On April 22, 1970 the first Earth Day came together in an impressive effort of grassroots organizing. The spontaneous enthusiasm of the day caught hold and led to landmark legislation that transformed American’s relationship to the land, air and water including the Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. Now, 51 years later, environmental awareness is second nature to many of us, and we declare, “Every day is Earth Day!” The Co-op has woven this sentiment into our very being, and we hope that our collective efforts toward sustainability support you in yours. While we still have plenty of work to do, we are proud of our progress. We have been steadily decreasing our carbon emissions, and our newly formed Carbon Neutrality Committee is actively looking for ways to cut it back further. Last year alone, we diverted 56 tons of organic material from landfills through composting. And we prioritize local and organic producers who take care of the land they use to grow our food.
We are also putting our eye toward social sustainability. As we become aware of the depth of inequity in our society, we learn and grow into new modes of outreach. Our Co-op Cares program currently serves 164 members, and we have a goal to increase that significantly this year. Our buyers have been working hard to bring in more Co-op Basics products, so shopping at the Co-op can be economically viable for a greater swath of our community. And our council has convened a JEDI committee – Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – to help guide us in this area.
The last year has shown us the strength of our interconnectedness. From supply chain interruptions to Zoom gatherings, the threads that connect us have been made clear. We are not in this alone. And together, we can choose a sustainable path forward. While we are still exercising caution around COVID-19 and won’t be holding Earth Day events this year, know that we are here to support you in your healthful, earth-friendly choices. Here are some of our favorites.
At Just Soap, they make affordable, handcrafted all-natural products blended by bicycle! They use organic base oils in their soaps and shampoos. And with minimal packaging and no plastic, it’s an all-around earth-friendly choice.
Sunbeam Candles takes reducing their environmental impact seriously. The candles are made with 100% renewable energy, largely from on-premises solar panels. Add to that carbon neutral shipping, no plastic packaging, reusing wax, extensive recycling efforts and composting waste for a truly extraordinary product.
Dr Bronner’s has been a leader in creating environmentally friendly products for a long time. Rooted in regenerative agriculture, they are always working to reduce their carbon footprint. Using 100% post-consumer recycled plastic packaging, bottle to bottle recycling, and solar energy are just some of the ways they accomplish that goal.
A pioneer in the eyewear industry, ICU Eyewear was the first to develop and implement a manufacturing process for eco-friendly reading glasses made from reclaimed plastic, recycled metal and sustainable bamboo. Every year, ICU Eyewear donates thousands of reading glasses to those in need, all over the world.
On Weleda’s farm and garden sites they implement biodynamic practices whenever possible. Biodynamic agriculture means that farming, seed production and landscape maintenance follow the rhythms of nature and the earth. In that way, they produce excellent raw materials while replenishing and maintaining the land and its living communities. They have reduced their water consumption by 25% and much of the energy used in production comes from renewable sources.
The banana bites and plantain chips from Barnana are organic and delicious snacks with a mission of sustainability. Barnana upcycles what would otherwise be wasted bananas, reducing food waste and increasing the income of the small-scale farmers they work with.
If You Care has been around for over 30 years and was the first unbleached coffee filter on the market. Since then, they have grown to include baking products, kitchen staples, and reusable household cleaning products like rubber gloves and sponge cloths. Their packaging is recycled carboard, and everything they make is done with the aim of reducing waste.
Full Circle Home is a plastic neutral organization and is on track to have removed all plastic from their packaging this year. Their sponges, cleaning brushes, and other household products are made with sustainable resources like bamboo, cellulose, walnut shells, and organic cotton. Check out their re-usable paper towels and cleaning cloths to replace your single use cleaning products.
Ecos Laundry Strips – These little boxes contain enough strips for 50 loads of laundry, in a lightweight, easy to store package. Laundry strips are great for going green because they reduce the need for packaging, and they require dramatically fewer fossil fuels to ship from manufacturer to retailer.
Nature’s Path has a mission of sustainability and is one of the few cereals on the market that is still independently owned. All three of Nature’s Path warehouses have achieved Zero Waste Certifications, which means nearly all their waste is reused, recycled, or composted. They are also committed to conserving water, becoming carbon neutral, and improving the environmental quality in their surrounding community and beyond.
Bee’s Wrap is a locally made food wrap that allows you to eliminate plastic wrap from your home. It is a strong, beautiful wrap for cheese, leftovers, or for packing your lunch. Check out the wide variety of styles, sizes, and patterns.