Three Brands Inspiring Us to Do Better

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Every year, as Earth Day approaches, I find myself paying a little extra attention to the ways — both big and small — that I can help protect our environment. I try to bike or walk instead of drive when possible, I always bring reusable bags when I go to the supermarket, and when my friends and I are at the beach, we don’t leave until we’ve each picked up at least three pieces of trash.

But the one thing that all of us can probably do more of, no matter where we live or what our daily lives look like, is use our dollars to make a difference by buying from brands that embody the values we all hold dear. Today, I’m going to share three products I received for review from brands that I’m really digging — and I think Ma Nature is, too.

Sierra Designs

This California-based company takes their Social Responsibility Program very seriously, and they pride themselves on considering social responsibility just as important an aspect of vendor performance as quality, cost, and delivery. Not only do they expect and maintain high ethical standards regarding workers and conditions, but they also practice environmental safekeeping. They offer products ranging from tents and sleeping bags to apparel, but I had a chance to check out their Runyon Sport Pack, which is part of their Made in California collection. It’s sleek enough to use casually, but sturdy and functional enough for serious adventure. It’s been out cross country skiing in Park City, Utah (as seen on my husband in this picture), and it’s protected a dry change of clothes as I crossed from one side of a waterfall to the other in Hawaii. The hydration sleeve will come in handy on my next big hike, I have no doubt, but in the meantime, the pockets and loops make it handy for excursions to the beach. (I’ve gotta stash the plastic I pick up somewhere, right?)

Oshәn

This activewear company is dedicated to removing synthetic plastics from sports apparel, instead creating their line using a fabric made from bamboo and spandex. While the spandex offers stretch and compression, the bamboo makes each piece incredibly soft — plus, bamboo is biodegradable, and requires no irrigation, fertilization or replanting, and it soaks up more greenhouse gases while using less water than cotton. Each piece is named for a different beach or ocean-adjacent town, and the St Pete Long Sleeve Relax Tee is now one of my go-to layers.

UCO Ware

Another company with a keen desire to get more people enjoying the outdoors, UCO Gear recently introduced a new addition to their camping essentials with a Bamboo Elements Mess Kit. Whether you’re packing for a camping trip or just want to ditch the single-use containers when you’re bringing lunch to work or planning to bring leftovers home from a restaurant, this kit, made from 90 percent natural content, is where it’s at. The full kit includes a bowl with lid/plate, a Switch Spork Set (which includes a handy dandy knife, and a reusable tether that keeps the kit closed (contents, even saucy ones, won’t leak) — and it can clip into a carabiner to make it even simpler to take your grub on the go. This design is on point when it comes to using it, too, with small handles so if you have no table, it’s really no problem.

How many of your recent purchases have Earth-friendly elements? —Kristen

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