The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
July 7, 2010

Win a set of organic towels from Dream Green Organics

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.

Dream Green Organics product packaging

Then, she wraps it in a single sheet of tissue paper tied with jute twine.

Dream Green Organics product packaging

She places the item directly into a cardboard shipping box made from 65% recycled content without any additional packaging.

Dream Green Organics product 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.

Dream Green Organics product packaging

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.

No Plastic

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.

Organic Fabrics

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).

58 comments
Elysia
Elysia

I was wondering where could I purchase those shipping boxes?

laura
laura

A green business is one that follows the three pillars of sustainability in their decision making. Those pillars are: how does it effect the environment, my community/world community, and is it economically pheasible. In order to survice and thrive as well as continue to offer sevices that are needed and sustainable, the business must meet all three criteria. Many companies tout themselves as sustainable but fundamentally engage in commerce that ignores the the three pilars (monsanto). When I look at a company I try to determine if they are using this model of decision making. The easiest way to separate green washing from green living is to talk with the business owner, you can tell right away when someone is sincere and they walk the walk. I like to do business with people who share my values and value long term community participation. Green is a lifestyle not a bandwagon!

Erin
Erin

I think green business means small business. How can you expect a large company to take such care with packaging and its implications if it's larger than this? Brava on thoughtful packaging!

Yuki
Yuki

I think that for a business to be green they must meet great environental stardards in ALL fields possible. (Not only green products but green shipping or organic cotton grown in USA rather than China for example). They must show that they care and that they make efforts. They must listen to their consumers' opinion to improve themselves. i tend to know that there is greenwashing when all I see is big slogans with no meet behind. Like today I saw a "green" Neoprene who is supposedly 25% greener that normal Neoprene... Hey why would I buy something made out of that??? It's complete nonsense! I can surely find what I need in REAL green material! I take great pleasure in looking for real green products and I don't take what the company tells me for granted. I do researches and I send plenty of questions by email... I love internet for that! I really don't know how I could have find all these great green ideas and products 15 years ago...

Suzanne
Suzanne

Laura, Thank you sooooo much for answering my question about fair trade practices. I look forward to buying from you soon (:

Erik Cooke
Erik Cooke

Thanks for taking the time to highlight businesses that are doing the right things. Green businesses are those that aren't treating the earth and their customers in a zero-sum manner. Truly green businesses also educate customers and a broader public, and that push their competitors to do things more sustainably. Taking the time to cultivate a loyal following that agrees with you and keeps you accountable to sustainability. Not "creating" needs, like pop-tarts or go-gurt. Not relying on one-off interactions, but building relationships where both the producer and user consider themselves in a chain of interactions. What I look for in green businesses are lack of artifice, straightforward packaging and explanations, and a clear sense of why their business/product is sustainable. Often, the affiliation labels like Tilth or fair-trade are helpful, but if the producer can't clearly tell me why they are green, then I assume that they probably aren't.

Anni Green
Anni Green

I think the first thing is to buy from companies that are not in the league of corporate giants.I look for smaller labels with more personalized details on their packaging and adds.I always look for a simple,uncomplicated list of ingredients and simple non-wasteful packaging.Sometimes if I have question I will check the policies and history of the company online and read consumer reviews. It is obvious that Laura's sheets and towels etc,are made and packaged with love.No corporation would add such sweet details to the packaging as she does! .Corporate products have nothing to tell you because there is nothing there;empty!

Kay
Kay

To me, organic should be bond to fair. Unfortunately it's not. This does work with most old organic companies and labels.. (got some insight through personal relations), but I don't trust that with 'supermarket-organic' or major companies like Henkel or Nestlé. There's a big discussion going on around here: 'real' organic vs. 'supermarket' organic. The EU-organic label has way lower requirements than the 'old labels'. To me, the EU-label doesn't require 'true' organic in many ways (like, food only has to be 95% organic - and I'm not talking salt or the likes) Funny, some organic foodstore-chains do sell them - most private stores have higher expectations of the stuff they sell (my store stopped selling Bionade, a 'brewed' organic lemonade because they now distrubute it with Coca-Cola). One argument that always comes up is if it's not better people buy 'supermarket-organic' than none at all. To be reasonable: yes, of course it's better, even though it doesn't pass my moral levels. Same goes for eco-cotton at H&M, eco-paint at the DIY superstore.. If it makes peoples think about they consumer-habits.. and the impact.. okay. Sorry, I guess I kinda missed the point.

Elizabeth B
Elizabeth B

"Green business" means not catering to the basest instincts in CONSUMERS for single-use bullshit products, but rather inspiring CITIZENS to want your product because it satisfies a real need in a responsible way. Yeah, and then I woke up. But I can dream, right? As for judging whether a company is greenwashing, I Google them, read what folks have to say about them, look at certifcations and ingredients, and make the best call I can. EWG is helpful here; so is the Good Guide.

Danika Carter
Danika Carter

I think the best definition I've heard for living green was by the 16yo founder (he was 12 when he actually founded the group) Kids vs. Global Warming. To him (and me) it means "to live as if the future matters." My future, my kids' futures, the futures of future generations, the earth's future. This has really struck with me. It's the most simplistic yet effective definition I've heard. I think it also applies to defining what a green business is. While there are different shades of green, does a business behave as if the future matters? If so, they're green. If they aren't, but use verbiage and images to make you think they are, then they are green washing. If they are over promising and under delivering on their "greenness" they are green washing. There are companies out there that I would call "light green" meaning their on the green spectrum, but maybe not as green as I'd like...but I can respect them because they don't claim to be anything other than what they are.

Amanda
Amanda

I choose to use products from companies like Seventh Generation instead of Clorox Green Works. Simply b/c I believe SG truely cares about our environment, and Clorox just wants the business. Clorox still offers all the other products they've always made. They aren't a green company, they made Green Works b/c "green" is suddenly so popular, and they didn't want to loose customers. Green Business, to me, is a company that strives to achieve the least amount of waste. A company that promotes and practices recycling. A company that cares about making products that are safe for the environment, our pets and our children. A company that uses local farmers and resources to promote a healthy community. All of these things are important to me, and luckily I've found a lot of companies that value the same things. :)

Amy R
Amy R

I think it can be frustrating and overwhelming to find companies that are truly green. I look for companies that use minimum packaging, products with a minimum plastic and pesticide use, and treat their employees well.

Helen
Helen

I think there are too many companies claiming to be "green" because it is a buzz word right now. I think if a company willing lists their ingredients and shipping methods they are worth a try. I looked at the website and when I am in need of new linens, I will come back.

Lori
Lori

This is a follow-up to my earlier post: I just found some SIGG bottles in our kitchen cabinet today (ones that my husband got as promotional items), and I think it's a great example of what I look for from a green company. When I was doing research into alternatives to plastic bottle, SIGG came up as a common suggestion, but they wouldn't reveal what the lining of their bottles was made from. That didn't make me feel comfortable, so I ruled out the SIGG bottles. Recently it's come to light that their bottle liner contained BPA even though they suggested it didn't. So when you research different items, you can get a feel for who is giving you clear, transparent info, and who might be concealing things. Now the question is what to do with these bottles - add them to the landfill? DH doesn't think I should offer things like this on Freecycle, because if I don't consider it safe for us, it's not safe for anyone. But I think it's better to offer these (with full disclosure of the info about the safety issues) than have someone go out and buy new ones that are made of plastic and may contain BPA. What do others think?

Jessica
Jessica

Its hard these days - but I look for companies that focus on non-plastic or at least recyclable packaging, quality ingredients or components, and a commitment their employees and to donating portions of their profits to worthy causes.

Piper
Piper

I don't want the towels, but I will say that I will buy from a small cottage maker who has no certifications before a big corporation that claims to be green any day. I learned from my food coop that "unsprayed" is a code word at their store for back yard produce. So I buy that before the certified organic stuff at Ralphs that was grown in a big monoculture with tractors and immigrant labor, packed in boxes, stored in refrigerators and shipped in a truck.

Barb
Barb

Many companies say they are green. However, I am always suspicious. When I bought my house at the end of last year, I made a commitment to myself to try not to buy any new items and products that were sustainable and green. I am the person in the store on my phone checking out details about a company before I buy. Every purchase is important, from TP to towels to my frying pan. Most of the stuff I buy is at 2nd hand stores or estate sales. However, when I need a new product. I look for the product with the least amount of packaging. Did the company use that product as a demo and can't find the box, I'll buy it. I look for post-consumer recycled product, who it was made by and more importantly where it was made. One would be surprised how many places products are made around the world. Certainly there are brands that are truly green and I love buying those products. But if I see a new company and suspect green washing, you better believe I am googling it on my phone to find out who they are and if they are green. (piece of advice, don't go shopping with me, it is a whole day and night ordeal).

Lori
Lori

When I am looking for green products/companies, I tend to do my research online first. I look for companies who are able to articulate why they are making the choices that they are making (even if they can't yet be as green as they'd like), and why they feel their product is better than conventional ones. I read through the websites, especially the FAQs pages. Often, I learn something new. I am looking for a company that demonstrates that they've given thought to and done their reserach about what green options are available to them. I figure that if they are keeping tabs on such issues, if new concerns arise or if new products are developed that can help them be more green, they will be aware and will be likely to respond accordingly. By coincidence, yesterday I posted on my blog my experience with a retailer that pleasantly surprised me with their green choices in their packaging and shipping materials.

Andrea
Andrea

Hmm, that makes me want to run home and check the package of "organic" sheets I just bought from Target to see if they're GOTS certified. To me, a green business has to take environmental and human health into account in all steps of their process--from the raw materials they use, to their energy use, to the building they're housed in and, yes, their packaging. There's a grocery store near us that's the first LEED certified one in New England--it has a green roof, a no-mow lawn (which had a pesticides applied label when they first put it in), motion-activated lights in the coolers, etc. But they still sell the same crap that all grocery stores sell--heavily packaged junk food. Is it better than an energy-hogging building selling that crap? Yes. Does that make them a green business? No.

Anna
Anna

I think a green business is one that buys/sells/trades locally; or one that creates something that has a net positive effect on the "environment" - there's so many ways to measure this net effect... and that's where a lot of greenwashing comes in, in my opinion. Like a previous poster, I'm suspicious of anyone who uses "green" in their name, or makes outlandish claims about their 'green-ness'. I go with my gut... focus on local sources, and try to buy as little "disposable" crap as I can. I look for the same from companies claiming to be "green".

Bridget
Bridget

Green business means almost obsessive consciousness about where every little bit of everything comes from through every step of the game.

Melanie
Melanie

Green Business: Any business that explores the options available to them and attempts to make the best choice they can for the environment and our health. Kudos to those businesses who look at the options available to them and decides to find a new way around any issues that can be better. How Do I Tell If A Business Is Greenwashing: Research, reviews, feedback. I listen, I read, I think. Sometimes it is a maddening journey because I think I am getting somewhere and end up right back at square one. While the idea of greenwashing angers me, I think there is something positive to take away from it: If companies are greenwashing it means that consumers are starting to demand more from their products and the companies that develop/market them. If people are starting to think about these things, well, there is hope. That last little bit was just my own two cents. Message to Laura Knapp and all the businesses out there trying to do the right thing: Thank you!

Amy Y
Amy Y

I am so excited that you shared Dream Green Organics with us... I am going to bookmark the site so I have it the next time I'm needing to purchase green textiles. I have a really hard time distinguishing between the green washing and truly green companies. I try to go with my gut based on prior experience and where food is concerned I read every ingredient to make sure they aren't misleading with false advertising. On non~food products, however, I just have a hard time telling what is truly green or not.

Katie
Katie

Running a green business requires thinking about the impact you will have at all stages of production and consumption, and striving to reduce or eliminate harm at each stage. Dream Green Organics definitely seems to be on the right track.

Kay
Kay

One way I've 'gone green' is by having my part-time housekeeper 1) hang laundry on a clothesline; 2) clean with vinegar & baking soda; show her pictures of the Pacific Plastic Garbage Dump when she brings up the subject of grandchildren; keep her updated on my efforts to buy organic & 'other than plastic.' It feels a fine line between telling her of my efforts & not annoying her by making her job harder. I expected resistance from her when I asked her to hang my laundry rather than use a dryer. For example, yesterday she said it wasn't sunny, so shouldn't she use the dryer. I told her I grew up without a dyrer & when it rained (or in the winter, as this was in the midwest) we hung clothes in the basement. I'm having the most difficulty w/her not wanting to use 'dish soap' that I made liquid for her. I use bars of soap to wash dishes & have for many years, but she has the mentality that my homemade cleaning supplies are inferior. I feel like screaming in frustration, but I remind myself to talk in a lower, kinder voice. I tried de-plasticizing my house many years ago because plastic is UGLY as well as bad for the planet.

Eleanor
Eleanor

I don't need a set of towels, but I like the question and her company seems like a good one, I wish them luck! But to me, a green company is one where I can look the owner in the eye. They're not afraid to answer my questions, which they do so honestly despite whether they think I will like the answers or not. Green is local, personal, and trying really hard to do the right thing. Green is honest. Because if I can't get the vendor down the street to think about what happens to the packaging they send me home with, we're just wasting each other's time. I'd rather find a local vendor who's trying but not 100% there yet and develop a mutually beneficial relationship to help them get to 100% than mail order from California or Sweden because they're ahead of the curve (no offence California and Sweden, I just don't live in either of those places!).

Angie
Angie

I am fairly new to looking for green businesses. One thing that I appreciate is consistency. For example, with health food products, I find it ironic that many organic foods are wrapped in plastic or come in plastic containers. Seems a bit inconsistent to me.

surviving and thriving on pennies
surviving and thriving on pennies

Green to me means a few different things. I first try to find a local business/farmer. Then the product and how green it truly is. Last but not least is there any plastic involved. If I can get 3 out of 3 its a good green company. I would love to replace my ugly Walmart (yes you read it correctly. Small town with only one store and my only option.) hand towels with a green earth friendly set. Would love to win this set!

Jenny
Jenny

Purchasing green means translating the marketing hype to find out what green really stands for with the company in question. Sometimes what seems to be a good solution, upon further investigation reveals that that may not necessarily be the case. As with most things, one must always do their homework. I really appreciated the info about the difference between organic and certified organic. It would explain why sometimes when purchasing organic clothing I have a reaction, because the piece is treated with some type of sizing. I will now know what to look for. Thanks!!

Leanne
Leanne

I totally agree with your point about making certain that what you buy is certified organic - sometimes, under certain conditions. But sometimes not. For example, our farm has been organic from the moment we moved in. That's now only four months (!!), but from four months ago until the day I die (because I never intend to leave) this place will be organic. However, we can't afford to get certified. It costs several hundred dollars a year, which we don't have. A lot of smallholders are in the same position as us. They can't afford certification either. So when we sell our produce down at the corner, we can't say it is certified organic. We can say it was produced organically, but it isn't actually certified. I think there's a big problem with the cost of certification, and am lobbying for lower cost certification levels for smallholders like us. Bt in the meanwhile, we're screwed. We just have to sell our stuff at lower premiums, while the big guys who can afford the certification get the big markups for their organic status, even though they may be doing a whole stack of things that, ethically, I don't agree with. Hmmm - I think I need to write a blog post about this! But I just wanted to point it out. Regardless, if you're buying in the city, you're probably buying form big guys, and organic is almost always better. Just not always.

Kelly Harris
Kelly Harris

A green business to me is one who avoids extra packaging, uses local labor and materials, uses sustainable materials and is ethical.

Margo
Margo

Green Business to me is no environmental impact (no plastic, no pollution, no chemicals) and fair trade, fair wages, fair labor practices, and good quality products. . .something I will use for a long, long time. I would much rather pay extra for a good quality product that has a positive impact on the environment and on the people that produce it. When possible, I also like to purchase local. However, while this is getting easier to do with food (locally grown), it is rarely possible for green/fair trade non-food products. Beth, thanks for bringing these kinds of products to our attention. It does make a difference. . .a BIG difference.

L.M. Banik
L.M. Banik

"Green Business' means that a company is ethically and environmentally concerned, and this concern is reflected in their business practices. It means that every step of their process serves to make little or no negative impact on the planet.Green businesses can also serve as examples to other non-green companies, to show them that it can be done!

Meg
Meg

For me, green business is about doing the least harm while still offering products that will help people. Sometimes it's hard to tell what the real green business are, but if you look past the marketing to the details, especially the stuff they don't expect people to notice, then you can usually tell. For example, there's a local ice cream shop that uses reusable sample spoons. It's just one of the many small things they do (in addition to serving fantastic vegan ice cream and baked goods) and it's not something you'd see in an ad, but it shows me they are really trying. Likewise, I'm sometimes impressed by what soaps and other cleaners businesses use -- stuff that most people probably don't even notice. And when I buy stuff online, I'm really impressed by companies that reuse packaging and don't over-package stuff.

Condo Blues
Condo Blues

A green business to me is one that can and is willing to explain to their customers where and how they get their raw materials, what is in their products/how they are made, and why and how they send those items to market. And if they can't or aren't doing something 100% green (which is extremely difficult to be that literal. If nothing else transporting the goods will ding you) why and if they are trying to change it for the better. I'm not so stuck on demanding third party certifications because sometimes they are an expensive mark up on a naturally green product like most herbs (many are naturally resistant to pests and are grown without pesticides even on conventional farms) or just a rubber stamp like some Energy Star approved products.

Reenie Rogers
Reenie Rogers

Hi, and thanks for keeping the green momentum going! A true green company cannot hide its light under a bushel! They love their product, their service, their staff, their customers. A green company aims for sustainability, and expresses their ‘ecological intelligence’ (see Daniel Goleman’s book of same title). Using their ecological intelligence, a green company creates a business with product or services that have low or no negative impacts through all phases on (1) the geosphere (environment including water, air, soil), (2) the biosphere (life forms including humans, mammals, birds, fish, fowl etc.), and (3) sociosphere (treatment of workers, pay, health risks associated with manufacturing the product or delivering the service; no child/slave labor). A green business has heart. You may experience this heart in the actual product or service, via an encounter with an employee, or even notice it in some small detail (such as a mindfully wrapped & packaged product!). For this point in history, a green business needs to have a customer education component. Say, it's time for you to purchase a new cell phone. You go to your local green phone company. They are a customer friendly store, and have computers for customers to use to check out Environmental Working Group’s (www.eng.org) listing of phones with low radiation. That way cell phone shopping can be done intelligently, keeping the body's health in mind, as well as considering a phone's cost and style! This green phone company is responability recycling old phones, and also treats employees very well, providing training, and paying decent wages, and providing healthy working environment.

laura
laura

I forgot to add, thank you for asking about this, it is a very important question to ask when deciding whether or not to purchase products from a company. Many thanks, Laura

laura
laura

Since someone had a question as to whether or not the Dream Green Organics items are fair trade, I have posted this response to let you know that all of the Dream Green Organics products are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. In order to be GOTS certified, suppliers have numerous criteria that must be met, including ethical, fair, safe, etc treatment of the workers. I have pasted into this comment (see below) a section from the GOTS document that addresses the social standards. Go to www.global-standard.org for all of the information and the complete text of the GOTS certification requirements. Bottom line.... all of the Dream Green Organics products are truly 'green', ethical and fair, and I wouldn't do it any other way! Laura, Owner, Dream Green Organics 3. Minimum social criteria 3.1. Scope The following social criteria currently apply to the textile processing level only. As far as a practical quality assurance system for the farm level will be in place, these social criteria also apply for the farm level. 3.2. Employment is freely chosen There is no forced or bonded labour. Workers are not required to lodge "deposits" or their identity papers with their employer and are free to leave their employer after reasonable notice. 3.3. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected Workers, without distinction, have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively. The employer adopts an open attitude towards the activities of trade unions and their organisational activities. Workers representatives are not discriminated against and have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace. Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted under law, the employer facilitates, and does not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining. 3.4. Working conditions are safe and hygienic A safe and hygienic working environment must be provided, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards. Adequate steps must be taken to prevent accidents and injury to health arising from, associated with, or occurring in the course of work, by minimising, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment. Workers must receive regular and recorded health and safety training, and such training must be repeated for new or reassigned Page 18 workers. Access to clean toilet facilities and to potable water, and, if appropriate, to rest areas, food consuming areas and sanitary facilities for food storage must be provided. Accommodation, where provided, must be clean, safe, and meet the basic needs of the workers. The company observing the code must assign responsibility for health and safety to a senior management representative. 3.5. Child labour must not be used There must be no new recruitment of child labour. Companies must develop or participate in and contribute to policies and programmes which provide for the transition of any child found to be performing child labour to enable her or him to attend and remain in quality education until no longer a child; "child" and "child labour" as being defined by ILO. Children and young persons under 18 must not be employed at night or in hazardous conditions. These policies and procedures must conform to the provisions of the relevant ILO standards (C138, C182). 3.6. Living wages Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week meet, at a minimum, national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. In any event wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income. All workers must be provided with written and understandable information about their employment conditions including wages before they enter employment and about the particulars of their wages for the pay period concerned each time that they are paid. Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure are not permitted nor must any deductions from wages unless provided for by national law without the express permission of the worker concerned. All disciplinary measures should be recorded. 3.7. Working hours are not excessive Working hours must comply with national laws and benchmark industry standards, whichever affords greater protection. Page 19 In any event, workers must not be required to work in excess of 48 hours per week on a regular basis, and must be provided with at least one day off for every 7 day period on average. Overtime must be voluntary, must not exceed 12 hours per week, must not be demanded on a regular basis and must always be compensated at a premium rate. 3.8. No discrimination is practised There is no discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation. 3.9. Regular employment is provided To every extent possible work performed must be on the basis of recognised employment relationship established through national law and practice. Obligations to employees under labour or social security laws and regulations arising from the regular employment relationship must not be avoided through the use of labour-only contracting, sub- contracting, or home-working arrangements, or through apprenticeship schemes where there is no real intent to impart skills or provide regular employment, nor must any such obligations be avoided through the excessive use of fixed-term contracts of employment. 3.10. Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited Physical abuse or discipline, the threat of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment and verbal abuse or other forms of intimidation must be prohibited.

kate
kate

I actually have no idea what "green business" means anymore. At one point, I truly thought that a green business would be one with the best intentions towards our environment and our bodies. Now, i almost assume that any mainstream consumer product is angling is in the green-washing game on some level. I just hope that i'm able to research ahead of time and avoid spur of the moment non-researched purchases. That or I try to buy from small businesses, where I can speak with the owner/manufacture of the product directly.

Samantha
Samantha

A green business to me is one that strives to bring the best all natural/organic products to their customers with the least impact on the earth. They don't try and hide behind their 'green name' and sell me more than I want or need, and they listen to their customers. They are always evolving and are active in the community by buying local and involving their customers.

Lianne Lavoie
Lianne Lavoie

I look for businesses that don't use excess packaging when mailing merchandise, and doesn't offer plastic bags in the store. Unfortunately, I haven't seen many stores in Winnipeg yet that don't offer plastic bags. At least more and more of them are charging for them now! I also look for businesses that don't just say "we're green!" but instead give specific things they are doing to conserve resources and reduce pollution.

Sarah S
Sarah S

I want to see a company going 100%, especially when it comes to my kid. When I was buying him a sippy cup, I chose Kleen Kanteen over SIGG, even though SIGG was easier for me to get. SIGG was saying that there was probably nothing wrong with their plastic lining, but Kleen Kanteen was like, look, no plastic at all, so no need to worry.

VillageGreen
VillageGreen

Wow, those would go great in my new eco-friendly, as sustainable as I can make it, bathroom renovation. Finding "green businesses" in Akron, OH is not so easy. I'm finding that I have to take the lead in terms of what I want for my bathroom and then find contractors who are willing to work with materials and products they've never used before. To find the actual products, I've had to go online and put in mega amounts of search time. I have a hunch that most of the products I end up ordering will NOT be shipped in a green sustainable manner. I try to balance things out by looking for products made in the US and as close to Ohio as possible to cut down on the carbon expended in shipping. However, ultimately my decisions are about what the product will do in the long run. For instance, a super low flow toilet with Washlet seat will mean no more toilet paper and many gallons of water saved per day. Showercork flooring is shipped from Italy, but the cork is a sustainable product, anti-microbial and will be pleasant for the feet to walk upon. Going to check out Dream Green Organics to look for a sustainable shower curtain for my bathroom make-over!

Martha
Martha

What does green business mean to me? It is run by thoughtful people who "walk the walk" in their personal lives, not just in their advertising. On a website, I always read "About Us" to see what a company's mission is, and what being "green" means to the them. I look to see if they are interested in their customers beyond what they can sell them---do they give back to the community in some way, such as participating in or organizing or sponsoring events or promotions that help raise the consciousness of their customers? Or offering information that will educate customers? I check to see what certifications they have, to get an idea of how thorough they are, and when their product arrives, I check out the packaging materials. It says volumes if their product is a sound "green" one, but they ship it to me in a plastic bag.

Laura
Laura

I just discovered your site, and I love it! To me, a green business must, at it's heart, be authentic. When green becomes a marketing ploy to sell more unnecessary crap to clutter up the planet, it breaks my heart. I love that you focused on Dream Green Organics packaging. It kills me to see products touted as "green" but packaged in 3lbs of unnecssary plastic packaging. Hope I win the towels!!

Luna
Luna

"What suffered to make this material?" is primarily my criteria for the green-ness of a business. Whether it's trees, animals, or people, the answer should be -solely- that which it was made of. Did bugs die because they ate this cilantro? Does this notebook come from the forests of indigenous people? These things shouldn't -HAVE- to be thought about, because it is absurd that there is formaldehyde in sex lube, and maybe we shouldn't have to worry about the things that are wrong. Green means guilt-free, and Luna-approved.

Suzanne
Suzanne

I love "Green" companies, but yes I like them third party certified, like Patagonia. All of there cotton is organic, has been since 1996, way ahead of the curve, but they don't make everything (: so there needs o be lots more green businesses. I have been looking for new towels actually, I want them organic but I also want them to be fair trade, do you know who makes the materials you use? Are they paid a fair wage for there area? that is very important to me. Thanks

Brittany
Brittany

Well lets just say that is anyone is gonna put a green label on their business, it should mean that they use the least amount of packaging as possible, buy locally and organically, have explinations about why they do what they do, how important it is. The enviroment should always come first in a green company, and especially that their waste is not thrust into the ocean and taken care of as enviromentally cound as possible. No dyes, hormones, or pesticides, less plastic... I could really go on and on but these are the key things I think a green business should mean.