11 Eco-Friendly Plant-Based Brands to Buy From This Earth Month
Recent research reveals that eating plant-based is better for the environment for a number of reasons. Still, food production inherently causes environmental stress—from packaging to transport and more. The good news is, there are a number of brands that are not just “eco-friendly” but truly “eco-first,” meaning they are built and operated with the environment in mind. Since as shoppers and consumers we vote with our wallets, when you buy from sustainable brands, you are voting for a product ecosystem that puts the planet first.
Eating plant-based is already a great step in the conscious consumerism journey; what’s also important is making that effort to do the research, look into company practices and values from the ingredients they use, how they source and how they package. Most companies who are eco-first will tell you and convey it on their website, labels, and social media so you can see through any “greenwashing” that might be occurring. As we celebrate Earth Month with awareness and action, we’re rounding up some of those do-gooder environment-first brands that are good for both human and environmental health—not just during this month, but all year round.
1. Planet Protein
Finally, a plant-based protein with sustainability truly at its core… and that tastes delicious while being nutritious. Not only does Planet Protein responsibly source all organic, non-GMO ingredients, it has also ditched the plastic scooper and created a zero-waste packaging program to ensure waste doesn’t enter the landfills and the oceans. Plus, for each bag of Chocolate Magic protein powder purchased, one tree is planted through partner charity One Tree Planted. It also offers a functional glass and bamboo lid drink container. “We believe sustainability is not a goal, but a mindset, reflected in our daily choices and actions,” says the company. Planet Protein proves that a company can taste good while doing good for the mind, body, and planet.
2. Eat the Change
Eat the Change mushroom jerky is crafted using all parts of the mushroom, even the wonky parts that are just as delicious, in an effort to combat food waste which is currently responsible for 6 percent of global greenhouse emissions. Also, since the products are dehydrated, shelf life goes from lasting 1-2 weeks to 12 months, also aiding food waste elimination. Eat the Change this month launched the #incrEDIBLEplanetchallenge in partnership with brands like Beyond Meat, Miyoko’s Creamery, Ripple Foods, S’well, and more which is focused on addressing the issues of climate change, food waste, and health through social media collaboration, awareness, and advocacy. “The event leading up to Earth Day [is] designed to educate on the idea that our food consumption choices represent our single biggest daily opportunity to change our environmental footprint—think changes as simple swapping in plant milk for your morning cereal, or repurposing leftovers to make another delicious meal,” the company explains.
ZENB is a plant-powered brand on a mission to make plant-based food the center of everyday lives through mindful food production and consumption. The brand started with making energy-bar-like snacks using the whole vegetable, skin, seeds, stems, and all, so nothing goes to waste. After seeing how much food waste ends up in landfills, ZENB wanted to use the whole plant to help eliminate waste in their production since food waste is the number one item that ends up in landfills in the US. The company also now offers a new gluten-free ZENB Pasta made entirely from yellow peas—a power-house ingredient that is environmentally friendly and low-carbon footprint crop.
These days there is an abundance of plant-based milk you can choose to replace dairy counterparts as a better environmental choice. One plant milk you may have not have heard of is pistachio milk—and Tache is an eco-minded brand bringing pistachio milk to you. Tache uses the lower-water crop to make milk while also utilizing sustainable and recyclable cartons. With a shelf life of 12 months and recyclable packaging, the brand aims to be environmentally friendly at every turn.
Vitamins that you eat? Yes, please. GEM takes a ‘food as functional medicine’ approach making plant-based and minimally processed vitamins and foods. From GEM's Daily Essential Bites, Immunity Bites, and Sleep Bites, the brand packs intentional nutrients into tasty bites. Because these bites have a primary base of algae, GEM supports a carbon-neutral, eco-positive food system. What’s more, the packaging system is designed to eliminate single-use plastics with recyclable, compostable, and reusable containers.
6. Urban Remedy
This eco-conscious nutrient-rich food company makes certified organic ready-to-eat snacks, meals, and cold-pressed juices while also doing its part—and asking its customers to help by recycling. Their packaging is 100% recyclable – including bottle lids and labels, and all of their bottles and food containers are made from recycled plastic—shipping boxes are also 100% recyclable and made from a minimum of 65% recycled kraft paper. “Good food is also good to the planet,” the company says. “We strive to make each offering low glycemic, anti-inflammatory, and food that truly nourishes every cell in your body.”
Hard kombucha, an alcoholic drink, is growing in popularity for a good reason: it’s packed with probiotics and often has adaptogens, antioxidants, and more. Boochcraft, a popular hard kombucha maker, continues to lead the way in creating better-for-you adult beverages while also doing good for the planet. Boochcraft maintains that sustainability is non-negotiable, and that’s why the brand puts the planet’s best interest at the heart of everything it does. From composting 100% of fruit scraps, tea, herbs, SCOBYs (the culture used in the kombucha fermentation process), and more. This program diverts waste from local landfills and turns it into organic compost for local farmers and gardeners. Boochcraft also installed a water recapture resulting in savings of over 1000 gallons of freshwater per day. The brand also donates to the organization 1 Percent For The Planet to nonprofits that support environmental sustainability.
8. Buddha Beans
There are a number of coffee companies sourcing ethically, and trying to lessen the environmental impact of its product. Buddha Beans, a Los Angeles-based company does just that, plus a few additional novel things including infusing its beans with CBD. It also stays environmentally-minded ensuring its entire supply chain is kept 100% vegan and all packaging is recyclable. Roasting and infusing all coffee in-house allows them to have complete control over raw material input and the roast profile. The final product is a rich a flavorful clean vegan brew that’s always third-party lab-tested to ensure quality in every roast. For a local and boutique coffee-bean experience give Buddha Beans a whirl. (And make sure to compost your coffee grinds!)
9. Hear Me Raw
By 2050 researchers estimate that there will be more plastic than fish, by weight, in the ocean. Per capita, the US has the highest plastic consumption in the world. Look around your bathroom to see just how prevalent plastic is in our everyday products. Hear Me Raw is one company trying to combat this issue with glass reusable bottles and refillable pods. This skincare brand focuses on mindful packaging and also the ingredients that go into its glass jars to help nourish and improve your skin’s health with raw plant ingredients. “For your skin and for the world, make every day Earth Day,” the company reminds. Plus, during Earth Month Hear Me Raw is having a 50 percent off sale when you use code EARTH50.
Lip health on the mind? Noyah is an organic lip care brand that specializes in lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms, and food-grade cosmetics that are both eco-friendly and sustainable made with ingredients that are found in kitchens instead of cosmetic plants. Noyah’s tasteful lip care is made with natural ingredients and minerals like Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, and skin-protecting Vitamin E for ultimate hydration. Note that some products use beeswax so while not all products are officially vegan, they are cruelty-free, certified organic, and made in the US. Noyah’s Lipsticks come in 10 colors with a chic eco-friendly bamboo packaging to help use less plastic.
Hand sanitizers are not going away anytime soon. In fact, it might just be one of those staples that are here to stay to help keep us clean and healthy. Most sanitizers in those single-use plastic containers are wasteful. Instead, reach for OLIKA, as the brand passes on single-use plastics, and encourages customers to keep their OLIKA (which is super stylish as well) and refill.