Other small eco-friendly steps that are also cost-effective: consolidate shipping, install better insulation and turn computers off at the end of the day. Jennifer Baum Lagdameo tries to make her handbag company Ananas as paper-less as possible. She prefers to email look books and line sheets for the latest collection. "I even got an e-fax number so I print faxes only if absolutely necessary," she adds.
Rethink Your Raw Materials
When owners Alyssa Weiss and Heidi Rauch of Belabumbum decided to launch an eco-friendly line of intimates and maternity lingerie wear last year, they settled on using bamboo. "It requires less dye, is easy to replenish and grows easily," explains Weiss.
Better World Books keeps a handle on purchasing by reusing its shipping boxes at least four times. Pieces that don't become a purse at Ananas get re-imagined as key fobs and embellishments.
Given the rising cost of raw materials, money can be made on what you may consider garbage. For example, not too long ago, restaurants had to pay someone to take away their grease. Now, with oil going for more than $100 a barrel these days, they are being paid to get rid of that stuff. Better World Books' founder and CEO F. Xavier Helgesen says that books they can't unload get sold to a paper recycling company for pulp at $150 per pound. That's a lot of change.
Better World Books' green team planted a community garden next to the company warehouse. Ananas plants one tree in the Philippines for every bag sold and 10 trees for every bag from its eco-friendly collection purchased. Owner Lagdameo also pushes herself to search for new materials. While she started with the abaca plant, she has since used paraffin wax, cork, burlap and vegetable-tanned leather.