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Jan 142010
 

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Everyone knows you can’t shop your way to green. A true greenie is always looking for ways to reduce and reuse. That line of thinking generally doesn’t propel you to the mall, at least not often.

But (you knew there was a but…) eco-conscious consumers still have needs. Their motivations are just different. They look to buy lower impact, organic products from like-minded companies and retailers. They want fairly produced goods to create a less-toxic home environment, with healthful food, that supports sustainable practices.

Over the past two years, we’ve noticed that the market is bringing us more and more small, green stores that aim to be a nexus for this movement. Take it back. Some are large, like the home supply Green Depot in New York City. They sell lotsa stuff that can really help you dig in to cut your energy bills and remodel greenly.

Earth Goddess eco-goods store in Allentown, N.J.

Earth Goddess sells eco-goodies at its new store in Allentown, N.J.

Many of these stores, though, are smaller urban hubs that are helping nurture nascent green brands, organic products and alternative ways of life.

Of course, yes, we know, there have always been alternative stores. I have delighted for many years in burrowing through salvage spots, hardware outlets, off-the-track food markets and old-time seed stores that somehow survived the century.

But these new green stores are taking the movement uptown. They’re selling not just raw goods, but eco-stylish clothing, pure spa formulations, health food concoctions and creative, high-concept products that up-cycle  used everyday items. (Some pricey, some a bargain.)

You’re likely to see a sleek salad bowl crafted from a chunk of discarded wood or an artsy organic cotton quilt. At the the Twin Cities Green store in uptown Minneapolis, which we visited a few months ago, we found  everything from pure latex mattresses to a hemp washrags, from soy candles to purses constructed of license plates.

Other stores, such as the Greenheart Shop in Chicago focus on food — serving up raw honey, Fair Trade chocolate and healthful teas — and clothing. The shop, which helps support artisans around the world and human development projects in the U.S., sells gorgeous handbags made from recycled saris and affordable frocks constructed of recycled and organic fabrics.

Still other green purveyors, and there are getting to be many, lean toward selling household goods, rugs made of flip-flop scraps, garden tools and compost.

And leave it to San Francisco, to bring us the leading edge, Green 11: A store that tackles consumer waste. At Green 11, you can refill your existing plastic bottles with organic cleaners, shampoos and personal products.

It’s great to see that the free market does provide. This week, we heard about two more green stores opening, one in Houston and one near Trenton, N.J..

Best wishes to:

  • One-Green-Street-Sign-Storefron-closeup-300x198One Green Street, opening at 5160 Buffalo Speedway in Houston. Owners Sherry and David Eichberger will be selling personal products like natural perfumes, clothing made from recycled plastic, pet food and . . .  too much to mention. See their products page. Sherry was inspired to open a store devoted to a cleaner lifestyle after seeing two robust adult men in her neighborhood lose their lives to leukemia, a disease that’s been linked to environmental toxics.
  • Earth Goddess, 28 S. Main St.,  in Allentown, N.J.., carries candles, reusable bags, purses made from recycled tires and a large selection of recycled and earth-friendly jewelry.  Rick Lobley tells us they’ll be selling everything from fingerless bamboo gloves to cheese boards made from wine bottles to those purses constructed of recycled soda can tabs.

Copyright © 2010 Green Right Now | Distributed by GRN Network


Aug 252009
 

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Still using paper coffee filters? You might be stuck with a caffeine habit, but getting rid of those disposable coffee filters is easier than you may realize.

Permanent filters made of stainless steel mesh (and typically gold colored) can serve for many years. So can filters made of hemp, the same fiber used to make ropes and more recently, a raft of other items from T-shirts to washrags. Hemp is tough and these filters promise to last for years also.

We bought one from Cusp Natural Products, a family-owned Washington company that began making a few hemp items in the 1990s and today finds itself making hot pads, dog toys, baseball caps and even iron board covers from hemp fabric.

We like supporting Cusp because their products are made from a renewable source and constructed in the USA. Their coffee filters are available in all sizes (#2, #4 and #6) and help us reduce throw-away products, like paper coffee filters. We discovered Cusp products at the Twin Cities Green store in Minneapolis. But since we live in Dallas, it’s good to know we can find them online.

If you want to compare coffee filters, try The Find shopping search engine, where a search for “Reuseable Coffee Filter” pops up dozens of options in cotton, hemp and stainless steel. We like the fiber products, but know people who swear by the durable mesh baskets. So check them all out. (One key to good coffee, aside from buying quality beans and keeping the grinder sharp, is to keep the basket and all other parts clean. We use Coke. Its acid eats up residue and it doesn’t leave the next batch of coffee tasting funny, like vinegar does. (This whole process does wonderful double duty as a cautionary tale with kids, demo’ing what happens to their teeth when they drink colas.)

Copyright © 2009 Green Right Now | Distributed by Noofangle Media