While many sustainability causes are essential and urgent, some of the most endangered places on our earth are found in the ocean. The seas are being flooded with plastic, coral reefs are bleaching, and countless species are at constant threat of extinction.
This is primarily due to two main factors – waste (mainly plastic) ending up in the ocean and chemicals being released. Every single day, 8 million pieces of plastic are entering the ocean, including fishing nets, plastic bottles or bags, and microscopic plastic pieces invisible to the naked eye. As the amount of plastic in the ocean grows, it becomes an increasing threat to marine life. According to experts, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean within 30 years from now. Unless we can put a stop to this throwaway culture and make a change, that is.
Thankfully, every one of us can contribute and make a difference. One of the simplest ways to do so is to support sustainable businesses which are on the same mission, working to transform their respective industries to be more sustainable.
In this article, we’ve put together 5 of these brave companies working towards saving the oceans as examples of what you may want to look for when shopping. Afterwards, we’ll also share some advice on how to recognize other sustainable companies and support them!
If you’re interested in sustainability and have an adventurous spirit, you have undoubtedly heard of Patagonia before. This outdoor clothing and equipment brand has long been working to reduce the world’s environmental impact in many different aspects, including changes that help save the ocean.
One of their most prominent achievements is the set up of Patagonia repair centers across the world, where customers can send their broken Patagonia gear for a free repair, instead of having to throw it away. This strategy contributes towards saving the oceans by limiting the amount of clothing that has to be manufactured (including synthetic materials, which pollute our waters with every wash) and prevents waste from ending up in landfills, nature, or the oceans.
Patagonia is also constantly supporting other organizations to save the environment and support environmental action across the world.
2. United By Blue
United By Blue takes action against ocean plastic every time a purchase is made on their website – they remove 1 pound of trash from the ocean for every product sold. To date, they’ve fished out over 3,5 million pounds of waste, and the number continues to rise.
The certified B-Corp features a wide variety of apparel and lifestyle goods on their website, made by a number of different brands including Forsake, Girlfriend Collective, Warp + Weft, and more. These partner brands also take action to protect the environment and save the oceans through sustainable strategies such as incorporating recycled materials whenever possible.
There are few things as great as a sustainable business that collaborates with and supports other purpose and mission-driven organizations — this time, with the mission of saving the oceans.
3. Conscious Step
No matter which causes you support – environmental or ethical – Conscious Step is a wonderful sustainable business to support. The brand sells socks with a cause, which means that you donate a part of the price you pay for each sock to a mission-driven organization fighting for that specific cause with each particular pair.
One of the causes they support (and you can, too) is ocean restoration. To help save the oceans, Conscious Step offers four pairs in this category: socks that protect oceans and three options that allow you to protect a specific species – turtles, sharks, and penguins.
The support of an environmental charity isn’t the only thing that makes these socks suitable for the ocean. The brand also uses sustainable materials, including organic cotton and recycled polyester to avoid regular cotton, which is often heavily treated with pesticides that pollute water, and virgin polyester, which pollutes the ocean through its whole lifecycle.
4. Norton Point
Post-consumer ocean plastic does not have to go to a landfill – it can be recycled to produce some tremendous sustainable accessories, such as sunglasses! Norton Point recovers this plastic from waterways and beaches in Haiti, paying local community collectors a fair wage for their work. This plastic is then used to craft – you guessed it – sustainable sunglasses!
Aside from the thought and practice behind their main product, Norton Point also pledges to remove a pound of trash from the ocean for every product purchased on their website. Furthermore, the brand also engages with sustainability organizations, donating proceeds from its sales to Ocean Conservancy – one of the largest non-profits protecting our oceans.
Lastly, a sustainable business that provides a sustainable solution for other businesses. Econyl uses nylon recovered from landfills and oceans to recycle it into new high-quality fabric. This new regenerated nylon feels just like new, even though no new materials had to be used to create it. What’s more, the material can also be recycled and regenerated afterward, which is relatively uncommon when it comes to plastic-based materials.
This and other circular solutions have the potential to transform the fashion industry as we know it and make it more circular, with sustainability incorporated throughout the whole supply chain.
Aside from the fashion industry, where it has become most popular in creating sustainable swimsuits, Econyl can also create other textiles, such as carpets or rugs.
Every purchase from a sustainable business fighting to protect the environment and save the ocean is worth it. Start with one swap – the next time you’re shopping, choose to buy from a sustainable company like these.
When shopping for sustainable products, it’s also crucial that you do your research. Don’t just rely on the claims a company is making on its website because they could be unsupported. Search for third-party evaluations such as the B-Corp label and get your information from trusted, objective sources.
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