Going Green: From Gifts to Gear to Gadgets, You Can Make Eco-Friendly ChoicesOct 03, 2022 11:47AM ● By Ann Marie O'Phelan
Green products are eco-friendly and have less of a negative impact on the environment when they are created, consumed, or discarded. The waste is reduced from the packaging to the goods themselves. Greenhouse gas emissions are often reduced in their making; they usually have fewer or no toxic ingredients, so they are better for your health, and their packaging is reusable or recyclable.
These days, more and more consumers are choosing green products. The Consumer Sustainability Survey published by CGS Inc. (Computer Generated Solutions) in 2019 found that 72 percent of consumers were buying more environmentally friendly products than they did five years earlier.
Throughout Southwest Florida, green choices are available for all kinds of goods. Let’s explore a few.
You wouldn’t think that something as small as a toothbrush could be a chance to go green, but thanks to WooBamboo in Cape Coral, it is. “We’re proud to provide natural alternatives to the typical landfill-cluttering and chemical-filled products currently on the market,” says marketing director Mandy Carter.
WooBamboo, which refers to itself as an inspiration company, launched on Earth Day in in 2013. Its line of products—from bamboo toothbrushes to biodegradable silk floss—can now be found throughout more than 60 countries around the world. WooBamboo products are available in some local stores and online at woobamboo.com.
“Our mission is to provide healthy dental care that is good for you and our planet too! We want to inspire people daily to be more natural, sustainable, and positive,” adds Carter.
WooBamboo is the world’s first plastic negative oral care brand certified by rePurpose Global, an international coalition working on reducing plastic waste. WooBamboo’s partnership with rePurpose Global means that every WooBamboo product purchased helps fund the removal of plastic waste from polluted environments all around the globe.
“So far, we’ve replaced well over eight million plastic toothbrushes with our bamboo options,” says Carter.
Scout Curated Wears jewelry, such as stack bracelets, stone wraps, and dreamcatchers, specializes in multiuse pieces and uses recyclable packaging. The company is woman-owned, and 10 percent of all proceeds are donated to various causes that support women.
This is one example of the many eco-friendly items carried at Market Earth in Fort Myers. “We offer fair-trade merchandise, recycled and upcycled, and merchandise offered by companies that give back,” says owner Karen Allegretti. Indeed, you’ll find everything from home décor to clothing to kitchenware. Allegretti recently opened a men’s store in downtown Fort Myers called Man on First.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Nature Center gift shop has a selection of unique and eco-friendly gifts that represent its mission of protecting Florida’s water, land, wildlife, and future. It carries books and guides about the Southwest Florida area, books about the history of the conservancy and historical fiction about the area, and an extensive selection of children’s books about preservation of the environment. The gift shop showcases local artisans whose work is reflective of wildlife and all of the impacts the conservancy makes.
“Although we are a gift shop, we are very selective about our choices and provide merchandise that will be a good memory of guests’ visits to the conservancy,” says Rose Readigos, guest services manager.
At Island Pursuit on Sanibel, eco-friendly brands such as PrAna, tasc Performance, Southern Tide, and Bermies are on the racks. “PrAna is a brand we carry in the fall and winter, and they are 100 percent committed to the sustainable clothing movement using organic cotton, recycled wool, and poly,” says marketing director Laurie Gomes Valentino. PrAna’s company headquarters has also been built to be eco-friendly with energy-efficient lights and heating. It has plenty of recycling bins and a staff committed to decreasing their carbon footprint. Organic cotton eliminates the use of chemicals and reduces the use of water to make the fabric.
Island Pursuit also carries tasc Performance, which uses bamboo in its products, Southern Tide, which uses organic cotton, and Bermies swim trunks, which are made of recycled plastic bottles.
Eco-friendly paint is also a choice that can be made for home-improvement projects. GreenSheen eco-friendly paint comes in 18 pre-tinted colors with an eggshell finish. It is a premium, recycled-content latex paint—plus it sells at lower cost than regular paint (one gallon for $19 or five gallons for $90).
GreenSheen paint is sold at nearly 200 Habitat for Humanity ReStores across the U.S, including locally in the North Fort Myers, South Fort Myers, and McGregor Blvd. locations. (The Bonita Springs location does not carry the paint.)
“We heard about [GreenSheen] through our large ReStore collaborative group and talked to many ReStores that were happy customers,” says Stephanie Davis, procurement director at the Habitat ReStores of Lee and Hendry counties. “We loved how the recycled paint complemented the work we do at the ReStore to reuse, resell, and reduce the amount going to the landfills.” Eco-friendly, recycled paint is filtered and tested to ensure its quality, then repackaged for sale.
“When people donate gently used items, it provides us with much-needed inventory for our clients, and profits from the sales help fund Habitat’s affordable home program, which builds and sells homes to families in need,” says Tammy Moran, VP of ReStore in Lee and Hendry counties.
Last year, 19,858 items were donated to the Habitat ReStores. “Our customers appreciate that they can get a deal buying quality items and help reduce their carbon footprint by keeping items out of the landfills. At our stores, customers can find new and gently used furniture, home goods, appliances, and building supplies—including kitchen sinks!” says Moran. Profits from the area ReStores last year funded nine homes for families who partnered with Habitat.
FOR MORE INFO
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
15271 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 239-202-8486
South Fort Myers ReStore
16133 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, 239-652-1660
North Fort Myers ReStore
31 Willis Road, North Fort Myers, 239-652-1699
Bonita Springs ReStore
9080 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, 239-949-4409
2075 Periwinkle Way, #42, Sanibel
2224 First Street, Fort Myers
3106 Del Prado Blvd. S., Unit #308, Cape Coral