Small businesses are often at the forefront of the hottest trends. And sustainability is no exception.
In this edition of Small Business Spotlight, TODAY looked at the coolest small businesses around the world that are making a big environmental impact. Whether they’re developing ingenious reusable products or making everyday products cleaner, these 10 businesses are revolutionizing how we shop. And doing it in style.
Scroll through to discover 10 impactful businesses you’ll be proud to support.
Husband and wife duo Leonard and Andrea Allen started EcoVibe in Portland with a focus on eco-friendly fashion back in 2010. The business has since grown to include a huge assortment of products like planters, bags and home decor. Many of the products stocked by EcoVibe are made by local designers, women, minority and family owned businesses and small makers and manufacturers. And 1% of all online sales go to the local non-profit For The Planet, which supports environmental nonprofits around the world.
What do you do with the leftover container when you’re done burning a candle? This beautiful ceramic vessel from Paddywax is so gorgeous, you’ll never want to throw it out. Which is why it can double as a planter once all the candle wax is gone. Just peel off the sticker, flip the lid to the bottom to catch water, then add your favorite plant.
Black Girl Sunscreen
Founder Shontay Lundy developed her genius product from a fairly obvious hole in the market. Like many people with dark skin tones, she found that sunscreen left a white residue on her skin after she put it on. So she went on a mission to develop a natural formula that dried clear. Black Girl Sunscreen offers a sheer, lightweight coverage that anybody with any skintone can use. It’s vegan, cruelty-free and, thanks to its natural ingredients, is even safe for the ocean when you go swimming.
This natural product is perfect for everyday use. Not only does it protect skin from sun damage, it moisturizes your skin while doing so. You can even use it as a base before applying your makeup for the day. When you’re done, send your empty bottles back to the company and they’ll recycle them — and you’ll get a special surprise in return.
EcoRoots founders Antonia Pitica and Alin Turcea were shocked by how much plastic they used on a daily basis. So they founded their eco-conscious, minimal brand to help people live a more sustainable lifestyle. The company now sells better versions of the products you already use every day like soap, hairbrushes, razors and shampoo. When you order online, shipping is always 100% plastic-free and recyclable, with biodegradable and compostable materials. And 1% of all annual sales are donated to sustainability initiatives and environmental organizations like Ocean Conservancy.
Your hair care likely creates a LOT of plastic waste. These shampoo bars eliminate the need for plastic bottles and are made with vegan formulas. This lavender-scented one adds a fresh scent to your locks. And they’re the perfect option for people who spend time traveling. Because the bars are solid, you don’t need to worry about liquid limits at airport security.
Dance Happy Designs
The founders of Dance Happy Designs came together through Community Integrated Services, a program that helps people with disabilities find work. Julia has Down syndrome and Liv was her job support coach at the time and the duo worked at Emily’s store. They all got along so well, they decided to start a new business together. In the basement of Emily’s store, Julia silk screens patterns onto canvas and Emily sews them together into bags, bins, pillowcases and more.
Dance Happy Design’s canvas bins come in a ton of fun patterns that are great for organizing your home by keeping all your loose items in one place. But the bins can also double as a fun upgrade for a potted plant holder. The print is made from non-toxic, eco-friendly ink and the cotton is all organic and made in small batches to reduce waste.
The celeb-loved sustainable sneaker brand from Brazil has been selling out since its launch in 2019, and garnered a 6,000-person waitlist. For good reason. Although the sneaker styles are classic, Cariuma’s ethics are new school. The vegan, carbon-neutral sneakers for both men and women uses premium natural ingredients like fair trade cotton and raw natural rubber. And for every item shipped, they purchase carbon offsets.
A white lace-up is classic for good reason. You can dress them up or easily dress them down. And you can walk with an extra pep in your step knowing that your sneakers are one of the most sustainable (and breathable!) styles out on the market today.
Cut out paper towel waste from your kitchen with these reusable Swedish dishcloths. Skoy is a female-owned business that has been revolutionizing kitchen cleanup since its launch in 2007. In addition to its classic cloths, the brand also makes a bunch of other useful, sustainable products for around the home like scouring pads and drying towels.
Go for the original with Skoy’s much-beloved classic dishcloths. They’ll completely change the way you clean up. One Skoy Cloth is equivalent to about 15 rolls of paper towels in the average home, according to the company. It’s both dishwasher and washer/dryer safe. And if the towel ever starts to smell, you can microwave it to get rid of bacteria. When you’re done with your cloth, it is 100% biodegradable when properly composted.
We all want a bit more Scandinavian style in our wardrobes. Organic Basics was founded in Copenhagen in 2015 and is completely revolutionizing the basics fashion industry. The company only makes products made from organic cotton and recycled materials. Plus, they’re transparent about their factory partners and only partner with like-minded producers. The company also runs the Organic Basics Fund, which works to help fight climate change and restore biodiversity to the world.
One of the company’s best-selling products is its leggings, equally comfortable for working out, lounging around the house or running errands. They’re made from recycled materials and have a sweat-wicking, breathable feel. (Plus, a hidden pocket on the inside!)
Canadian-based Tentree was founded in 2012 to create sustainable clothing essentials for the whole family, kids included. For every item purchased on their site, they plant 10 trees (hence the name). To date, they’ve planted more than 54 million trees and have a goal to plant 1 billion by 2030. The organization continually partners with environmental organizations and creates clothing made with ethical manufacturers and a small carbon footprint.
Not only is this t-shirt adorable and sustainably made, it actively helps rehabilitate Australia’s wildlife after last year’s devastating wildfires. The shirt is made from eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester and TENCEL, a wood pulp fiber. Proceeds from Tentree’s Australia collection will benefit rebuilding efforts in Australia’s forests over the coming years.
If you’ve ever stopped to think about the environmental impact of the everyday products around your home, Dropps could be your perfect solution. They offer subscription-based laundry pods, fabric softener, oxi booster, dryer balls and dishwasher detergent in delectable scents. They make plant-based, plastic-free products that come in compostable packaging, made without dye. Dropps will really help clean up your cleaning routine.
Dropps makes dishwasher detergent that gets your dishes squeaky clean with natural minerals. The pods make it easy to just drop right in your machine and the pod membrane instantly dissolves upon water contact, making it eco-friendly. You can choose from packs of 62, 120 or 180 pods and receive discounts when you sign up for a subscription.
LastObject is on a mission to eliminate single-use items from our homes. They’ve launched a slew of useful, reusable products like tissues and beauty rounds (to replace your cotton ones) but are most famous for making the world’s first reusable cotton swab. For every product sold in April, LastObject is giving back to the environment by planting a tree.
This is the product that started it all. This reusable swab, which is a Shop TODAY favorite, can replace 1,000 single-use cotton swabs and comes in a biodegradable carrying case. Not only will it help clean up your home, it’s the perfect thing to keep in your suitcase for when you’re traveling.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Would you try a reusable cotton swab? I did and I'm never going back to Q-tips
- From swimsuits to cleaning products, 8 eco-friendly essentials to shop
- Ditch the bottle: 7 shampoo bars that actually work