint.
  • Economic Benefits: The recycling industry creates jobs in collection, sorting, processing, and manufacturing facilities. It also stimulates the market for recycled content products.

It's important to note:

  • Not All Recyclable Materials Are Created Equal: Recyclability can depend on local processing capabilities and infrastructure. Always check your local recycling guidelines to see what materials are accepted in your area.
  • Contamination Matters: Recyclables should be clean and free of contaminants like food residue or liquids. Contamination can make it difficult to process the materials and reduce the quality of the recycled product.

PCR materials: What does it mean and why is it important?

PCR stands for Post-Consumer Recycled material. It refers to plastics that have already been used by consumers and then collected, processed, and reborn into new plastic products. Here's a breakdown of PCR and its importance:

How it Works:

  1. Collection and Sorting: The journey starts with used plastic bottles, food containers, and other items collected through recycling programs. Sorting facilities separate these plastics by type (PET, HDPE, PP, etc.) to ensure proper reprocessing.
  2. Cleaning and Reprocessing: The collected plastics undergo rigorous cleaning to remove dirt, debris, and labels. They're then crushed into small flakes or pellets. These pellets go through a purification process to eliminate any remaining contaminants.
  3. Remanufacturing: The cleaned plastic pellets are melted down and molded into entirely new plastic products like packaging containers, clothing fibers, or even car parts.

Importance for Sustainability:

  • Reduces Environmental Impact: Manufacturing virgin plastic requires significant energy and resources. PCR utilizes existing plastic, lowering the demand for new plastic production. This translates to less energy consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emissions associated with creating plastic from scratch.
  • Lessens Dependence on Fossil Fuels: Virgin plastic is derived from non-renewable fossil fuels like oil and natural gas. By using PCR, we rely less on these resources. Existing plastic gets a second chance, reducing our overall demand for fossil fuels.
  • Reduces Plastic Waste: By incorporating PCR materials into new products, we divert plastic waste from landfills and oceans. This helps minimize plastic pollution, a major environmental concern.
  • Circular Economy: PCR promotes a circular economy for plastics. Used plastics are collected, reprocessed, and given a new life, keeping them in use for longer periods. This reduces overall plastic waste and conserves resources.

Think of it like this: Imagine plastic bottles as aluminum cans. We can recycle them and turn them into new cans, reducing the need to mine more aluminum. PCR achieves something similar for plastics.

Limitations of PCR:

  • Quality Considerations: The quality of PCR materials can vary depending on the source plastic and the recycling process. Sometimes, multiple recycling cycles might be needed to achieve the desired quality for specific applications.
  • Limited Availability: The availability of PCR materials is influenced by recycling rates and collection infrastructure. Not all locations have robust recycling programs, limiting the overall supply of PCR plastic.

Despite these limitations, PCR materials offer a significant advantage over virgin plastics. As recycling technology improves and collection systems become more efficient, PCR is expected to play a major role in creating a more sustainable plastics industry.

Biodegradable: What does it mean and why is it important?

Biodegradable materials can be broken down by living organisms, primarily microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. This breakdown process happens naturally and turns the material back into its basic components, which are often water, carbon dioxide, and biomass (organic matter).

Here's how it works:

  1. Microbial Feast: Microbes like bacteria and fungi recognize the biodegradable material as a food source. They release enzymes that break down the material's complex molecules into simpler ones they can absorb and use for energy.
  2. Gradual Decomposition: As the microbes consume the material, it gradually weakens and disintegrates. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending on the material and environmental conditions (like temperature and moisture).
  3. Back to Nature: The end products of biodegradation are typically harmless and can even be beneficial. Water hydrates the ecosystem, carbon dioxide is used by plants for photosynthesis, and biomass becomes part of the soil, enriching it with nutrients.

Biodegradable materials are important because they:

  • Reduce Landfill Waste: Biodegradable items decompose in landfills instead of piling up for centuries. This helps conserve landfill space and reduces the environmental impact of overflowing landfills.
  • Minimize Pollution: Biodegradation is a natural process that doesn't involve harmful chemicals or byproducts. This helps minimize pollution in the environment compared to non-biodegradable materials that can leach harmful chemicals as they slowly break down.
  • Promote a Circular Economy: Biodegradable materials can be composted, turning them back into nutrient-rich soil. This creates a closed-loop system where organic waste becomes a valuable resource, reducing reliance on virgin materials and promoting sustainability.

However, it's important to note that "biodegradable" doesn't always mean "environmentally friendly." Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Breakdown Time: While biodegradable materials will eventually decompose, the timeframe can vary greatly. Some materials might take years or even decades to break down completely.
  • Industrial vs. Home Composting: Some biodegradable materials are only designed to break down in industrial composting facilities with specific conditions. These facilities might not be readily available everywhere, so proper disposal is crucial.

Overall, biodegradable materials offer a more sustainable option compared to their non-biodegradable counterparts. However, understanding the breakdown time and proper disposal methods is essential for maximizing their environmental benefits.

Compostable: What does it mean and why is it important?

Compostable refers to materials that can break down quickly and safely under specific conditions into a nutrient-rich amendment called compost. It's a specific type of biodegradation that benefits the environment. Here's a breakdown:

What it Means:

  • Designed for Decomposition: Compostable materials are made from organic matter like plant starches or bioplastics specifically formulated to break down rapidly in controlled composting environments.
  • Standards and Certifications: Many compostable products undergo testing and certification by organizations like BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) to ensure they meet specific breakdown standards.

How it Works:

  • Controlled Breakdown: Composting facilities create ideal conditions for breakdown, including proper moisture levels, good aeration, and specific temperature ranges (often around 140°F).
  • Microbial Action: Just like biodegradation, microbes like bacteria and fungi break down the compostable materials. However, the specific materials and controlled environment accelerate this process significantly.
  • Nutrient-Rich Compost: The end product of composting these materials is a dark, crumbly mixture called compost, teeming with beneficial microorganisms and nutrients for plant growth.

Why it's Important for Sustainability:

  • Reduces Landfill Waste: Organic waste like food scraps and yard trimmings make up a large portion of landfills. Composting these materials diverts them from landfills, saving space and resources.
  • Creates Valuable Fertilizer: Compost is a natural and sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizers. It nourishes plants, improves soil health, and reduces reliance on non-renewable resources.
  • Lowers Methane Emissions: Landfills create methane, a potent greenhouse gas, when organic waste decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen). Composting happens aerobically (with oxygen), significantly reducing methane emissions.
  • Promotes a Circular Economy: Composting creates a closed-loop system for organic materials. Food scraps become compost, which nourishes plants that grow more food, reducing reliance on virgin resources.

It's important to remember:

  • Not All Biodegradable are Compostable: While both break down eventually, compostable materials are designed for faster decomposition in specific environments. Not everything labeled "biodegradable" is suitable for home composting.
  • Check Local Guidelines: Different municipalities might have varying guidelines on what materials are accepted in their composting programs. Be sure to check your local guidelines before adding anything to your home compost bin.

By using and disposing of compostable materials properly, we can significantly contribute to a more sustainable future.

Upcycled: What does it mean and why is it important?

Upcycling is basically giving old items a new lease on life by transforming them into something new and useful. It's like taking something unwanted and turning it into something valuable, often with a creative twist. Here's why it's important:

  • Reduces waste: By reusing things instead of throwing them away, upcycling keeps them out of landfills. This helps conserve space in landfills and reduces the environmental impact of waste disposal.
  • Lowers reliance on new materials: When you upcycle, you're not creating a demand for new resources to be extracted and processed. This can help conserve natural resources and reduce pollution from manufacturing.
  • Promotes a circular economy: Upcycling contributes to a circular economy, where materials are kept in use for as long as possible. This is in contrast to a linear economy, where things are used once and then discarded.

Upcycling is a great way to be more sustainable and eco-friendly.

FSC Certified: What does it mean and why is it important?

As you probably know, deforestation is bad, and we should stay away from products that result in trees getting cut down.

FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council. It's an independent organization that certifies forests meeting specific environmental, social, and economic benchmarks. So, when you see a product labeled "FSC Certified," it means the wood used comes from a responsibly managed forest.

Here's why FSC certification is important:

  • Environmentally friendly: FSC forests are managed to conserve biodiversity, minimize harm to soil and water, and avoid harvesting from endangered areas. This helps ensure the long-term health of our forests.
  • Socially beneficial: FSC certification protects the rights of indigenous people and forest workers. It ensures fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect for local communities.
  • Economically viable: FSC promotes sustainable forestry practices that ensure a steady supply of wood for future generations. It also helps businesses demonstrate their commitment to environmental and social responsibility.

In a nutshell, FSC certification is a way to be sure you're buying wood products that come from forests that are good for the environment, good for people, and good for the long-term health of our planet.

We especially look for this label for bamboo products, which are a great alternative to trees, but controversial when grown on deforested land to meet growing consumer demand.