In celebration of Earth Month, we chatted with a few brands that are working hard to leave a positive, sustainable impact on our planet. Keeping in mind the African proverb, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together," we hosted a Q&A. Follow along to learn their thoughts!
JOOB Activewear is an outdoor clothing brand based in Ann Arbor, Michigan that uses sustainably sourced and fairly traded materials from all over the world. Simply Straws is working to eradicate the use of disposable plastic straws with their non-toxic glass straws. Seattle-based LUNA Sandals creates hand-crafted adventure, hiking, running, and urban adventuring sandals using sustainably sourced, recycled, and up-cycled materials. Branching Threads is a carbon-negative clothing brand that is leaving a positive impact by planting a tree for every dollar spent.
What environmental statistic astounds you most?
LUNA | About 80% of tires are repurposed in some way! Because of this, many of the former “tire mountains” in garbage dumps are disappearing — it is super cool to see the tides starting to turn in the right direction!
Simply Straws | In our mission, we call out that "500 million plastic straws are used and disposed of daily in the United States alone!" This sole fact inspired us to embark on this journey and provide the number one solution to this problem.
JOOB | The low recycling rate in the United States astounds us, especially since the US is the country that produces the most garbage in the world. Even for something as easy to reuse, recycle, or upcycle as apparel, 85% of our clothes go into landfills each year even though 95% of our clothes can be recycled.
The NY Times recently came out with an article stating that US waste management companies have dramatically reduced their recycling efforts because of the increased processing costs which, in turn, is forcing US communities to pay more expensive collection bills, terminate their recycling programs, or burn or bury more waste.
What is the most pressing environmental issue we face? What is your brand doing about it?
Branching Threads | The unsustainable amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere today is extremely concerning — as our attempt to offset this, we plant a tree for every dollar in sales. This means that if we sell a $55 sweatshirt, we plant 55 trees. These trees sequester carbon from our atmosphere, making the earth a more habitable place for all.
JOOB | The most pressing issues are climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions around the world; going climate neutral should be part of everyone’s strategy. We partnered with South Pole, a Swiss-based company that enables companies to reduce or neutralize their emissions footprint. Once we were able to calculate our emissions, we took a portion of our revenue and invested in climate reducing projects so that we offset our unavoidable emissions. This has enabled JOOB to become a climate neutral company, with our products having a climate neutral status as well.
Share with us the sustainable efforts your brand is pursuing and why it matters.
Branching Threads | We factor in the environmental impact of every decision we make to ensure we don't cut any corners, whether using MiiR mugs to reduce the number of disposable cups going into landfills, choosing hemp and organic cotton in our clothing, or making our packages as small as possible in order to take up less space when they're shipped. We strive to lead by example and hope that this environmentally conscious way of life runs off onto our customers.
LUNA | An important goal for us is to have our products last a long time. By extending the life of each product, we reduce the amount of waste created. Because our soles last so long (we use upcycled tires as the outsole for our Origen and Origen Flaco models!), we offer lace replacement services so you can extend the life of your sandals as long as the soles last. Along with making very durable, upcycled goods, we also try to minimize waste around the shop by doing things like giving scrap leather to local artisans, donating usable materials, and recycling what we can.
Simply Straws | We're very proud of our environmental footprint — our offices and manufacturing process is offset by wind power; we're also an award-winning B Corp and a 1% For The Planet company (donating to non-profit partners that are activating and educating against plastic pollution). Our glass staws are also manufactured in California from non-toxic material, and all glass remnants are donated to local artists. We're also proud to ship eCommerce purchases without packaging to reduce waste, and the retail packaging is compostable.
JOOB | Our efforts — in addition to becoming climate neutral — revolve around finding innovative, sustainable, high-performing fabrics to use with our collection. Japan and Taiwan are leading in these areas, and we’re using their textiles for our tees, jackets, and shirts. For example, our Poly-Anna tee is made from 100% recycled PET bottles, and our Fish Tee is made from 100% umorfil, which is nylon spun from a collagen peptide from recycled fish scales. Transparency should also be a big part of sustainability. We've developed a care label that has an embedded QR code — customers can scan this code and will be able to pull up all information available, such as the location the product was made, the source of the textile.
Earth Day can be considered an awareness tool. What do you want others to consider this Earth Day?
Branching Threads | This Earth Day, we want everyone to know just how important their actions are on the environment whether it be eating less meat, using and disposing of less plastic, or flying less. Your actions may not be the final straw that pushes climate change over the edge, but they're still massively impactful. We need to see what we can do first, and that is a big first step.
LUNA | Every little thing counts, and there are so many awesome ways to help out. Whether you want to take a few minutes to clean up your local beach or trail, remember to bring your own cup to the coffee shop, or walk/bike to work, it’s important that we all find ways to help that we feel really good about and that we encourage each other in a positive way. We’re all in this together, after all!
Simply Straws | We want to echo the power of our purchases. You vote with every dollar you spend and feed a supply chain of ethical and environmentally-friendly products or not. We believe in buying products that represent the changes you wish to see in the world. All Earth Month, we’re inviting people to #pledgeagainstplasticstraws with us (and our partners) on their social media. Those that embrace this bold act are empowered with a free Simply Straw to help them on this new path! We gave out 39,000+ free straws last year and are so excited to do it again. We also had over 150+ colleges, universities, and schools challenging each other to take the pledge and make the switch.
JOOB | Simple acts, like hang drying clothes, carpooling, hand-washing dishes, recycling, taking a 4-minute shower, looking into solar or electric vehicles, calculating your household carbon emissions, and buying offsets to become a climate neutral household are some easy wins to get the ball rolling on becoming more Earth-friendly. And! Buy from companies that are more climate-friendly can certainly help turn the tide into consumers being more earth-friendly.
You can learn more and shop from these companies by heading to their websites: