07/09/10 Update: The winner of the organic cotton towels from Dream Green Organics is Laura. Dream Green is offering a 15% discount for the next month. Use discount code FAKEPLASTICFISH (all caps with no spaces) through August 7.
Laura Knapp at Dream Green Organics doesn’t use any plastic — in her products or in her packaging/shipping materials. In fact, wait’ll you see how she does package her merchandise (photos below.) Laura contacted me a few weeks ago asking if I would review her towels or tablecloths or bed linens. But instead of asking her to send me any of those products, I thought it would be great to let her tell her story and offer a giveway and a discount to Fake Plastic Fish readers.
(If you have a small independent business and are committed to using no or less plastic, contact me and let me know. I’m all about supporting small businesses that are trying to do the right thing.)
Plastic-Free Packaging and Shipping Materials
Laura sent me photos of how she wraps her products. First, she ties it with organic cotton ribbon.
Then, she wraps it in a single sheet of tissue paper tied with jute twine.
She places the item directly into a cardboard shipping box made from 65% recycled content without any additional packaging.
And finally, she adds a shipping label that she prints herself (no plastic pouch) and seals it up with small pieces of brown paper tape.
If the order is small (a couple of cloth napkins, for example) she will ship them in a letter-sized envelope instead of a box to save materials.
Inspiration for Dream Green Organics
I asked Laura for her story and why she decided to start her business.
My son and I have done a lot of talking about concerns over the state of our environment over the last several years, so a few years ago we decided that we wanted to do our part to help protect the environment. We brainstormed a lot… what could we possibly do that would make a difference? Since I have always sewn, and love textiles, and since fabrics are one of the most polluting elements of our water, soil and interior environments, it seemed natural that home textiles was the direction we’d take.
Organic cotton goods such as sheets and towels have been available for some time now, but other home textiles such as organic cotton duvet covers, shower curtains and table linens are still largely an unmet need. What can be found of these types of items are still pretty uninteresting regarding color and pattern, not exactly what you’d call decorator quality for the home. So this started us on our journey to create Dream Green Organics.
What Does Green Mean?
‘Green’ to us is a complete lifestyle, not just owning a set of organic sheets or towels….. although you have to start somewhere! The concept of living ‘green’ has gained momentum in our lives over the last several years. Like most people, we were happily taking long hot showers, letting the water run while brushing our teeth or doing dishes, taking our pesticide-ridden foods purchased from the big chain grocery stores home in plastic bags, jumping into our gas guzzling cars for any little errand….. until several years ago when information and awareness had grown about the harm that was being inflicted on the environment because of the way the populations are living.
Although changes did not happen overnight, slowly, different elements were incorporated or modified to ‘green’ our lives. We now purchase organic foods not only for our own health, but for the health of the planet. Cloth grocery bags are always part of the food shopping (and any other shopping) trips; in fact I no longer use plastic bags for anything at the grocery store. I put a handful of potatoes, onions, or whatever directly into the basket, take them home and store them in a bowl. I use glass jars for storage of leftover food, or a glass bowl with a plate placed over it… there really is no need to use Saran wrap or other plastic wrap.
I use only baking soda and vinegar to clean my home. When painting the rooms in the house only NO VOC paint was used, furniture is from consignment stores and revitalized with slip covers or a coat of paint (NO VOC of course). There are many different ways that we have brought more green into our lives, too many to mention in this interview. We are far from being as perfectly green as we’d like, but have done our best in every area of our lives that is possible at this time. So being ‘green’ really is a mindset, in which one tries to incorporate healthy and environmentally responsible choices in all areas of living.
I think one of the events that was quite dramatic in realizing the devastating toll that plastic was taking on our world was when we learned of the big Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean. Of course there is one in the Atlantic too. Your readers are probably well aware of this, but the currents in the oceans gather the plastic garbage into large patches… the one in the Pacific is twice the size of Texas, yes, TWICE THE SIZE OF TEXAS… nearly incomprehensible and so very tragic for us and the innocent sea life that is affected.
This, as well as countless other sources of information about how our throw-away society, largely due to plastic, is damaging the only home we and our fellow creatures have, Mother Earth, has made us determined to be plastic-free in our business and personal lives as much as is humanly possible. Just recently in the Seattle area a whale washed up on the beach and was discovered to have 3.2 lbs. of garbage in its belly – including 20 plastic bags and 37 other kinds of plastic! So the decision to go plastic-free with Dream Green Organics packaging was very easy, and fit very well with our mission and beliefs.
As a separate thought, there is no time like the present to rid our lives of plastic as it is a petroleum product, and petroleum is a devastating addiction that we must break; we are all painfully aware at this time of just how catastrophic drilling for oil can be on our environment… oil, and hence plastics, should be reserved for only those uses for which absolutely no other alternative exists.
Volumes have been written about the enormous quantities of pesticides and other harmful chemicals that are used in the growing of conventional cotton so I won’t trouble your readers with these readily available facts. Factor in the volumes of additional chemicals that are used for the processing and dying of non-organic textiles, and you have a real chemical soup that you surround your living environment in if you are not living with organic textiles, in addition to the devastating effects on the soil and groundwater. So needless to say, living with organic textiles is very important for one’s own health as well as the health of the environment.
I want to take this opportunity to also call attention to the need to buy certified organic cotton textiles. Many companies are promoting ‘organic cotton’, or 100% organic cotton goods, however unless it is certified by an independent certifier, you really don’t have any idea about the validity of the claim of being organic. All of the Dream Green Organic textiles are certified by an independent oversight agency to GOTS. GOTS stands for the Global Organic Textile Standard. It is a comprehensive standard which requires environmentally responsible methods, behaviors, processes, etc. at all levels.
For example, for an organic cotton fabric to be GOTS certified, the growing of the cotton, the processing, the dying and all aspects of its manufacture must meet rigid criteria. In addition, GOTS requires that the workers be treated ethically and paid fairly. Unless the organic cotton product you are purchasing is 100% certified organic cotton, be very wary about how eco-friendly it really is, and whether it really is the healthiest product for your home and family.
For Fake Plastic Fish Readers
Kudos to all of your readers since, because they are Fake Plastic Fish readers, they already understand the dangers of plastic, and the vital need to eliminate unnecessary plastic consumption from our lives. At Dream Green Organics we want to help make the world a safer and healthier place, while hopefully providing options to create a beautiful interior for your home. We’d love to have you visit our website and check out our products, but even if you don’t purchase from Dream Green Organics please purchase certified organic cotton goods for your home. It is one thing that individuals can do that will promote a healthier environment for your home, as well as promote a healthier environment outside of your home….a win, win situation for all!
Dream Green is giving away one set (bath, hand and washcloth) of the certified organic cotton Champagne towels. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below explaining what “green business” means to you and what criteria you use to decide if a company is truly green or simply greenwashing.
In addition to the giveaway, Dream Green is offering a 15% discount to Fake Plastic Fish readers. The discount code is FAKEPLASTICFISH (all caps with no spaces.) This coupon code is good for one month (through August 7).