Reuse, reduce, recycle—all three hallmarks of sustainability were in attendance at Natural Products Expo East 2011. See which products and companies wowed us with their eco- and people-friendly initiatives.
The Shopping List Bag
More than 90 perfect of customers forget their reusable shopping bags, said Dan Russo, founder of LE Green Bags at his Expo East booth. That's what prompted him to create the next-gen reusable bag: The Shopping List Bag. The bag combines a shopping list, pen, coupon clip and loyalty card ring with a full-sized, folding bag that sticks right to your refrigerator.
Let’s face it—shopping has become complicated, but this innovation that's already caught the eyes of retailers for branding opportunities, can make the trip to your local natural store a little more organized.
Some companies get into the sustainability game after they've established themselves. And then there are companies such as Philadelphia-based Hydros Bottle that start specifically to address a sustainable need. For Hydros Bottle, that need is the global water crisis. According to Hydros, one billion people don't have access to clean water. To change that statistic, one dollar of every sale of their filtered water bottle goes to fund Engineers Without Borders' work on infrastructure projects in developing countries.
Not only is the bottle creating clean water opportunities for villages in need, but it's doing good at home. The bottle is made in the United States, particularly manufactured in old, rust belt areas. It's antibacterial, dishwasher safe, BPA-free and fills up in 15 seconds. Replace the filter every 3 months, and recycle it either at a local participating retailer or by mailing it back to Hydros.
We first spotted EcoTensil at Natural Products Expo West earlier this year, and were happy to see the little biodegradable, recyclable spoons now taking over at Expo East. For retailers and product manufacturers looking to reduce sampling waste, EcoTensil's products are a no-brainer. The recyclable spoons compost in 3-5 weeks and are made from FSC-certified paperboard.
About 60 to 70 exhibitors used the EcoTaster Mini at the show. And close to half of the exhibitors who were using spoons to sample products chose the EcoTaster Mini, said Julia Lyon, public relations for EcoTensil. That's some serious, sustainable savings.
Forget the Febreze – Moso Natural's 100 percent bamboo charcoal bags take odors out of your space without masking by fragrance. The carbon in each bag works to remove unpleasant odors, including off-gasses from carpets, paint and fabric, and only needs to be placed in the sun for an hour once a month to refresh.
The non-toxic, eco-friendly bags now come in a larger version to cover 250 square feet. They'll last you two years, at which time you can cut open the bag and treat your plants or garden to a bamboo charcoal mulch. Not only is the product itself sustainable, but president Eric Rubin is committed to selling the product mostly to small businesses.
What started from a trip to the landfill is now some of industry's most beautiful, reusable and packable bags. ChicoBag's now-president Andy Keller got inspired to start the company after seeing his local landfill blanketed in plastic. Now, several bag iterations later, the sustainable company is aiming smaller with its Snack Time snack bags. The product took the Best New Green/Environmentally-friendly award at Expo East, proving that sustainable solutions can come in small packages.
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