Environmental Alternatives on a College Budget

Photo of Regrained Bars, Stasherbag, Pela Case, Natural Home Brands Bamboo Plate, and Sunski Glasses by Sophie Babka

It’s time to make the switch! Environmental alternatives not only exist, but they’re really freaking cool! Below is a list of environmentally woke companies that partnered with the Leaflet to make environmental alternatives more affordable for someone on a college budget. These 6 companies that are doing their best to shake up the market by producing products that are creatively tackling environmental issues!


Photo by ReGrained

ReGrained is a Bay Area company that’s creatively tackling the issue of food waste through beer! When beer is brewed the leftover grain is usually just tossed aside. Instead of letting that happen, ReGrained recovers this grain and ~upcycles~ it into delicious granola bars! They have upcycled 50,000 pounds of grain that otherwise would’ve gone to waste!

Plus ReGrained is trying to do more than just tackle food waste and is looking at alternatives to reduce packaging waste. ReGrained has been testing options for compostable plastic packaging and helping lead the charge on development of viable compostable plastic packaging options.

They have three super tasty flavors; Honey Cinnamon IPA, Chocolate Coffee Stout, and Blueberry Sunflower Saison. Not only do they focus on food waste recovery, but they’re B corp certified and they give back to 1% for the Planet!!!! And don’t worry: for better or for worse, there’s no actual beer in these bars, just the beer grains.

PROMO CODE: GOBEERS for  15% off

2. Natural Home Brands

Photo of molded bamboo with natural plant based binders by Natural Home Brands Instagram

It’s time to start thinking about more than just eliminating single use plastic and talk about all plastic! A lot of household items are made out of plastic and other non-sustainable resources. Natural Home Brands has created sustainable, credible, and innovative products that are petroleum, polyolefin, and BPA free. Natural Home Brands cares about sustainability starting from its raw materials to the finished product and the packaging they use. Look at the picture above. It looks like plastic, feels like plastic (can personally confirm), but it isn’t! These kitchen items are made from pesticide-free molded bamboo. Bamboo is a sustainable resource that is pesticide-free, moisture-resistant (prevents germ and bacteria growth-yuck), won’t scratch your pans, and is a rapidly regenerating resource (bamboo reaches full maturity in just 4 years), unlike wood. Bamboo is also stronger and more durable than wood alternatives and will not break, split, swell, or absorb funky odors or moisture. They also sell other eco-friendly kitchen and cleaning gadgets, such as stainless steel compost bins, reusable sponges, and glass reusable straws!

PROMO CODE: BERK25 for 25% off

3. Sunski

Photo by Sunski

Pass on the over-priced designer glasses and support a SF-based sunglasses company that aligns with your values! Sunski is a company that produces stylish sunglasses made from recycled plastics. Instead of letting these plastics go to the landfill, Sunski takes the plastic resin and makes amazing different frames to fit everyone’s needs. All of their lens are polarized, comfortable, and they also contribute to 1% For the Planet!!

PROMO CODE: bearski for 15% off

4. Stasher

Photo by Stasher bag Instagram

It’s 2019, and if you’re still using plastic bags for your snacking needs, it’s time to make some big life changes!

Stasher’s mission is to provide a viable and reusable alternative to disposable plastic baggies. These bags are amazing! They are made from platinum silicone which is derived from sand and are 100% BPA and plastic free. They seal shut, can hold wet items, and are air tight so your snacks wont get stale! They are heat resistant, great for the freezer, microwavable (unreal), and come in a plethora of pretty colors and sizes. This bags are one of my favorite reusable items and a great step towards reducing your plastic waste! Stasher also advocates for the plastic free movement and you can sign the Plastic-Free Pledge on their website! They’re are also a B corp and donate to 1% for the Planet.

PROMO: Stasherlife for 20% off

5. Sustain ;)

Photo by Sustain Instagram

5. Sustain 😉

“Have you ever thought about what you’re putting in your vagina?” Sustain has! A lot of products like tampons and condoms contain harmful chemicals that aren’t good for you or the earth, but Sustain is committed to making products that are better and safer for both. Their products contain no animal by products, synthetic materials, parabens, nor synthetic fragrances. There tampons are made of organic cotton, but they also sell period cups (WTF is a period cup?) as a more sustainable option! They are also a B Corp!

PROMO CODE: berkeley15 for 15% off!

6. Pela Case

Photo by Pela’s Instagram

6. Pela Case

Pela is on a mission to keep 1 BILLION pounds of plastic from being created. Every year 1 billion plastic phone cases are sold, that’s why Pela created the world’s first compostable phone case. Pela’s cases are made of recycled materials, and flax straw fibers, an upcycled byproduct of oilseed harvest. A ton of cases get tossed every year as new model phones are created and the case becomes unusable, contributing to the large issue of ocean plastic pollution. Pela has decided to seek change and created compostable certified cases that are lead, cadmium, BPA, and phthalates free. They also recently launched a zero-waste liquid screen protector that you apply to your phone. Pela also contributes to 1% for the Planet and donate 5% of their special collection case sales (not just profit!) directly to the organizations they partner with such as Save the Waves, Surfrider, and Oceana!

PROMO CODE: PELAFAM20 for 20% off!

The above companies are a great way to start shopping more sustainably, but here’s what else to look out for when you do your shopping.

  1. Packaging: Look for items with minimal packaging, recyclable packaging, and items themself that are able to be reused or recycled after your done with their use.  
  2. 1% for the Planet: Look for companies that give back! Companies that contribute to 1% for the Planet have committed to giving back 1% of their sales to the environment, regardless of their profitability. This organization commits its members to high-impact nonprofit partners that align with the company’s values. They help companies give charitable to causes they care about! Look for this logo when you shop!
Photo by Soul Surf Travel
  1. Certified B Corporations: Being a B corporation means your business cares more than just selling and maximizing profit. To be B corp certified they must legally consider the impacts their companies has on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and environment. These companies must factor in more than their private profit interests and are working to create products that have the highest standards for verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. Look for the B corp logo when you shop!
Photo By B corporation Facebook

Don’t buy what you don’t need: I personally am super excited about transitioning everything I own to more sustainable alternatives! However, if what I have already purchased is doing its job, then there’s no need to buy what you don’t need. Overconsumption and excessive purchasing is part of the problem that has lead to depletion of natural resources and excess waste in the first place. Purchase only the items that you need to replace and items that serve a purpose. Shop consciously, think about what you really need, and consume responsibly!

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