10 Brands in the U.S. Working Towards a Plastic-Free Future

Archana Mishra
Senior Content Writer.
July 12, 2022
3
min read

Various companies in the USA have introduced sustainable alternatives to everyday products using innovative technologies. Such as plastic-free laundry detergent, coffee makers, footwear, and even plastic-free water bottles — reducing single-use plastic waste. 

Unlike other brands depending upon Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), these companies integrate zero waste into their brand's unique value proposition. Like Patagonia, sustainability is their essence, which is how their consumers recognise them. Even for a footwear brand like Po-Zu, the story is similar. 

Chances are always high that consumers will purchase a product with a particular social or environmental cause. And to reach these consumers, many companies have shifted their attention and budget to influencers. 

A motley collection of influencers promoting sustainability or eco-friendly products have the potential to create genuine interest in your brand. These influencers act as mavens in generating word of mouth and instilling trust. Influencer marketing platforms like affable.ai are equipping D2C brands to reach their target audience. 

With the world observing plastic-free July, let's look at some of these purpose-driven brands and their unique concepts. 

Unique plastic-free companies in the U.S.A

1. Apeel

Image taken from the plastic-free brand, Apeel's website
Apeel


Founding Year
:  2012 

California-based Apeel's mission is to reduce plastic over-packaging and food waste. Apeel is a vegan powder made of all plant-derived materials like lipids and glycerolipids extracted from peels, seeds and pulp of fruits and vegetables.

Its coating on the fruits and vegetables locks the moisture inside and reduces oxidation. It helps to keep the product fresh two to three times longer. When mixed with water, the powder appears colourless, and it is odourless and tasteless.

Currently, Apeel avocados are available at major US grocery stores. The company initially started through a grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But now, Apeel is developing products for dozens of USDA Organic certified and is regarded as safe by the FDA.

2. Allbirds

Image from plastic-free brand, Allbirds website, showing their product range
Allbirds


Founding Year:
2014 

Allbirds uses plant-based leather made from eucalyptus fibre for footwear and apparel. Their SweetFoam is a shoe sole material made from plant-based leather. It uses castor oil for layering, and merino wool gives a cushiony, moisture-wicking, and odour-reducing sole.

The San Francisco -based company also mixes a certain proportion of recycled synthetic to strengthen natural material content. But the brand is innovating around new technologies to increase the performance and longevity of natural raw materials and become completely plastic-free. 

Allbirds has teamed up with Adidas to create ultralight running shoes. As a part of their marketing strategy, they worked with lifestyle influencers and ran a campaign with actress Lindsay Lohan using their products. 

3. JUST Water

Image from JUST Water, a plastic-free brand in US creatinf infused water
JUST Water


Founding Year:
2012 

JUSTWater, started by Drew FitzGerald and Jaden Smith, offers spring and flavoured water infused with lemon, watermelon, blackberry, and mint in a plant-based carton. Wondering how they can store water in a carton?

The company, headquartered in NewYork, sources plant-based plastics derived from sugarcane, soy and switchgrass to reduce the carbon footprint released using petroleum oil. Their cartons have 74% less carbon emissions than a plastic bottle of a similar size.  

An aluminium layer within the interior of the packaging retains freshness and protects cartons. But as they claim, the coating is thinner than the width of a human hair and can recycle aluminium infinitely. 

Going a step ahead, this plastic-free company uses biomass to power its production unit. And also use a scientific method called Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to gauge the environmental benefits of particular packaging.

4. Patagonia

Image from Patagonia's website, a plastic-free brand
Patagonia


Founding year:
1973

Save Our Home Planet  is the mission of Ryan Gellert, Patagonia’s  CEO as he tries to use his business to combat climate change. Outdoor clothing retailer, Patagonia, is vocal about environmental issues. 

The company has partnered with Bureo, a California-based company that repurposes discarded fishing nets into NetPlus material. 

Patagonia has used over 525 tons of plastic collected in fishing communities in South America to make hat brims, jackets and shorts. It has even replaced neoprene rubber with natural rubber to reduce the use of Petroleum-based oil in its wetsuits by 85%.

It also uses synthetic and natural fibres made from discarded clothes, limiting the dependence on raw materials and reducing carbon emissions. By 2025, the company plans to make its packaging 100% reusable, home compostable, renewable and easily recyclable. 

Being in the industry for so long, the company knows how to engage its target audience. Patagonia works with influencers who are into outdoor activities to create brand awareness in some regions. 

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5. Cometeer

Image from the website of the plastic-free brand, Cometeer
Cometeer


Founding year: 2015


Massachusetts-based Cometeer has a unique concept to offer authentic coffee -  frozen liquid coffee in aluminium capsules. Cometeer's plastic-free coffee does not compromise with taste.  

Each capsule has a 24 -month shelf life. Once opened, they maintain peak flavour for up to 24 hours at room temperature or 3 days in the refrigerator. 

Once used, it is easy to just drop them in the recycling, and their packaging and shipping materials are also recyclable. According to Matt Roberts, CEO,  Cometeer, the capsule is made same alloy used for beer and soda cans. The company had to delay its product launch by almost a year to ensure capsules are fully recyclable.  To be more eco-friendly, they also send all spent grinds from their coffee to a local composting company. 

The company has already worked with chefs and all-star-athletes to create buzz about the product. Wanting to revolutionize the $400-billion coffee market globally, it is also taking influencer marketing into account and has conducted unboxing on TikTok and worked with communities on Twitter and YouTube. 

6. Ecoegg 

Image showing the product of ecoegg
Ecoegg


Founding  Year: 2008

Started in the UK, Ecoegg is a replacement for laundry detergent and fabric conditioner. Keeping the environment at the forefront, Ecoegg reduces the single plastic equivalent of buying 20 bottles of detergent and fabric softener each year.

This plastic-free laundry detergent contains mineral pellets and no harmful chemicals. It comes in a recyclable case, while pellets do not have any palm oil, parabens, petrochemicals, phosphates or microplastics.

This cost-effective, low-cost per wash is currently being sold in over 1000 retail locations across the US and 48 countries. They offer laundry and dryer egg bundles, ecoegg washing machine cleaner tablets and refill fragrance sticks for ecoegg dryer eggs. 

7. Dispatch Goods

Image from Dispatch goods website
Dispatch Goods


Founding Year: 2019


Ever wondered how much single-use plastic we use in a month while ordering food from restaurants. Dispatch Goods, a San Francisco-based company, has introduced an innovative food delivery model to curb plastic usage. The company partners with restaurants in San Francisco, East Bay and North Bay to deliver food in reusable packaging. 

So if anyone orders from the partner restaurants, they can look for the dispatch goods menu. The company will deliver food in mason jars, freezer packs, steel containers and plastic-free bags. To schedule the home collection of boxes, you can scan the QR code on the containers. On the defined collection date, users can leave the rinsed containers for collection in front of their homes, and Dispatch Goods can pick them up. 

This female-founded logistics company has saved over 620,123 items from entering the waste streams since 2020.

8. Ecologic 

Image showing ecologic's plastic-free bottles
Ecologic


Founding Year:
2008 

Ecologic manufactures paper bottles made from 100% recycled material. Reusable, water-resistant and customisable, these bottles are made of cardboard and newspaper pulp. It is an award-winning product for its advanced innovation in sustainable packaging.

The bottles are unique because the plastic lining, which is 70% less than the traditional bottles, has an outer layer of pulp remoulded to give stability and protection. Therefore, it requires optimal recycling. The packaging does not include adhesive to lock the fibre shell and the plastic.

Remove the tape at the top of the bottle to recycle the product. You will have to insert your thumb into the side seam of the bottle to separate the shells. Then remove and rinse the liner and recycle the components into respective streams.

9. Po-Zu 

Image showing po-zu's plastic-free shoe range
Po-Zu


Founding Year: 2006 


Po-Zu uses the material - Pinatex - sourced from the discarded leaves of the pineapple plant. The company, aiming to go completely plastic free, directly works with the farmers in the Philippines to create a low-water usage and low production waste technique to manufacture footwear.  

Lightweight and environment-friendly, Pinatex is an alternative to genuine leather. Another product, FRUMAT, is made from apple skin mixed with polyurethane mixture to give flexibility, durability, and a luxurious leather look and feel. But it is partially biodegradable due to the plastic content. 

Po-Zu uses cork, a natural material harvested from the bark of the Cork Oak Tree, to provide bounce and flexibility underfoot. Their unique foot pillow technology also uses coir extracted from coconut husk. It alleviates pressure points, and its antibacterial properties prevent odour. 

10. Alter-Eco 

Image from alter-eco's website showing greenery
Alter-Eco


Founding Year: 2005

Alter-Eco offers a wide range of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, vegan, keto, paleo and gluten-free in a plastic-free packaging. Also, organic granola, quinoa, chocolate, nut butter bombs and truffle thins. But what makes them unique is their compostable wrappers. In 2016, they launched the first commercially compostable pouch for its quinoa line, winning an award for most innovative packaging. 

Their truffle wrappers derived from eucalyptus and birch are commercially compostable. Also, their Chocolate bars are wrapped in recyclable aluminium foil and FSC-certified paper. In 2019, they transitioned from a non-recyclable plastic pouch to a recyclable paper box.

Summary


Innovation in making plastic-free products is the need of the hour. But more importantly, informing people about these unique products can be a game-changer. Influencers are the connecting link between brands and consumers and can help educate people about these products. It will help brands gain loyal customers but promote the more significant cause resonating with a larger audience, including boomers, millennials and GenZ.

To learn more about influencer marketing, try affable.ai for free!

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