Sustainability fellow shares simple buying decisions that help environment
By Katie Neitz
You don’t have to be able to afford solar panels or an electric car to make a positive impact on the environment. Simple purchasing decisions, like buying a bamboo biodegradable toothbrush, for example, can make a difference, says Kendall Roberson, Lafayette’s new sustainability fellow.
Roberson began her two-year appointment in the Office of Sustainability in August, shortly after graduating from Clemson University in May. In her role, Roberson will work to educate the Lafayette community about contributing to a healthier environmental future and get students, in particular, engaged with the College’s sustainability efforts.
Roberson credits her parents for instilling in her a passion for the outdoors (she’s an avid mountain biker, hiker, camper) and a strong commitment to recycling. In college, she initially pursued environmental science. But her desire to be a change-maker who could become involved with environmental justice inspired her to switch to environmental and natural resources with a concentration in economic policy.
One of her goals—in the short term at Lafayette and in the long term over her entire career—is to educate people about how to use their wallets for good.
“Consumers aren’t often aware of the purchasing power they have,” she says. “If we all buy stainless-steel water bottles, plastic bottles eventually won’t be sold. Making a small change can be powerful.”
Want to make simple—but powerful—changes? Roberson is here to help. She provided us with this eco-friendly shopping guide.
Known Supply: “My absolute favorite clothing company! I am very close to owning one of everything. I love Known Supply because every item has the signature of the person who made it, and you can read their story on the website. There is also complete transparency about their production facilities and production methods.”
ABLE: “If you ever see me walking around campus, my book bag is from ABLE. Their clothing, shoes, and accessories are very cute and help give women around the world the opportunity to work in a safe and healthy environment.”
Poshmark: “Poshmark is an online marketplace for individuals to sell and buy clothing, shoes, and accessories. I have bought so many cute, basically new, clothing items and shoes from Poshmark for a fraction of the cost. When I see something cute online or in a store, I will check Poshmark first and can almost always find it. Reduce, reuse, recycle!”
Plaine Products: “Plaine Products produces reusable hair and face products. When you get low on a product, you request a refill, and when you receive the refill, you send back your empty jars to be filled and reused.”
Lush Cosmetics: “Lush has many great products at the lower-cost end. They were the first eco-beauty company that I spent my own money on when I began looking at other options in college. I personally love Lush because their products last forever. They also have a lot of packaging-free options, like shampoo and deodorant bars. Lush also lists all the ingredients used and provides ample information about their ethical buying process. My favorite products include No Drought dry shampoo, Tea Tree Water toner, and Honey I Washed My Hair shampoo bar.”
Accompany: “Accompany sells a variety of artisan-made home and lifestyle goods. They have a variety of unique and funky items that are all ethically sourced to provide ‘feel-good goods.’”
The Little Market: “The Little Market was one of my first exposures to a comprehensive eco-friendly purchasing website. As a big fan of co-founder Lauren Conrad, I knew I would be hooked. The Little Market has a variety of empowering values including ‘cultivating environmental consciousness.’ It’s committed to selling products that are made of materials originating from sustainably managed sources and that have minimal impact on the environment. They also recycle at all operational locations and continue to improve efforts to reduce their overall environmental footprint. They even have a Fair Trade Gift Guide on the website that is perfect holiday shopping.”
Common Good: “Common Good sells safe, green cleaners that are refillable. All products are made from 100 percent biodegradable formulas that include plant and mineral-based ingredients. Its plastic and glass bottles can be refilled, and they continue to offer alternatives to single-use plastics.”
Mrs. Meyers: “Mrs. Meyers is an excellent choice for cleaning supplies (along with Method and Common Good). All plastic bottles are made from at least 25 percent recycled material, and they also offer refills to reduce plastic waste. My two favorite scents are lavender and basil. Basil is a bit of an unconventional scent, but I love it and have the dish soap, hand soap, and room freshener.”
The Good Trade: “Honestly, can’t say it better than this: ‘The Good Trade was built on the fundamental idea that consumers are capable of driving significant social change through their everyday purchases, consumer preferences, and lifestyle choices.’ They cover all aspects of a conscious lifestyle from fashion and beauty to food and travel.”
Fashion Revolution: “Fashion Revolution is a global movement that believes in ‘a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity, and profit in equal measure.’ They provide information and resources to help consumers answer the question #whomademyclothes.”
Package Free Shop: “Package Free Shop has all sorts of household and everyday goods with limited packaging and plastic. ‘We make reducing your waste and finding alternatives to single-use plastic products convenient and simple.’ I hope to visit their brick-and-mortar store in New York soon.”