Sustainability & Environmental Responsibility
We refuse to make products at the expense of the environment, that's why we've created high-quality eco-alternatives to replace unsustainable products that we use every day. You may have noticed a trend lately.. In the past few decades (or longer), manufacturers have started to make very disposable products out of relatively permanent materials. For example: Plastic Water Bottles. It takes, on average, 5 minutes to drink a bottle of water, which then takes, on average, 500 years to decompose (and oftentimes ends up in our oceans). That's exactly what we are fighting against as a brand and here are a few ways that we do it..
Bamboo, aka Earth's most eco-friendly resource.
Bamboo acts like a super-powered air filter, taking carbon from the atmosphere during photosynthesis in the form of carbon dioxide and putting it back in the ground where it remains “captured” and out of our atmosphere. Plants capture more carbon when they grow, so faster growing plants are able to capture more carbon than others that grow more slowly.
Bamboo is actually a grass and grows, on average, 5-10 times faster than trees, produces more lumber, and cleans more of the planet in the process.
Since bamboo is a grass, it is able to regrow extremely fast because it doesn’t have to completely regrow its root system, unlike trees.
Vermont Natural Coatings
Our society has resigned to this notion that our cleaning and finishing products need to contain all sorts of awful chemicals in order for them to be effective. The truth is, chemicals became a substitute for good ol' fashioned engineering and brain power. Luckily, that is coming back and we are starting to see a variety of products that are not only very effective but aren't harmful to our bodies or the environment.
Switching to VNC was a big step for us. We have been testing finishes for our bamboo since early 2010 and never really got what we wanted. We wouldn't be happy until we found a finish that protected our products and went easy on the environment. Then we stumbled upon Vermont Natural Coatings and our prayers were answered. VNC is an example of hard work and creative thinking gone right. VNC products are made from Whey Protein, a byproduct of the cheese-making process. Said Whey Protein is also collected from an organic dairy farm in Vermont (a small family operation with very happy cows). Not only are their products the best quality out of all of the finishes we've ever tested, they also happen to be the most earth-friendly.
Limiting our Waste
A great way to create less waste is to use less stuff. We do that a number a ways..
Re-purposed boxes & recycled packing material: It is the case with most manufacturers that many used shipping boxes arrive in great condition.. we just reuse them. If someone gave you a mint-condition bike that had been ridden once, would you throw it away? Nah. We do the same with packing materials. If we need to use new stuff, we use recycled Kraft paper but we generally use a mixture of Kraft paper and packing foam sheets, bubble wrap, etc. that we have gathered. (Rest assured that it is all clean.)
Minimalist Shipping - Shipping efficiently makes sense for everyone. Less box volume means fewer trucks/planes. Small boxes means cheaper shipping. We have recently replaced our Long Mounting Bar with 2 Short Mounting Bars, this gives customers more control over how far apart they mount their cradles and has shrunken our box size by almost 40%.
Biodegradable Hardware Bags - They look like plastic. They feel like plastic. They... are 100% recyclable and will biodegrade when you put them in the ground.
Bamboo Spacers - Our entire Mounting System relies on our spacers and Mounting Bar, we engineered it that way. However when we launched the brand we were using small plastic spacers. This one was a no-brainer, our spacers are now more stable and are made of bamboo that would otherwise be unusable scrap material..
Grassracks' "Zero Waste" Initiative
After we manufacture our products, we are left with some 'drop' pieces of perfectly good material. In an effort to get our waste as close to zero as possible, we have begun to use these drop pieces in a few different ways.
1. Bodhi Life - Much of our scrap is taken by Bodhi Life and made into awesome, wearable accessories like rings, bow ties, and more. We were always quite taken with bamboo but Bodhi has gone above and beyond to show us just how amazing this material really is (and their mission to save the world is pretty great, too). Bodhi also turns some scrap pieces into gorgeous handcrafted wall art and home decor to commemorate some of the greatest animals and places that define our planet.
2. Nubbins - Oh yes, our Nubbins. At first a way to use up pieces of bamboo that were too small for the rest of our racks, our Nubbins have quickly become a customer favorite and an incredibly low profile, minimalistic way to store skis, snowboards, and almost anything that can hang.