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50   g r e e n   p r o d u c t s

how to be a green consumer

Earth Day 2000 asked five of the nation’s foremost environmental experts and green retailers to share their personal "Top 10" lists of their favorite green products.

Want to help protect the Earth? A great way to start is with the products you buy. Store shelves are packed with items that are manufactured in environmentally unsound ways, wrapped in wasteful packaging, or contain dangerous chemicals. 50 Great Green Products gives you the tools to make the right choices for your family and the planet.


Mike Gilliland is the founder of the nation’s second-largest natural foods retailer, selling under the Wild Oats, Alfalfa’s, Oasis, Capers and Sunshine Grocery names. Since starting with a small store in Boulder, CO, Mike has believed in providing good, wholesome foods that are produced in a responsible, Earth-friendly manner.


Wild Oats’ Dairy-Free Chocolate Bar. The purchase of these bars helps support sustainable farming of cocoa beans in the tropics and 10% of the profits go to conserve tropical rainforest lands.


Coleman’s Natural Beef. Coleman’s raises animals from birth without the use of hormones and antibiotics and with feeds tested for pesticide and herbicide residues. Animals also graze free range.


White Wave Soy Products, such as their 100% organic tofu products, are good replacements for resource-intensive animal products such as beef and chicken and are produced with organically grown soy beans.


Frontier Coffee and Herbs, such as Echinacea Goldenseal, a natural remedy for colds and flu. The founder of Frontier is also a leader in the movement to save endangered plants and herbs with her group United Plant Savers.


Tom’s of Maine personal care products such as Tom’s Toothpaste. Tom’s is committed to "products which honor and sustain our natural world." The toothpaste contains no saccharin, preservatives or dyes. The container is 100% recycled paperboard.


7th Generation Paper and Cleaning Products, such as toilet paper which is 100% recycled and uses no chlorine bleach.


Gaia Herbs are entirely grown on organic farms without the use of pesticides. Their herbs are prepared for therapeutic purposes


Nature’s Way Vitamins and Herbs are grown from all-natural ingredients such as the thistle plant.


Sue’s Amazing Peppermint Lip Stuff is made from hemp seed, avocado oil, beeswax, and peppermint oil.


Anything made with "Earth-friendly" hemp, such as PAN World’s 100% hemp change pouches made in Roumania.


Conner Everts is the director of the National Marketplace for the Environment, a showcase for buyers and sellers of environmental products. The combined conference and trade show evolved from the popular Eco-Expo consumer shows that have been held for the last seven years. The first NMFE show was in Washington, D.C. last November and a West Coast show will be held from May 6-8 in Los Angeles.


TOTO Ultra Low-Flow Toilets. Nearly one million have been installed despite the weakening of environmental regulations that encourage water saving devices.


Price Pfister New Ultra Low Flow Showerhead. Generations removed from early water widgets, this is a contemporary, fashionable showerhead.


Copper Cricket Solar Water Heater. Originally from Australia, a durable, cost-effective and efficient hot water heater.


Solarex Photovoltaic Panels. Descended from Arco solar, acquired by Siemens, this huge German electronics firm has located in Camarillo, California.


Earth Machine Composters. From Canada, Earth Machine was a plastics company that has moved into a more environmentally sustainable business. Their composting workshops have attracted thousands of gardeners across the U.S. and Canada.


Alpine Water and Air Filters. While there are plenty of equally good products, the company’s grassroots marketing has brought water quality issues to many homes and businesses.


National Energy Labs. The Labs sponsor a project that sells conservation through education. For instance, kids and their parents work to install products such as low-flow showerheads.


Kenaf Paper. Made from the renewable kenaf plant, kenaf is one of the alternatives to traditional paper products that can reduce our demand on beleaguered forests.


Straw Bale Houses. Energy efficient and easy to build, straw bale houses are a unique alternative to traditional homes.


Recycled Steel Studs. An appropriate material to replace depleted resources and a product providing jobs in the steel industry.


Deb Stryker is the owner of Earth Mercantile, a small store in Portland, Oregon specializing in products that are practical and easy on the planet. Deb grew up in Roseburg, Oregon, "the timber capital of the world," where the experience of watching the destruction of the native forests motivated her to become active in saving the planet.


The Tumblers. Olive or onion barrels from Greece, which are recycled into composters and stand on recycled lumber.


Bark and Seed Children’s Clothing. Children’s fleece clothing made from recycling plastic pop bottles.


The Can-O-Worms. Made out of recycled, plastic Australian money, this composter uses worms to compost all fruit and vegetable waste and produce "the most incredible fertilizer" for your plants.


Deep Eco shoes and Evolution Clothing jeans and shorts are both made from hemp, a renewable, sustainable crop.


Tibetan Resettlement paper made from dahlias, a completely sustainable crop.


Marmoleum Flooring. Replacing linoleum, Marmoleum is made from all non-toxic and some recycled materials. It is made in Holland.


One Whole Earth’s bird feeders, which are made entirely from unused timber "end-cuts."


Building supplies made from recycled or sustainable products such as metal studs instead of wood or recycled glass tiles for roofs.


Artisan Weavers briefcase, made from hemp, is really beautiful, functional, and easy on the planet.


. Voluntary Simplicity. This book by Duane Elgin, says Stryker, is the "best source on how to simplify our lives and reduce consumption, the most important things we can do to reduce our impact on the environment."


Joel Makower is editor of the Green Business Letter (, has written and lectured extensively on green consumerism and green business practices, and is author of "The Green Consumer" and "The E-Factor," among other books. Joel’s regular column "Greenline" appears in the Earth Day 2000 newsletter.

My 10 favorite green products demonstrate that things made from recycled materials can be practical, elegant, and functional—while helping us grow past the one-way, use-and-discard system we have come to know and love.


Gridcore Systems (1400 Canal Ave., Long Beach, CA 90813; 310-901-1492) makes Gridcore, a honey-combed solid panel from 100% post-consumer fibers, including old corrugated cardboard, newsprint and other paper, mechanically pulped urban wood waste, and agricultural fibers such as jute and kenaf. It is a chemical-free board that has many applications, including furniture, stage sets, doors, ceilings, and walls.


Deep E Co. (322 NW Fifth Ave., Ste. 207, Portland, OR 97209; 503-299-6647) sells shoes made from an innovative array of recycled materials, including automobile tires, soda bottles, and metals; as well as rejected or defective latex gloves, coffee filters, and office file folders. Even the shoe box and tissue paper are made from 100% post-consumer cardboard.


Garbage Collection (954 60th St., Oakland, CA 94608; 800-421-3414; email: makes clothing, headwear, and accessories from "redirected textile waste." Its children’s line features "get dirty clothing" and headwear. Garbage Collection products may be found in more than 650 retail locations, including The Nature Company stores.


ReWatch (Watch World, 649 Broadway, New York, NY 10012; 888-928-2496) makes watches from recycled aluminum cans and automobile upholstery. The casing is from 100% recycled beer and soda cans and the wrist bands are from the recycled leather of Mercedes automobile seats.


Studio e.g. (2437A Peralta St., Oakland, CA 94607; 510-763-8812; 510-893-2353 (fax); makes the Ecowork office furniture system, manufactured from 98% recycled materials: desktops and shelves made from agricultural wheat waste and a non-formaldehyde glue; desk, shelf, and panel edge details from recycled rubber of shredded tires; space-dividing panels from 100% recycled and compressed newsprint.


GreenDisk (8124 304th Ave. SE, Preston, WA 98050; 206-222-7734; 206-222-7736 (fax)) offers floppy disks recycled from unsold computer software into a new product, the "Green Disk." The company takes the packages from software companies and separates the components: disks, paper manuals, shrink-wrap, and all the rest. All of it is recycled. Over a two-year period, GreenDisk recycled nearly 20 million pounds of landfill-bound software—enough to make a pile over 500 miles tall.


Viking Office Products (13809 So. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90061; 800-421-1222 offers totally chlorine-free (TCF) recycled copier paper, apparently the first major U.S. office products company to do so.


United Parcel Service (800-PICK-UPS) gets my twice-green prize: It has piloted the industry’s first two-use envelope, made from unbleached paper with a high post-consumer content.


Major Paint Co. (310-542-7701) makes two lines of recycled latex paint, both available nationally. "Great Cover-up" is a basic, low-cost paint in beige and gray. It is intended for rough outdoor surfaces. The higher-quality "Cycle II" is made of at least 50% recycled latex paint collected from household hazardous waste programs. It comes in 25 colors and is intended for interior and exterior surfaces.


Rubber-Necker Ties (10 Silver St., Greenfield, MA 01301-1210; 413-774-4349) makes what may be my all-time favorite recycled products: two styles of neckties, the "Standard Necktie" and the "Bow Tie," from old automobile tires. Rubber-Necker has sold more than 8,500 ties, saving more than 2,000 tires from the landfill.


Peter Roy is president of the nation’s largest natural foods retailer, Whole Foods Market, which operates 84 natural foods supermarkets across the country. Peter started with the company as a 19-year-old grocery bagger in 1975 and has been working in the natural foods business ever since.


365 Bath Tissue. Whole Foods own brand of bath tissue is 100% recycled, containing 80% post-consumer content recycled materials and is whitened without the use of dioxin-producing chlorine bleach.


365 Paper Towels. We describe this product as the "paper preferred by trees" because of its reliance on 100% recycled, 80% post-consumer content recycled materials.


Organiclean. This cleanser made from natural, first-grade fruit and coconut extracts, helps to rinse away harmful pesticide residues from fruits and vegetables without alcohol, bleach or chlorine.


Country Save Laundry Detergent is phosphate free and biodegradable.


Planet Laundry Liquid. Scientific Certification Systems certifies this product as biodegradable, as it breaks down into carbon dioxide, basic minerals, and water. The bottle is made from 50% recycled plastic resins.


Bronners Peppermint Soap. One of the only cleaners you really need, Bronners can be used for shampooing, massaging, vegetable cleaning or whatever you can think of. It contains no synthetic materials and is biodegradable.


7th Generation Powdered Concentrated Laundry Detergent. Containing no petroleum based cleaners, 7th Generation says that "if every household in the U.S. replaced just one box of 18 load petroleum based powder (most sold on the market), with a vegetable based product like this, we could save 79,000 barrels of oil—enough to drive a car 83 million miles!"


Greenforest White Toilet Tissue. This product is made from 100% recycled materials.


7th Generation Brown Paper Towels Made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials, these paper towels use no chlorine bleach.


Planet Dishwashing Liquid. This product is certified as biodegradable and is not tested on animals.

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march 2000

©1999 Earth Day 2000