How We Are Trying to Practice Sustainability

Today people are more divided than ever, but there is at least one goal we can all agree on: survival.

bamboo, tissue box, paper towels

We want our species to live comfortably on this planet for as long as possible, for future generations to inherit a world that is habitable.

As consumers we constantly make small decisions that add up and impact the environment. Every item you buy affects the health of our ecosystem, the consumption of natural resources, labor and the standards regarding how companies make and distribute products.

At Public Goods we keep these ideas in mind with every product we develop. If you browse our goods, you’ll see that every page has a few lines and labels that explain why the products are sustainable. Many of our members value sustainability and have asked for more information, so we wanted to expand on those details and offer a more vivid picture of how we are trying to positively impact the environment.

Staying Tree-Free by Using Bamboo and Sugarcane

Trees provide the oxygen we need to breathe, and they are essential pillars of many valuable ecosystems. Nonetheless, manufacturers cut millions of them down every year to make household goods such as toilet paper. Our forests are being depleted faster than they can recover.

Fortunately there are substitutes that can replenish rapidly, namely bamboo and sugarcane. Rather than contributing to deforestation, we rely on these two materials for all of our paper-based products, as well as a few other items.

Bamboo may bare some resemblance to a tree, but it’s actually a grass. Unlike most tree species, farmers and manufacturers can harvest bamboo without killing it. The plant stays in place and regrows until it is ready to be harvested again.

More Details On Our Tree-Free Products

Planting a Tree for Every New Member

In September, 2019 we formed a partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects, a nonprofit that has planted hundreds of millions of trees to restore our forests, support impoverished communities and combat climate change. For every new Public Goods member, we give Eden the money to plant another tree.

Cruelty-Free Manufacturing and Plenty of Vegan/Vegetarian Options

Manufacturing often involves testing on animals or unethical labor practices where workers are abused, underpaid, underage, overworked or even enslaved. Amazon, for example, subjected many of their warehouse workers to horrible conditions such as unbearable smells and lack of bathroom breaks.

At Public Goods we only work with manufacturers who meet our standards of ethics and sustainability. No one is suffering to make and deliver our products.

If you are vegan or vegetarian, use the below links to find products that will suit your lifestyle:

No Harmful Chemicals

Sometimes what’s good for the environment is also best for your body. Did you know U.S. products use more than 1,000 unhealthy ingredients that are banned in Europe? Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Synthetic growth hormones (found in meat)
  • Artificial dyes (adding color to unhealthy cereals and desserts)
  • Brominated vegetable oil (preserving soda)
  • Arsenic (one of the top 10 chemicals the World Health organization is concerned with)

When we became more educated, we decided to make sure our products were devoid of harmful chemicals that often contribute to pollution as well. Nonetheless, we acknowledge that picking ingredients can be a controversial process, and not everyone agrees on what is healthy. We can always improve, so we welcome your feedback.

Here are a few of the controversial substances that are not in Public Goods products:

  • Parabens: overexposure to it can disrupt hormone function
  • Phthalates: can affect reproductive systems
  • Sulfates: part of petroleum production that is not good for the environment

Saving Electricity and Water

Saving money on your electricity and water bills also means there are more resources that will last longer for everyone else. Our cleaning products consume less power, and our washing-related products are greywater-friendly, meaning they leave behind water that is safe to reuse for toilets, watering plants, etc.

More Details On Our Greywater-Friendly and Electricity-Saving Washing and Drying Products

Biodegradable (and Compostable) Products

As you might have already noticed, many of our products are biodegradable. They won’t be taking up space in a landfill, and some can be used for composting. Instead of harming the earth, they return to it.

More Details on Some of Our Biodegradable Products

Consult your local municipal composting facilities to see which products you should send to them or try to compost at home.

Refills That Reduce Waste

Most brands don’t offer large refill bottles for their shampoos and similar products. This shortcoming means more waste and time running to the store, not to mention less value for consumers. We provide refill versions of several of our products so you can reuse plastic bottles and save money.

More Details on Our Refills

Inclusive Gluten-Free Products

Offering healthy products is also about including everyone, not only those who were lucky to be born without major allergies or medical conditions. To be inclusive of people with gluten allergies and celiac disease, many of our products do not contain gluten.

Bioplastic Instead of Petroleum-Based

Petroleum-based plastic supports the fossil fuel industry and contributes to pollution. A significant part of this problem is plastic bottles for personal care and food products. These materials sit in landfills for decades before decomposing into substances that poison the earth.

To reduce our negative impact on the environment, we avoid the use of plastic as much as possible. For some of our bottles we rely on sugarcane-based bioplastics instead of petroleum. This approach is more sustainable because the processing of sugarcane emits far less carbon dioxide than fossil fuels.

Investment in Sustainable Packaging + Zero Waste Products

We are trying to make our box and product packaging more sustainable by reducing plastic and investing in alternative materials that are biodegradable or compostable. To learn more about our efforts, read this blog post.

If you don’t want to wait for advancements in packaging, here are some of our products that are already zero waste (the products themselves are 100% biodegradable, compostable or reusable, they don’t have packaging, or 100% of the packaging is easily recyclable):

Charity

Instead of allowing our extra inventory and product development samples to go to waste, we donate them to charities, nonprofits, shelters and schools. We also make financial contributions.

Here are a few of the organizations we have supported:

If you want to learn more about our charitable efforts, these blog posts provide more details on some of our contributions:

You Don’t Have to Choose Between Sustainability and Savings

At stores sustainable products like these often cost more than mainstream brands. Consumers have to choose between saving money or saving the environment.

By becoming a Public Goods member, you can buy products that are healthy, sustainable and affordable. Doing your part to help the environment doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive.

The highest quality for the lowest cost.

Premium, healthy, sustainable products delivered right to your door. Free shipping on orders $45+

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Comments (11)

  • I love that you guys as a company are trying to be more sustainable and reduce waste and plastic, but it seems like there is a lot of packaging that could be improved. The refills for the bath products come in plastic bags. The cleaning products come in plastic bottles and no refill options. Isn’t there a way to use longer lasting bottles or provide refills that can be made from a tablet instead of buying a new bottle? I feel like there is still so much room to improve. But I like where the company is headed! I hope it can continue to improve.

    • Hi Cynthia,

      You are right that we have much room for improvement. We are working on cleaner refills and should be able to launch them in a few months. We are developing concentrates/tablets as well.

      Plastic reduction is a huge challenge. Sometimes the FDA requires us to use all that plastic. We are, however, trying to limit or eliminate it wherever we can. We will send updates as we make more progress in that area.

      Thank you for supporting us and being patient as we evolve!

  • Question? I love your products and but I wonder if the refill lunches are biodegradable?i get refills but they look like they’re just in more plastic?

    • Hi Dana,

      The refills aren’t biodegradable. Like you said, they are plastic. Nonetheless, we are trying to figure out a way to make them more sustainable. Many of our members have suggested a take-back program, so we are gradually figuring out how we might afford that and have the logistics to make it work.

      • Can you tell me what organization certifies your products organic? I appreciate the simple design, but seeing a logo as proof that it was certified by a legitimate organization is reassuring.

        • Hi Kate,

          The USDA certifies our organic products. You’ll see the label on relevant products such as our olive oil.

    • The vast majority of our products are made in America. Our bamboo-based products come from China because of its convenient supply of bamboo.

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