Climate crisis: The companies aiming to make a dent in reducing waste


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 2: A bulldozer pushes a pile of trash in a pit at Recology on April 2, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Concerns are growing over discarded COVID-19 related used personal protective equipment (PPE) that is littering streets and waterways since it contains microplastics that don’t break down easily and could take hundreds of years to decompose. In September of 2020, the California Coastal Commission created a new category for masks and gloves for its coastal cleanups. Recology is a waste management company that tries to extract more resources from waste. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — With a dire report from the United Nations saying it is a “code red” situation for the climate, some consumers are asking what they can do to reduce their own waste.

Major corporations produce a larger percentage of pollution than any average household. A 2019 analysis by the Climate Accountability Institute found that 20 companies were responsible for a third of all carbon released worldwide since 1965.

That doesn’t mean some households won’t also want to do their parts to contribute to reducing pollution and waste.

These are some of the start-ups targeting consumers who want to be more ecologically mindful.

Low-Waste Cleaning and Beauty goods

Start-ups designed around low-waste spending have popped up in the last several years with major investment behind them.

Some tailor to specific markets and needs like cleaning.

Companies like Blueland allow you to order one-time spray bottles and dispensers for cleaning products then sign-up for refill programs.

By Humankind targets beauty routines with everything from hair care to tablet toothpaste. It also will provide refills on a consistent schedule.

Low-Waste Food Services

One of the largest growth areas during the pandemic was grocery delivery. Instacart alone is now valued at $39 billion after the surge in usage since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, there has been a growing awareness of the societal and environmental harms of food waste. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that food waste in landfills is the third biggest producer of methane emissions in the United States alone.

The start-up Zero is currently only operating in San Francisco, but it promises to deliver groceries with zero-waste. They promise access to 2,000 goods with as little waste used as possible.

Once the groceries are consumed, the plastic jars are picked up Zero employees who then reuse them for other grocery purchases.

It’s founder reported their revenue grew 35% in a single year from the pandemic.

Imperfect Foods meanwhile has gone national during the pandemic with more customers giving the mail order grocery service a try. The service’s website reports 300,000 users and it raised $95 million in its most recent round of funding.

Foods included in a box were rejected from a grocery store at some point and would have otherwise ended up as food waste.

Low-Waste Home Products

Nearly every type of home products has seen a waste-free/lower-waste version emerge in recent years.

Food wraps, coffee filters, and sponges are just some of the home good products the company EcoRoots offers as alternatives to the more traditional higher waste versions.

Wild Minimalist offers an entire line of children’s sustainability products alongside more conventional low-waste home products.

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