When you go shopping, do you consider where the items you buy come from? Do you wonder how they were made? Businesses of all sizes are taking the necessary steps to offer products and services that are sustainable, priced affordably, and eco-friendly.

They’re doing more than simply recycling paper or turning off the lights. Some small businesses are taking green to the next level by not only being eco-friendly but also by helping people along the way. Here are 5 green initiatives making waves in small business.

1. Stylish Green Bags and Accessories

Hamilton Perkins Collection is a small business who makes stylish tote bags and accessories out of recycled plastics. The company was founded on the idea of creating textiles out of sustainable pineapple fiber, recycled plastic bottles, and billboard vinyl. Since its inception in 2014, Hamilton Perkins has recycled thousands of bottles.

Hamilton Perkins Collection takes recycling to the next level. Their factory is located in Haiti, where they are empowering the locals with jobs and taking the influx of plastic waste and turning into something beautiful.

 

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Earth Bags on display at @cardinalskateshop 📸: @second_letter

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2. Keeping Cars Clean Without Using Water

Maintaining a car and doing it in an eco-friendly way is getting easier. Washing your car in your driveway is not earth-friendly, it uses an excess of water and the chemical heavy soap washes into storm gutters. While taking your car through a carwash is slightly more green, there is a better way. EcoGreen is a car detailing company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has taken car care to the next level of sustainability.

According to EcoGreen.com, the car detailing company will come to your location to clean your car in an eco-friendly way. When they clean your car, they use an organic, biodegradable waterless cleaner and gentle microfiber cloths. Their detailing process does not use any water.

EcoGreen partners Water4, an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs in developing nations learn to drill wells and use the water to improve health and welfare in their communities.

3. Keeping it Local

Breweries are not just trendy, they are also becoming eco-friendly. Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, Michigan is leading the way. The brewery is located in a repurposed funeral home and while remodeling the building the architects and builders made it the first LEED-certified microbrewery in the United States.

The microbrewery opened in 2010 and has continued to reach its sustainability goals. Every year, the brewery releases a report on its sustainability efforts. In 2017, the company purchased 62.5% of its purchases from Michigan. They also had less than 1% of their waste go to a landfill and they recycled over 35,000 pounds of packaging and kitchen materials. In 2017, Brewery Vivant added a 192-panel solar array to significantly reduce their electricity usage in 2018.

Brewery Vivant are pioneers in sustainability by keeping things local. Even the majority of their employees live close enough to ride their bicycles to work. They buy most of their products, produce, and meat from local farms, bakeries, and dairies within a 50-mile radius.


4. Greening the Motor City

When you think of sustainable communities, Detroit isn’t top of mind–but, it should be. Green Garage Detroit is just one small business that is leading the way. Green Garage Detroit isn’t just a small business, it is a place where small businesses get support. Businesses can rent desks, offices, and workshops with all of the necessary tech amenities on a monthly basis.

Green Garage Detroit is located within the city in the former Model-T showroom. The original space was built in 1920, but it now has solar thermal heating and repurposed materials to make it eco-friendly.
With its eco-friendly structure, the building uses 90% less energy and water than a typical office building. It also produces 90% less waste than typical offices.

Instead of small businesses needing to fill several small spaces, they use one space to work together to make Detroit a more sustainable place. This is eco-friendly because, instead of 10 business using 10 different buildings that require 10 different sets of utilities, those 10 businesses only need one space with one set of shared utilities.

5. 3D Printing with Recycled Materials

RE:3D is a company from Texas that has redesigned 3D printing. The company developed Gigabot, a 3D printer that can print on a large scale. Gigabot is used in over 50 countries and in a variety of industries like health science, education, and manufacturing.

3D printers use less waste than traditional manufacturing techniques and the Gigabot large-scale printer is helping people all over the world by repurposing and recycling. A Gigabot at Michigan Tech University successfully printed skateboard decks out of plastic water bottles. In Puerto Rico, entrepreneurs created a Low-band Frequency Network with a Gigabot that could help people stay connected in the post-hurricane conditions. It required less electricity and bandwidth making it more affordable.

The company gives back by helping developing nations print 3D composting toilets out of recycled materials. The printers are helping people recover from natural disasters, move around in 3D-printed wheelchairs, and clean up the environment with eco-friendly toilets.

Green Initiatives take all shapes and sizes. Even if your small business, you can make a big impact. Start small and take a page out of the companies above to inspire change in your community.