On April 22, 192 countries around the world will celebrate Earth Day, an international event that first started in 1970 to raise awareness about environmental issues. In the decades that followed the first Earth Day, rising concern about pollution and global climate change has made “going green” a popular and worthy cause for both individuals and companies.
Below, we highlight some of America’s most creative small businesses that are building thriving (and prosperous) green businesses.
North Carolina might not be the first place you think of for award-winning clean energy startups, such as Piedmont Biofuels. After all, the state is nicknamed the “Tar Heel” state. But then, what’s in a name?
Based in Pittsboro, Piedmont uses cooking oil it purchases from local restaurants to manufacture clean fuel for its commercial customers. It also operates two laboratories and actively researches new alternative fuel technologies.
Founder Rachel Burton was presented with the Biodiesel Researcher of the Year in 2011, and Piedmont was recognized in the environmental category last year by the international non-profit B Corporation as part of the organization’s annual “Best for the World” awards, which honor companies with the biggest social and environmental impacts.
Once an insult, might “trashy” become a desirable fashion? Making clothing out of recycled material is a hot new environmental trend, and Maine-based Atayne is a perfect example of a company that’s dedicated to making clothes from recycled and organic material. Founded in 2007, Atayne makes sustainable fitness gear for the general public out of its earth-friendly fabrics
In recent years, several larger brands have begun offering their own versions of eco-friendly apparel. Last year Adidas made headlines when the company joined forces with Parley for the Oceans to craft shoes made out of recycled ocean trash. In 2015, H&M launched its global recycle initiative that asks consumers to turn in old clothes at participating stores so they can be turned into new fashion.
A company called IceStone is giving the manufacturing sector a boost in New York – and it’s doing it in the greenest way possible. The eco-friendly company creates sustainable kitchen and bathroom countertops from recycled glass.
Since 2003, the company has managed to divert approximately 13 million pounds of glass from landfills, and has received several awards for its hard work, including the New York School of Interior Design’s Green Design Award. The company’s products were also displayed as part of the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial in 2010.