Article written by Venshani De Alwis - Customer Success Intern
Trees have stood alongside the earth for millennia, having known the earth long before Homo Sapiens ever roamed it's surfaces. They have always been crucial to our survival: providing shelter from storms, wood with which we built homes, sap, leaves, and fruit with which we nourished and healed.
Their strength is in their protection of nature, of the way their canopies provide habitation to millions of species. And despite their abundance being treated as normality for most of our lives- the world now desperately needs more trees.
But that's why you're here, isn't it? Every one of our Treeapp users are devoted to doing their part for the environment, to help our world heal in the same way that trees have mothered and healed our species and so many more, for our entire existence. The beauty of Treeapp is that you can truly help the Earth from your couch, or bed, or desk: you don't have to trek through the Himalayas to plant a tree in Nepal, you don't have to find your way to the coast of Madagascar to help rehabilitate the Hawksbill Turtle to prevent its extinction. You can do it all from your home- by simply visiting the app and following the easy steps that I'm sure most of you are already familiar with: choose a project, read or answer three messages/questions from a sustainable brand sponsor, plant a tree and track your progress!
Simple, quick, and a huge help to the environment and the world. But none of this would be possible without our amazing sponsors, and that’s why this post is dedicated to showcasing them and their incredible work for the world too. These sponsors are an integral part of Treeapp; without sponsors we wouldn’t have any funding for these trees that you guys plant everyday. Furthermore, our mission at Treeapp goes beyond planting trees alone: while enabling each user to plant a tree a day is taking a huge step in combating climate change, we also want to showcase some great brands that offer a sustainable alternative to products that exist in a less-sustainable way. We know that most of our users would love to change their lives, and purchases to be more eco-conscious, and want to give everyone that opportunity to learn about these more conscious alternatives and change their consumer behaviour once discovering these brands on Treeapp. Which is why we are so proud to tell you more about some of these sponsors.
Below are some of our favorite ones.
So you like trees, right? I'm assuming you love our oceans too? Well, Ocean Bottle is the best choice for you - it goes above and beyond to help protect our oceans and their inhabitants from plastic waste. Over time, our world has grown into a throw-away dependent system: single-use products became more and more prevalent in the aim to reduce cost and increase convenience.
To give an example for framework, today- 22 million kgs of plastic enters our oceans everyday and in the United States alone, enough plastic water bottles are discarded into the sea to circle the planet five times. These numbers are large, but the consequences of them are even larger: marine mammals such as whales and dolphins become entangled in plastics accumulating in the seas, dying slow and painful deaths over the course of months or even years. Fish and turtles are dying from the ingestion of microplastics. Albatross chicks go unfed, because their parents mistake plastic debris for food. The list continues. But how can we remedy these pitfalls?
The answer is simple- move away from single-use plastic and focus on reusable, sustainable products that are created with the environment and it's protection at the forefront of it's motivations. If you looked up 'Ocean Bottle' in a dictionary, that sentence is probably what you'd find in it's explanation.
Ocean Bottle is an incredible company that makes high-quality, reusable, insulated water bottles. These bottles are stylish, produced in an array of beautiful and bright colours, and feature both a flask cap and a bottle cap (because we all know that drinking hot drinks on the go from a regular bottle cap just can't be done).
But further, and more importantly: for every bottle sold Ocean Bottle will collect 1000 ocean bound plastic bottles. In numerical terms, with every Ocean Bottle sold they will fund the collection of 11.4kg of plastic by locals in coastal communities, who can exchange the plastic waste for money, healthcare, tech products, school tuition and micro-finance at their local plastic banks. Ocean Bottle also up-cycle's the plastic-waste materials to create their re-usable bottles- a direct example of how harmful environmental waste can be collected and reworked to promote health and sustainability.
Photo: Ocean Bottle, Buy here
Coffee is the second most traded commodity after crude oil, and coffee sales are only looking to increase. Since 2000, there has been a 133,710% growth in the sale of coffee pods, with coffee machines by brands like Nespresso becoming more affordable and convenient. In 2014- Nespresso sold 28 billion pods in America alone. But the question is- what happens to all those pods after they are used? What impact do they have on our planet?
Nespresso uses a material called 'virgin aluminium' for its pods, which means that a raw material extracted from the earth is refined, electrolysed and used to house their roasted coffee grounds. When used, these pods need to be taken to a local Nespresso store or mailed to a specified recycling partner in order for them to be recycled: while they aren't non-recyclable, they aren't necessarily easy to recycle, either.
That's where Halo Coffee comes in - a superhero for Nespresso users with their 100% home compostable, entirely recyclable, Nespresso compatible coffee pods. Coffee isn't a commodity we should call a luxury: we should be able to enjoy our morning/afternoon/night-time coffee's without feeling a regret for the world, or guilt for the environment. Halo is a brand that allows us to enjoy coffee while compromising nothing. Their home compostable capsules degrade naturally, quickly, with little intervention. The capsules themselves take as little as 28 days to break down into a natural fertiliser when in a home compost, and furthermore, their packaging takes only 90 days to degrade fully in ambient temperatures. They all break down into organic compounds that will re-enter and enrich the environment.
Photo: Halo Coffee, Buy here
Being environmentally conscious doesn't mean you can't care about fashion: the fashion industry's (often negative) impact on the environment is becoming increasingly more prominent and many people feel conflicted about their choices. On the one hand- you might see an item of clothing or accessory you like and inevitably want to purchase it. On the other hand- you might not be fully aligned to the companies policies, or effect on the planet and their communities. But what if I told you that Treeapp partners with brands that create stylish, beautiful products whilst also having a good impact on the environment?
One of these partners is Nordgreen watches. A company based in Copenhagen, they design minimalistic and elegant watches for both men and women at affordable costs: both to us, and the planet. Being influenced by Danish lifestyle, their brand promotes a concept known as 'hygge' which adheres to removing complexities of modern living and appreciating the small things life has to offer. This resulted in meticulously designed watches that are resilient to harshness of everyday wear, and are a daily reminder of why time shouldn't just pass you by, but rather- be treasured. They are a carbon neutral company, focusing on reducing their carbon footprint both in production and delivery by planting trees per purchase. They use sustainable packaging from up-cycled plastic bottles and moderated, recyclable cardboard. Their giving back programme ensures the promotion of education, health and welfare by partnering with relatable, charitable organizations around the world. Wear a watch that reminds you of why your time here on earth had a good impact- one that will be remembered for your generation and a help for the next.
Photo: Nordgreen, Buy here
Ilk + Ernie
Another of these partners is Ilk + Ernie, a UK based company that creates ethically sourced, sustainable clothing. Fast fashion is one of the most harmful industries to the planet: large corporations often discard their unused fabrics that eventually fill up landfills and oceans. Ilk & Ernie is a brand that focuses on reversing this impact, every year they travel to India and forage the streets, searching for 'waste fabrics' from markets and factories. They purchase these from rural sellers, and recycle them to re-use the fabrics for their own clothing. Their clothing is hand-made by employees in India, who are in turn given fair wages, holiday pay, health insurance, fair working hours (mandated by EU law) and a safe working environment: commodities that are often a luxury in poverty-stricken areas. Furthermore, any unused clothing is distributed to homeless children in Delhi. This company goes above and beyond their commitment to the environment and the people in it: they serve to not only undo the negative effects fast fashion creates, but also to help those living in poverty and give back to the countries that make so many of the things we take for granted.
Photo: Ilk + Ernie, Buy here
In recent years, menstrual cups have increased in both hype and popularity. With emerging evidence on the destructive impact tampons and sanitary towels have on the environment: most are made with a certain amount of plastic woven into their fibres for 'improvement' of the design, and once again- for cost effectiveness in manufacture.
However, the concept is controversial. Often being labelled 'medical' waste, much of sanitary product waste does not get processed the way regular plastic does- and is therefore not monitored or tracked.
In result, billions of tampons and pads fill up landfills every year, polluting our oceans in conjunction. If you want a numerical vision on this figure, the average 'menstrual' life per woman (who reached puberty at the average age and does not reach early or late menopause) will have a menstrual period for 4-5 days per month, for 40 years. That translates to 4-5 days per month, of 40 years of sanitary product use PER woman (with access to such products)- so do I even need to spell out the cornucopia of plastic waste this inevitably translates to when the product itself, it's packaging and applicators are considered? Plastic that takes almost 500 years to degrade, per tampon?
And it's not to say that any woman is doing anything wrong with this practice- sanitary products are regarded as an obligatory necessity in society and no matter how environmentally-active you are, it's not really a choice.
Well Organicup has provided us with a solution to that problem: a re-usable menstrual cup made of 100% medical grade silicone, in 100% recyclable packaging, that replaces pads and tampons for two years. It contains no allergens or additives, is available in three different sizes, can be worn up to 12 hours and is engineered to prevent leaks as it holds up to 3x the capacity of a regular tampon, and doesn't pose the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome so can be worn overnight without concern.
Furthermore, it is inserted similarly to a tampon and cannot be felt once it is worn: swim, cycle, run, or watch tv on the couch with ease. Not only are you doing your part in saving our planet by using these, but you will be saving yourself the cost of years of purchasing sanitary products, and avoiding the dryness that some of them might cause after use. Organicup also has an excellent trial period- they're aware that many people might be apprehensive about switching from something they have grown so comfortable and accustomed to, so offer every purchaser to trial their product for 3 periods (90 days minimum) and if they are not happy with it, are able to refund it or exchange to a different size at no cost.
Having been awarded “Product of the Year” twice and received the “Excellence Award” from BuyMeOnce in the sustainability category, it is a must try for all Earth-lovers!
Photo: OrganiCup, Buy here
Ultimately, these companies are each doing what we at Treeapp, and you - as users of Treeapp, are striving to do: make small changes to our lives, consumer habits and actions to make huge changes in our environment and therefore: the world. By focussing on creating sustainable products, driven with the planet and eco-conscious morals in mind, and in turn purchasing these products and making small changes to the plastic-centric, environmental harmful life we once knew, we are all stepping closer towards our common goal and together, in this way, we will reach it.