Here at Rickshaw, we work hard with local partners across our destinations to ensure our work has a positive impact on the planet and local communities. We admire sustainable companies who do the same and use their business as a force for good. If you are looking for ethical companies who create beautiful and meaningful products that have a positive impact on our world, check out the six we have chosen to start your 2018 off in the best way below. These companies’ innovations make a real difference to our world and offer sustainable alternatives for everyday products.
Consumer waste has increased dramatically, and over the 20th century, we went from producing 40kg per person to whopping 560kg per person! A large part of this waste is created by single-use items, and one of the culprits is disposable coffee cups. As a planet we currently produce over 70 disposable cups per person per year, that amounts to around 500 billion disposable cups manufactured each year. With 70% of our paper originating from forests rather than plantations or recycling, and with many disposable cups being unsuitable for recycling, our take-away coffee habit is damaging our planet.
It can be hard to survive an arduous morning commute without that shot of caffeine, but you can ditch the take-away cup without sacrificing your much-needed flat white. Ecoffee Cups are made from bamboo fibre – the worlds fastest growing and most sustainable crop. An important advantage of bamboo fibre for coffee connoisseurs is that it does not flavour-taint your drinks. The cups are dishwasher safe, have resealable lids and come in a range of designs and sizes – so whether you are a large latte or short macchiato there is a cup to suit you. As Ecoffee Cup say ‘there is no excuse for single-use!’.
How’s it meaningful? Because while many of us love to treat ourselves to a take-away coffee, the disposable cups they come in are destroying our planet. There are various alternatives out there, but what make Ecoffee Cups so special is that they are light, made from sustainable bamboo fibre and, very importantly, the material they are made from does not impact on the flavour of the coffee. This makes them a very appealing alternative.
Shoes are an essential item of clothing, especially in areas where soil harbours diseases and parasites that can lead to illness and even death. Over 1.5 billion people suffer from soil-transmitted diseases worldwide and children are especially vulnerable. Shoes can be truly life-changing, children with shoes are healthier, attend school more frequently and are more confident. Especially in rural areas, children often grow out of shoes before they are given a new pair. So, the shoe that grows has come up with a truly innovative solution.
The shoe that grows uses a simple, durable and extremely clever design to create shoes that grow by five sizes. This means that a pair of ‘shoes that grow’ make five times as much difference as an ordinary pair of shoes. They are easy to clean, easy to use and have no mechanical parts that can break. The shoes are distributed by NGO workers, churches and individual travellers.
If you are looking for a small-scale charity to fundraise for or might be able to distribute shoes, check out this organisation.
How’s it meaningful? Every child deserves, at the very least, basic clothing. This wonderful charity has used an ingenious design to overcome the obstacles that make it difficult to provide growing children with footwear – changing lives one step at a time!
Plastic is a problem for our planet. We now produce over 300 million tons annually and that figure is set to increase each year. There are also concerns around the safety of plastics and the chemical additives that go into them. We all know that re-usable plastic containers are a better option for your lunchtime sandwich than cling film or foil, but the best option is to get rid of plastic completely.
Elephant boxes are made from food-grade stainless steel, which is the best material for carrying and storing food in. It is safe, very durable and, at the end of a long life, it is 100% recyclable. Elephant boxes are a fantastic replacement for plastic containers and, unlike plastic, stainless steel does not stain or hold odours.
How’s it meaningful? We need to reduce our production of plastic and a great way to do that is to swap your plastic food containers for a stainless steel elephant box – a practical and easy change to make that will have a positive impact.
One-third of all food produced is wasted, and in the UK we throw out 15 million tons of perfectly palatable produce! The most commonly discarded foodstuff is bread – around 24 million slices per day. Approximately 44% of all bread produced in the UK is wasted, but almost half of that does not even reach our homes in the first place as sandwich factories throw away the heel and first slice of each loaf – equating to 17% of each loaf of bread.
Toast is tackling this bread waste by turning the bits of bread not used to make sandwiches into beer. Using bread to make beer is nothing new, and the earliest recipes date back to Babylonian times. It is a great method for preserving the calories in bread, giving them a much longer shelf life – and, of course, it tastes great too!
Toast does not just make a great product while helping to combat food waste. They have pledged to donate all their profits to the charity Feedback, who aim to halve food waste by 2025. Their overall commitment is not to making beer but to the reduction of food waste, so not having the surplus in the first place. They also prioritise redistribution of surplus when possible, offering this to food charities. It is only when reduction or redistribution is not possible that Toast uses the bread for brewing. Cheers to that!
How’s it meaningful? Industrial volumes of waste need to be tackled on an industrial level, and this company turns discarded food into another much-loved product. However, what makes this fantastic business truly meaningful is that their main goal is not to sell more beer but to genuinely to reduce wastage.
Just one person can use more than 11,000 disposable sanitary products in their lifetime, and that waste can end up in our oceans and on beaches. The mooncup is revolutionising the previously single-use world of sanitary products.
The cup is made from soft, medical grade silicone and is designed to be comfortable. It is manufactured to high-quality standards and the company have a telephone and email advice service run by medical professionals. This makes this a safe and reliable product to try. Importantly, for anyone travelling, you only need one and it is extremely compact and portable. Much better than trying to fit bulky tampons and pads into your carefully packed, minimal luggage. It also works out cheaper than buying single-use products each month, meaning more pennies for your travelling piggy bank.
Mooncup is more than just a clever product, the entire business is run with an ethical ethos. The business is owned by its employees and has won various awards for its ethical business model. The company supports menstrual health education programmes around the world, with subsidised menstrual cups for charities and non-profit organisations, and is dedicated to transforming the conversation around periods and continuing to break the menstrual taboo.
How’s it meaningful? Mooncup is more than just a great product. Their ethical credentials are backed up by both their business model and their commitment to improving the lives of women – which they do by offering subsidised cups to charities and challenging outdated attitudes towards menstruation, with some very meaningful and downright hilarious campaigns!
Cling film is predominantly a single-use product, which means its destined for landfill or for the ocean. Despite being an environmentally damaging product, it is a kitchen essential for most people.
Convinced that there must be an alternative, Bee’s Wrap founder Sarah Kaeck set out to create an alternative to plastic wrapping. Her product is based on an old method, repurposed for the modern kitchen. Her wrapping is made by infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. The result is a washable, reusable and compostable alternative to plastic wrap. The beautifully designed wrapping comes in different sizes and is simple, and very effective, to use.
How’s it meaningful? We need to cut down on single-use items, but it can be hard to forgo convenient products that make life easier – like cling film. However, this company’s ingenious and incredibly simple innovation makes it really easy to make a small change that has a big impact.