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Scientists, environmental activists, United Nations climate reports, documentary filmmakers, the politicians behind the Green New Deal, Greta Thunberg, and probably even the South African cephalopod star of Oscar-nominated My Octopus Teacher (you know if we could speak mollusk) have all sounded the alarm that as of this Earth Day the human race is already a year into the crucial last decade to severely cut global carbon pollution in order to avoid catastrophic, irreversible damage to the planet. To save the animals, the oceans, the water supply, the air, the soil, and ultimately ourselves, will of course take aggressive laws, progressive policies, global cooperation, and big ideas like renewable energy, regenerative farming, and marine permaculture.
But as late folk icon Pete Seeger once said, “If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things.” Actions you take in daily life can make a dent in the average American’s annual 21-ton contribution of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. One way to affect meaningful change is by making smart choices while shopping for everyday necessities like shoes, diapers, and cellphone cases. In recent years, more and more celebrities have put their money where their mouths are and made that process a little easier by creating, collaborating on, investing in, and spreading the word about globe-saving goods.
And sure, these are not entirely altruistic endeavors—there’s a lot of green to be had in eco-friendly industries and products—but get-richer schemes can simultaneously be get-right-with-yourself strategies that benefit the environment and future generations. Here are 14 celebrity-backed items from bamboo toilet paper and athleisure to refillable cleaning supplies making the world a better, more sustainable place one sale at a time.
Like the children’s book says, “Everybody poops,” even beautiful famous people. Which explains why 20 percent of global deforestation is attributed to toilet paper and paper towel usage, which amounts to 40,000 trees being cut down a day or a Central Park’s worth of trees being flushed daily. Two former Uber employees are trying to change how we roll in the bathroom with the financial help from an A-list assortment of investors including Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr., NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, Ciara, and Mark Cuban. They launched a line of subscription bamboo toilet paper in 2020 and followed it up with more sustainable paper towels last month. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, reaching harvest maturity in just three years. It can be harvested without requiring replanting. It also generates at least 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions compared to old-school tush tissue. The tree-free 3-ply arrives at your home or business via carbon-neutral deliveries with zero-plastic packaging.
Kristen Bell and husband Dax Shepard are trying to shrink their eco-footprints and leave a good place for their daughters and every other little who comes after them. Believing all families deserve premium products at a reasonable price, they co-founded Hello Bello in 2019 and now the company consists of a wide array of mostly plant-based personal care products like sunscreen, hand sanitizer, housecleaning products (which come in refillable bottles and concentrate form for less trash), and baby supplies. Despite creating 3.5 million tons of garbage every year in the country, disposable diapers are a convenience most parents won’t sacrifice. So Hello Bello met them in the middle, making better-for-Earth versions in adorable prints with plant-derived core liners and sustainably harvested fluff pulp. They are made without chlorine processing, artificial fragrances, latex, or lotions. The brand has committed to lots of long-term loftier goals including using at least 20% post-consumer recycled plastic in packaging by 2025 and using 100 percent renewable energy in operations by 2030.
When Chrissy Teigen and Kris Jenner couldn’t find the perfect non-toxic cleaning product, they created one. Safely launched with six home and hand care essentials: universal cleaner, window cleaner, laundry detergent, hand cream, hand soap, and hand sanitizer. (They’re available a la carte and in themed bundles like the Clean Freak Kit.) The plant-powered formulas were designed to be effective on grime without being a crime against the groundwater or a household’s inhabitants. Or their olfactory system which is why they enlisted candle and perfume makers to mingle jasmine, woods, musk, heliotrope, amber, and rose until they landed on the Rise and Spring scents. And they also come in refillable bottles to decrease plastic bottle waste.
Good for you if you spent the last year tending a victory garden, baking sourdough bread, and trading recipes with your neighbors. But we suspect as the world starts to open back up and bosses begin to demand butts in cubicle seats, there will be less time for all those things than your #WFH schedule allowed. Enter Zooey Deschanel and co-founder, her ex-husband/movie producer Jacob Pechenik, and their self-watering self-fertilizing vertical hydroponic agriculture system. The expandable Farmstand unit, made from upcycled plastic collected from coastal communities in five sizes, uses 95 percent less water than a traditional garden. It also takes up far less space and if you don’t have a yard or a balcony, you can attach Glow Rings to grow your bounty inside. Choose between 200 seasonally curated non-GMO pesticide-free pre-sprouted vegetable, fruit, and herb seedlings cultivated at nearby farms. They’ll even help determine what produce grows best in your zip code at that time of year. The best part is it takes minimal knowledge of horticulture and far less than 500 days of summer to produce a healthy harvest. Home-farm-to-table meals can be grown in as little as three weeks. Also for every 10 sold, they donate one to schools, community organizations, and nonprofits, usually in a food desert, through Whole Kids Foundation.
In a business-as-usual scenario, the Ellen Macarthur Foundation hypothesizes that by 2050 plastic will outweigh fish in the ocean. When the minds behind Pela heard projections like that one, they decided to get into the business of doing something about it by creating compostable alternatives to everyday objects commonly made of nonrenewable plastic. The plan struck a chord with Jay-Z and Jay Brown, partners in the Roc Nation label and Marcy Venture Partners, who used that VC firm to back Pela.
Pela’s are made out of flax straw waste, plant-based biopolymers, and organic materials that all meet rigorous standards of municipal and industrial composting facilities. Five percent of total sales from the Save The Waves, Surfrider Foundation, and Oceana collections is donated directly to those environmental organizations. A portion of all other sales goes to eco charities through 1% For The Planet as well. Pela also makes 100 percent biodegradable and compostable collapsible phone grip-stands, and Air Pods carrying cases. If, when you’re done with your product and don’t compost at home or through your city, you can send it back to them to deal with.
Post Malone x Arnette
In between pumping out hits, losing nine Grammys, and causing culture vulture controversies, Post Malone apparently learned the importance of diversification and striking while the iron is hot. The rapper has built a random empire that includes customized Crocs, the cannabis line Shaboink, an H&M streetwear capsule collection emblazoned with his tattooed face, Maison No. 9 rosé, and, most recently, a design collaboration with Arnette that resulted in sunglasses and optical frames. Chic enough to get ‘em saying “wow,” they’ll also impress treehuggers as they’re made with a minimum of 50 to 70 percent bio-based materials like super-smooth bio-acetate and optimized processes to reduce climate-ruining emissions. The lenses of the shades, which come in Blue Jeans, Deep Forest, Blood Red, Purple Haze, and Blackout, are made with a castor oil-based polyamide.
According to a 2018 University of Oxford study published in the journal Science, a vegan diet could be the single biggest way to reduce your carbon footprint and if everyone cut meat and dairy, global farmland could be reduced by an area equivalent to the size of the U.S., China, Australia, and the EU combined. That would significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and wildlife habitat destruction, one of the leading causes of extinction. Seven-time Grand Slam champ Venus Williams’ plant-based protein shakes could help you avoid eating animals. Launched last December and inspired by her own doctor-recommended journey to quit meat in order to manage her autoimmune disorder symptoms, she worked with nutritionists and dieticians to perfect her personal recipe to include a blend of body- and mind-boosting macronutrients and essential amino acids. Now if only the triple chocolate and vanilla bean drinks could improve our tennis game.
Jaden Smith co-founded JUST Water as a tween with the help of his parents Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith which recently earned a $100 million valuation in 2019. Smith started the company because of a hatred for single-use plastic. He had his epiphany when he saw water bottles bobbing up and down while surfing. His solution was different though. JUST, which now also comes flavored, is sold in a paper carton made of 88 percent renewable resources. Now a certified B Corp, Smith has expanded his helpful ways. JUST sent a water filtration system to Flint, Michigan, that can clean up to 10 gallons of water at once for families.
The terrifying stats about climate change and ocean plastic like the one about how we all on average unknowingly breathe in and consume the equivalent of a credit card’s worth of plastic every week is enough to drive one to drink. Might as well drown your sorrows with a beverage brand that does their part sustainably from seed to sip like Código 1530, the tequila company backed by King of Country George Strait. (He even wrote a theme song.) Conservation efforts start in the fields where agave fibers are reused as fertilizer and mulch to enrich the soil and clow soil moisture evaporation. They also allow dedicated bushes to flower to serve as food to bolster local bat populations because the creatures are an integral part of the tequila circle of life. Oak aging barrels are reused several times before being converted into furniture, trays, and more by Jalisco artisans. Código bottles are produced from recycled glass and post-consumer recycled paper and cardboard are used as packing materials.
Puma x Cara Delevingne
Athleisure was acceptable fashion in most circumstances before the pandemic and now joggers, cropped sweatshirts, bike shorts, and other stretchy comfort clothing are basically uniforms. Delevingne combined two of her biggest passions—yoga and Mother Nature—when collaborating with PUMA on the Exhale collection, which uses at least 70 percent recycled polyester and other sustainable materials. Involved from concept to completion, the “Carnival Row” actress used her yogi journey to inform her vote on colors, silhouettes, and materials while the athletic apparel giant, who also fully offset any unavoidable emissions from the manufacturing process, came up with a lunar cycle graphic as a nod to her personal practice.
Sanuk & Grateful Dead
The iconic NorCal jam band has teamed up with the SoCal shoe company for a fourth collection of casual shoes featuring their signature lightning bolt logo and the tie-dye sandals, slip-ons are the most eco-ingenious editions to twirl down Shakedown Street yet. They feature BLOOM Foam, which is made with repurposed algae and cleans approximately 2,800 cubic meters of air, as well as natural and responsibly sourced hemp, jute, and leather, which together saved 21.6 million liters of water during the production process.
In the wellness and clean beauty spaces, companies live or die by how Gwyneth Paltrow and her Goop gang receive their wares. So when one scores her effusive thumb’s up—and entices her to gleefully invest a chunk of change in a round of seed funding—you can assume it is putting up gold standard goodies. Such is the case with the makeup mavens behind Saie, the year-and-a-half-old luxury-level (without the Champagne price tag) beauty brand that has self-banned the use of 2,000 ingredients and raw materials commonly found in cosmetics that are known to be bad for bodies and the environment. (Legally, the U.S. only forbids 11.) Instead Saie labels read like recipes for salads found in the Erewhon Market prepared foods section with things like beeswax, sunflower seed oil, marshmallow root, coconut alkanes, and licorice being used to create mascara, lip gloss, and Glowy Super Gel. Not satisfied enough, they purposefully picked packaging, using aluminum or glass first. But as plastic is sometimes unavoidable, they’ve committed to picking only containers derived from post-consumer recycled plastic or from sugar cane, which grows fast and is 100 percent recyclable, by the end of the year. Still, they aimed higher working with Climate Neutral to offset and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and this month have attained their neutral certification.
Tai Young Beauty
Celebrity makeup artist Tai Young, who counts Issa Rae, Vivica A. Fox and Laila Ali as clients and who currently paints faces weekly on the set of “Grey’s Anatomy,” created a line of vegan, cruelty-free make-up brushes to be used with her quick, easy five steps to flawless technique. Not hurting or killing animals to make products is generally viewed as the more nature-positive way to run a business, but synthetic applicators are easier to clean and will last longer than those made with critter hair which means less waste in landfills. She also just released “Glamdemic: The Ultimate Survival Guide to Saving Face “Literally” In The Midst Of A Global Pandemic,” a guide to help you find the pretty in the PPE and mask-mandate era. Although not as important as stopping global warming in the long run, practicing self-care and protecting public health are still worthwhile ambitions.
Back in 2019, Jiake Liu and Terry Lin went on Shark Tank to peddle their direct-to-consumer sustainable outdoor furniture brand. Since then, they’ve gained investors in Patrick Schwarzenegger, Beverly Mitchell, Alex Pall and Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers and added even more eco-friendly pieces to the catalog. They choose materials like solution-dyed yarn and polished stainless steel for longevity and their ability to weather the elements as fast furniture is worse for the environment than fast fashion. Thirty percent of each chair in the original wicker collection is made of recycled and upcycled materials. The wood used in the new teak line is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure it’s only harvested from the most responsibly managed socially beneficial groves. Outer plants 15 saplings in partner forests through One Tree Planted for every teak chair and sofa set sold. The 1188 rugs are made out of 100 percent recycled PET plastic soda and water bottles.
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