From the clothes we wear, to the food we eat, to the body products we use, to the products we furnish our homes with, what we make matters. Who makes it, how it’s made, and what ingredients are used matter – and can have a big impact on making a more sustainable future. Our Bay Area Made community is full of values-driven makers who take things like sustainability very seriously and don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk. For Earth Day, here we highlight ten member companies across industries that are innovators in creating earth-friendly products.
San Francisco-based Aplat is a Culinary Design Collection of thoughtful designs for sharing food and wine. Zero-waste design principles have been the foundation for their collections from day one. Since they don’t rely on elastic, metal, or plastic, their products are creatively folded and sewn to achieve optimal functionality. They carefully engineer every pattern to reduce the waste of cotton materials in the manufacturing process. Aplat is committed to a circular economy model. They use 100% GOT-certified organic cotton and locally sourced surplus fabric that otherwise would have ended up in landfills. They operate by small batch to avoid overproduction, keep quality high, ensure zero-waste manufacturing, and engineer products to last.
Gantri is the first design manufacturer of its kind, producing premium lighting in a whole new way. By manufacturing designs on-demand in the Bay Area using cutting-edge 3D printing and plant-based materials they reduce inefficiencies without sacrificing quality – less waste, better lighting. While traditional plastic may be cheap and convenient, its impact is anything but. When petroleum is processed into plastic, harmful emissions are released into the air, putting our environment and communities at risk. That’s why they created Gantri Plant Polymers, a new generation of sustainable, plant-based materials that function like plastics without negative environmental impacts.
Juniper Ridge was founded in 1998 by Hall Newbegin, whose goal was to share the restorative fragrances of the plants and trees he encountered backpacking throughout the western United States. Today, Juniper Ridge is a classic west coast home and body care brand based in the O2 Artisans Aggregate, a sustainable eco-industrial lot in Oakland. Their products are handcrafted in a way that reflects their relationship to the environment. Combining sustainably harvested flora with upcycled trees removed by forest management for fire mitigation, their essential oils are made from scratch using time-honored perfuming techniques to steam-distill essential oils. These clean, authentic oils form the basis of their hand-bottled and sustainably packaged home and body care offerings. Every year, through their Wilderness Defense Program, they donate 10% of profits or 1% of sales (whichever is greater) to organizations that fight to keep the wilderness wild.
Habitat Horticulture creates and sustains distinctive living walls and botanic installations that transform the spaces they inhabit. Founded in 2010 by horticultural pioneer and artist David Brenner, their mission is to produce awe-inspiring plant-centric spaces that cultivate and deepen our connection with nature and enliven the built environment. Driven by the belief that plant life is integral to our well-being, especially in urban settings. The name Habitat Horticulture comes from their commitment to habitat creation, not just for humans but for the flora and fauna of our overarching ecosystems. They strive for a world where the lines of architecture and nature come together and exist as one living, thriving, sustainable system.
What’s the most effective way to reduce your environmental footprint? A hint: It starts with your plate. That’s right – adjusting your diet can be better than getting solar panels, driving an electric car, or avoiding plastic straws. That’s where Impossible Foods comes in. They make delicious meat, fish, and dairy products, from plants, so you can eat what you love, and save the planet that you love. Small actions lead to big change. Eating Impossible™ Beef Made From Plants instead of beef from an animal means your environmental footprint is much lower: less land and water, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Since their founding in 1948, Heath Ceramics has always been committed to making products and running their business in ways that support the planet. Edith Heath’s earliest ceramics were designed to be fired at a lower temperature than the standard—an energy-saving practice they continue to this day. They recycle clay and water from the manufacturing process right back into the factory, and source their clay and manufacture their products in California, which keeps their carbon footprint light. All these things are just the beginning of a long list of old and new practices, which they prioritize as part of being a California Green Business and, most recently, a certified B-Corp.
Harvest & Mill
Berkeley-based Harvest & Mill makes organic cotton clothing that is exclusively grown, milled, designed, and sewn in the USA. They are rebuilding American textile supply chains with a focus on sustainable and ethical practices, working directly with USA organic cotton farmers, American Heritage Mills, the Bay Area sewing community and designers to create meaningful, sustainable, and beautiful organic cotton clothing. They use innovative processes to explore sustainable textile materials such as: Organic Heirloom Cotton varieties that naturally grow brown, green, and red thereby eliminating the need to dye textiles; working with natural dye artisans who grow or forage their own dye materials such as clay and organic indigo; and using organic dye-free and bleach-free white cotton, celebrating the beauty of raw and natural cotton.
Stella Fluorescent is a San Francisco-based design studio whose focus is on making jewelry and fashion accessories out of unconventional materials, (often) in collaboration with like-minded artisans, while employing sustainable design practices. They use organic, ethically produced, natural fibers, vintage textiles, and re-use/repurpose scraps and off-cuts into new designs. Natural dying minimizes the effect on our water system and eliminates toxic and harsh chemicals. Metal sheeting and findings are purchased from distributors that are informed about the production and source of their materials and offer transparency in their supply chains. Whenever possible they use metals that are, third party certified as ethically mined, reclaimed/recycled, and made in the USA.
For San Francisco furniture makers Fyrn, good design considers future circumstances. Which is why they’ve systematically reconsidered every aspect of how their furniture is designed, built, bought, and owned. All their chairs, stools, and tables are designed and built using their foundational part-and-pieces system that allows for minimal raw material waste, maximum strength and durability, and easy repair and refurbishment over generations. While preferences may change, the durability of their products will not. They commit to buy back items at any time for any reason. The quality, resilience and serviceability of their designs enables them to get a piece back into circulation quite easily, extending its life cycle on The Annex, their online shop for vintage finishes, seconds, restored items, and other unique Fyrn pieces.
Founded in 2017, Admiral Maltings is the first floor-malting facility in California since Prohibition and California’s only certified organic malting operation. At their 20,000 square-foot building in Alameda, which was originally a World War II-era naval dry goods facility, they employ the age-old art of traditional floor malting to turn sustainably grown grain from Northern California farmers into quality malt – the foundation of beer. They are leading the movement in California to build quality beers and spirits around fresh, local, sustainable malt. Their malt not only helps brewers make great beer, but it also enables them to operate more sustainably and to deepen their connection with local agriculture. Chances are your favorite locally crafted beer or spirit was made with Admiral malt.
Image at top of page: Designs from Heath Ceramics Summer Seasonal 2023 Collection. Experimentation is at the heart of Heath’s craft. Since 1948, they’ve been finding their way forward by following new paths. Summer Seasonal represents not only their most recent discoveries, but their historic ones, too. The collection brings archival Heath techniques to life in the present, connecting 75 years of design through glaze, form, and fire. At its center, the collection features the Landscape special technique, inspired by a glazing process that Edith Heath originally developed in the 1970s, while playing with pouring glaze onto second-quality plates. The resulting freeform layers evoke a distant view, like looking out at far-off hills or an ocean horizon.