While I know that we often speak of reducing our need for “things” at ELCA World Hunger, I can’t help but get inspired by people and companies who are creating cool, socially conscious products. For me, it’s very hopeful to see businesses take the initiative to produce items with a positive purpose. So I am going to briefly highlight a few products that I’ve come across in recent months that have caught my attention. I hope that you find them inspiring as well, but as always, please only buy something if you need it!

Eco Design Bicycle – Trek:

While I already think that the idea of commuting via bike is very eco-&-health-friendly as reduced emissions, fattened wallets and physical health are all by-products, this bike goes one step further. It features sustainably harvested rubber tires and can be disassembled for your recycling bin.

Recycled Clothes – Patagonia:

The outdoor clothing company Patagonia produces recycled clothing through their Common Threads Recycling Program. Customers can drop-off worn out clothing items in a store or through the mail, these then get recycled into new clothes to be bought later! What a fabulous circle. Check out their site to learn which types of fabrics are currently being accepted for recycling.

Self-filtering “Water Bobble”:

This fresh twist on a reusable water bottle has a built-in carbon filter. Fill up its recycled plastic bottle with tap water and squeeze filtered water into your mouth! This is a great option for the person who is still leery of accepting the challenge of quitting their bottled water habits.

111 Navy Chair – Coca-Cola/Emeco/DWR:

How do you feel about sitting on Coke bottles? This plastic version of the classic 1006 Navy Chair is made with 111 recycled Coca-Cola bottles. If you’re an avid soda pop drinker, make sure to recycle those bottles, and consider these design chairs should your dining set head for the free-cycle.

Power of the Invisible Sun coffee table book:

When you buy this book – featuring photography from philanthropist Bobby Sager – you’re also giving life lessons and hope to children around the world. The book funds the Hope is a Game-Changer Project, which provides indestructible soccer balls to children in war-torn countries. There, sport is used to teach life skills while the balls provide a sense of hope for the future because no one can deflate them, they will always be there.

So why write about these products here on the hunger blog? Hunger’s root causes involve poverty, war, access to clean drinking water and climate change. Each of these products in one way or another addresses these issues. Also, they are a great example of the recycling circle: Reduce (Water Bobble, Eco Design Bicycle), Reuse (indestructible soccer balls) and Recycle (111 Navy Chair, Common Threads Recycling Program). When we make the choice to purchase an item it will have environmental and social consequences…so I think it’s very cool when I see people and companies aspiring to make those consequences a little more positive. Perhaps none of these examples are perfect, but I’m a firm believer that they are a step in the right direction.

Do you have any favorite eco-friendly or socially conscious examples of products that inspire or interest you? Please share!

~Lana Lile