It’s no surprise that mom knows best. In the 1970s and 80s, hand knit, chunky sweaters were all the rage. However, these fashionable clothing items were susceptible to harsh detergents and the rough laundry routine. Thick cotton sweaters didn’t dry well because they held too much moisture which led to mildew or shape loss.
Dropps founder Jonathan Propper’s mother cared about this because she sold patented cotton yarn. Who better to come up with a laundry detergent than the people who make the fabric? In the late 1980s, Lenore Propper Schwartz developed a biodegradable, low-sudsing detergent that would gently clean the natural fibers of cotton.
Fast forward to the present where Dropps products are synonymous with the fact that there are over 2 million plastic containers that were never created. The water mixed in liquid laundry detergent bottles is unneeded as washing machines have water in them. Inspired by dish detergent that used dissolving pods, Dropps founders took that idea and put powder in laundry detergent pods.
Since 2017, Dropps has sold green cleaning products that have a toxic-free formula, are animal cruelty free, and reduce plastic waste. Products arrive in compostable packaging and utilize free carbon neutral shipping. And it gets better. Dropps is a brand who sells direct-to-consumer, offers cost-saving subscription plans, and eliminated third-party retailers from its distribution chain to focus on reducing environmental impact.
Practicing mindful consumption in your daily life is as easy as using good products and as simple as taking a look inside your home.
Let’s take a step in the kitchen to look at spices and cookware.
Domination of the spice trade, the original intent of the colonial conquest of the Indian subcontinent, has not changed even 600+ years later. It is a system in which farmers make no money, spices change hands up to 10 times, and the final spice that goes to the consumer is a shadow of what it once was. It took the founder of Diaspora Co. Sana Javeri Kadri 10 months in India, 40+ farm visits, motorbike rides through farmland, and lots of research to understand how she could make a change.
Diaspora Co. sources heirloom spices organically and directly from small, multi-generational family farms in India. They are 100% pesticide free, gluten free, and guaranteed same-year harvest to ensure the highest potency and freshness. This works to decolonize spices back into a seasonal crop. Farmers are paid an average 6x premium which helps transform the broken system into an equal exchange. Diaspora Co. is working to make sure farmers do make money, that spices don’t change hands as much, and the final spice has maximum flavor.
Moving along the intersection of food and culture in social sustainability brings us to another brand that can help you make a difference in the kitchen.
Founder of Green Heirloom Kaviya Maria Cherian wants to bring you sustainable and eco-friendly cookware from artisans across India. Fueled by her passion for cooking, she discovered traditional Indian artisans were not celebrated like in other countries. Green Heirloom works with Indian artisans to bring its customers sustainable and eco-friendly cast iron, clay, stoneware, and bronze cookware.
This helps revive the legacy of a community that embraces this traditional form of art. It also allows customers to invest in a quality piece of cookware that can be passed down to the next generation, which is another example of a sustainable practice.
Now, let’s take a step outside the kitchen.
In 1961 William and Lucille Salatin purchased the most worn-out and eroded farm in the area near Staunton, Virginia. Today Polyface Farms is a multi-generational family owned farm that works to emotionally, economically, and environmentally enhance agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.
They work to heal the land by planting trees, building compost piles, moving cows daily with portable electric fencing, and using portable sheltering systems to produce all their animals on perennial prairie polycultures. Polyface Farms utilizes non-industrial healthy food production which ensures animals live happy, full lives and mimics nature’s patterns to produce rich soil and plants.
Speaking of saving the land, Ecocart can help you make your online purchases more sustainable with a simple click of a button. Ecocart is a Google Chrome extension available for consumers and businesses that calculates and eliminates the carbon footprint of your online orders to fight climate change.
A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by the creation and shipping of a product.
Ecocart determines the carbon footprint of each order by using an algorithm that analyzes each order (including product type, shipping distance, and item weight) to estimate the shipping emissions created by that order. Then through donations, they fund renewable energy, forestry, or clean water projects to reduce the effects of climate change. Ecocart has offset nearly 26 million pounds of carbon dioxide and saved almost 850,000 trees.
We all live in a world of consumption, but we can make it better through mindful sustainable practices in the social, economic, and environmental landscape. Sustainability should be present at both ends — production and consumption.
The good news is there are many eco-conscious brands that are taking action to accomplish this. Mindful Businesses lets you know about these brands that help you live more sustainably in our weekly podcast, which has over 55 episodes.
Written by Katelyn Milligan.