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Looking for greener goods?
Local companies and products with an eco emphasis
There's more to green products than just an official-looking emblem on the packaging. Ingredients get top consideration — and buzzwords include organic, sustainable, renewable and recycled. Yet not everything that's dubbed "eco-chic" by advertisers is automatically earth-friendly. For example, wood is a renewable resource, but exotic species are not always harvested sustainably. Corn-based products are biodegradable, but what about the environmental impacts of growing corn? And then there's the matter of shipping: Even goods that are produced in the most environmentally responsible manner get blacklisted when their carbon footprints grow large because of the fossil fuel burned in bringing them a long way to consumers.
So you want to do right by the earth, but you don't want to handcraft all your gifts from tree bark and dried grass, right? Here's a roundup of locally made items that may not come with a "Certified Organic" stamp but are green due to their local sourcing, natural and nontoxic ingredients, and creative reuse or "upcycling" of materials. Though far from complete, the list provides an idea of what's available:
• Honeywear, based in Alexander, N.C., was a finalist in the 2008 Forbes.com "Boost Your Business" contest, and was named among the business magazine's top-five small-company picks in the annual competition. Working with local sewing company Sewlink, Honeywear's Christen Ward manufactures the Baby Bee Sling baby carrier. She's also launching a line of locally manufactured children's clothing. All products are made of organic cotton and silk.
Honeywear is now out of business. They lasted approx. 2 years.