By Sofía González
In a previous post, we explained the benefits of making a business sustainable. As part of our philosophy, Local Keeps works exclusively with makers who follow a green philosophy. By taking a look at every single step of the processes, businesses are able to tweak their products and adjust themselves to ensure zero waste.
There’s is no manual for this, as we’ve seen. But rather, every Maker has a different way of making their product sustainable, it can be by either incorporating green practices (such as recycling and reusing) or by working closely with the community.
“We also print on FSC certified paper. In this case, we only use certified corn paper and cardboard for our notebooks.”
These notebooks feature handmade drawings and details on everyday birds you will find at city parks in San Jose.
“Our products are certified organic. Besides using local fruit, we compost all the organic waste we produce and recycle the rest.”
“Our products are woven in acrylic wool but we are making the transition to cotton. In some products we use raw cotton and add some color to it using natural dyes from fruits, vegetables and flowers. The toys are stuffed with scraps of wool or recycled cotton from other leftover projects to minimize the use of non-recyclable materials.”
Nylon thread has been removed for attaching the label to the dolls and the scraps of cotton and wool are reused; the label is made of paper or cardboard. The product is delivered in kraft paper bags and the adhesive for the brand was removed. Instead, we use an ink seal.”
“The fabric scraps are given to automotive workshops so they can use them as cleaning rags. Aside from this, we design our plushies and toys so that the leftovers from bigger products can be used on smaller ones. We also reuse materials from textile factories.”
“Stitch by Stitch bags are made with leftover threads from industrial textile companies. There is no plastic present in the process. In addition to this, all the remaining threads are discarded in the form of eco-bricks. All these eco-bricks are taken to a school in Playas del Coco and used for construction.”
Each bag is knitted by hand using recycled textiles.
“We work with small-scale production; we make a minimum of the garments by calculating the potential sales so that the garments do not remain as stock and do not generate more waste than the account. We use the pieces for other smaller pieces such as cosmetics, headbands, purses and so on.
We practice upcycling in order to give a second life, so to say, to clothes that have not been sold or that have some flaw or damage in the fabric. Our bags use recycled Guanacaste wood and our shoes utilize 100% national and sustainable leather. Our production is completely local and focused in the Guanacaste area especially.”
Montserrat Dibango’s luxurious resort wear collection is chic through and through.
“At Roble Sabana Coffee, we work with farms and mills that are under the NAMA Coffee scheme, also known as the Low Carbon Farm Program in English. Three of these farms are in NAMA coffee and one is Rainforest Alliance certified. One of these farms is certified organic.”
“We use locally and nationally produced raw materials. We promote a network of native bee sanctuaries and honey gardens. When it comes to packaging, we have not found a solution that satisfies our ecological criteria. There is a huge gap in this area; glass is not an ecological material as is believed, since its production is highly extractive and the recycling process consumes many resources.
Importing packaging from China is not only unecological, but also has a very negative socio-economic component. Transporting by ship or plane is another issue that generates an enormous ecological impact. Even though we try to use locally produced packaging as much as possible, in the end we use the ones we always have at hand.”
“Sipidipi's books are made with FSC certified papers: from forests reforested for paper production. The papers are also biodegradable, recyclable and free of elemental chlorine.
Sipidi’s books, like “Landscapes of Costa Rica” are certified biodegradable and 100% awesome.
“We make cocoa paper to make our boxes, cellulose instead of plastic and recycled paper. Also, all waste is recycled into compost or donated to feed pigs on neighboring farms. We also have a rainwater collection and purification system. Finally, we use natural and locally produced raw materials whenever possible.
We also donate to other organizations, such as the Neotropica Wetlands Project, the Environmental Education in Corcovado and CATIE's Cocoa Improvement Program. For years, we have calculated the production of carbon generated by deliveries and pay for the planting of trees in the northern zone.”
The secret to making the perfect chocolate bar is thinking of every single step of the process.
“We make our business green by working securing processed leather from domestic tanneries. We use water-soluble non-polluting paints, dyes and sealants. The leftover leather and textile scraps are used in large-format paintings which I love to work on as well.
These lovely, hand painted rings are a tribute to the Costa Rican oxcart.
“Our labels use recycled paper. All leftover scraps and fabric waste are reused by another entrepreneur, who uses this kind of material to weave rugs and hair accessories (like, ponytails and bandanas).”
You’re bound to get great compliments with these socks.
“We at Capitan Picante use glass as packaging, cardboard to create multi-bottle packs and paper bags for order deliveries.”
Their hottest sauce, Sr. Scorpión, made with scorpion peppers, is a favorite.
“The bag fabrics are polyester, which is made from recycled bottles. The hangers are made from recycled paper. We do not use plastic packaging, all packaging is made of cardboard.”
Place all your vegetables in Okologie’s handy reusable bags.
“Trash products are made from waste materials, plastic bags and canvas, both of which are reused. The label is made of craft paper and the products do not have individual packaging. We use second hand boxes to deliver them to companies. The displays are made with reused materials.”
Trash takes upcycling to a different level.
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