With climate change rapidly affecting our day-to-day lives, companies – including small businesses and non-profit organizations – have been taking drastic measures to reform their means of production and take steps to keep the global crisis from growing. Here are some new-age initiatives taking a stand against climate change through their products and services.
GREEN EARTH LAUNDRY
Green Earth Laundry developed three years ago when founder, Ridwan Akhter, was tired of often receiving his laundry damaged. The idea to start his own laundry store came to him when he was in Europe and stumbled upon an eco-friendly laundry concept. He was fascinated by their sustainable operation and their use of biodegradable detergents, which actually helped maintain the quality of their items.
Soon enough, Ridwan signed a contract to train with them for about a year and a half in order to launch Green Earth Laundry in Jeddah. “We trained operational managers in different sections to equip them for the business. The training took place for a year and a half,” Ridwan stated. He then added that they had finally started their operations, where they wash clothes in sustainable chemicals that don’t cause allergies or skin sensitivities.
“We also know how to differentiate and handle the more expensive garments with better care through our lux-service.”
This business is the first of its kind in the Kingdom. Other than using biodegradable chemicals, they also wash and dry their clothes at low temperatures (30- 40 degrees), which is the ideal temperature to use on garments. Green Earth has many unique attributes such as recycling their hangers, where they give their customers who do so a discount to help promote the idea. They also have an in-house tailor as an added service for their customers.
Ridwan’s advice for people aspiring to enter the sustainable business field is that “you should always consider your carbon impact when providing a good or service.”
Location: Arid Ibn Mahshi Rd., Al Zahra Dist., Jeddah.
Upcycling luxury closets
NSara and Mansoor are a Saudi- British couple introducing an improved method of buying luxury items in the Kingdom. The couple started Amused, an Instagram retail buy-and-sell page with valuable luxury pieces, from YSL shoes to Hermès handbags. The idea began when Sara started selling her items online and realized that there is a market for selling second-hand items in Saudi.
“We found that Saudi Arabia has the second-highest closet value in the world after Italy,” Sara says, noting that pieces coming from people in the Kingdom are often in great condition. “However, the fashion industry is also the world’s second-highest contributor towards environmental pollution, and some of the best-known fashion labels burn past season merchandise so they are not discounted and resold.” This is the main reason the couple strives to purchase good quality items and find them a new home, where they won’t contribute to the growing landfills.
With Amused, people can buy and sell their luxury items with ultimate transparency. “We are selective about our inventory, taking time to authenticate every item with layers of verification offered for our customers’ protection.”
Running for a Better Earth
Hejaz Ploggers started in June 2018 when founder Taha Boksmati was looking for a new eco-initiative to start in Saudi. Taha was part of a running group and loved staying active. Around the same time, he came across plogging – a mass ‘cleanup sport’ where volunteers go for a run around a designated area picking up trash to send to recycling streams in the city. It is an eco-friendly and healthy activity that was founded in Sweden.
Not only do the Hejaz Ploggers visit neighborhoods in Jeddah, but they also team up with local hiking groups to leave no trace when visiting popular hiking locations like Eagle Rock and Moon Mountain. The ploggers also collaborated with #breakfreefromplastic to get 12 different schools, colleges, and universities to raise awareness on plastic consumption and its dangers to the marine environment.
They host ‘plogging marathons’, too, encouraging participants to find recycled materials through fun activities. Taha stresses on the importance of reusing to build better environmental habits, stating that, “there is a lot of uncertainty attached to recycling nowadays because of the amount of energy lost during the process.”
Taha hopes to keep the same momentum running and is planning to expand and open up a team in Riyadh soon.
Awareness platform turned online retailer
Nouf Bannan started an online eco-awareness Instagram page where she discusses the importance of sustainability, recycling, and reusing, as well as tips on how to lead an efficiently green lifestyle. She would always recommend different reusable products people can buy and realized that many don’t know how or where to shop for such items.
She decided to start distributing reusable products on the same platform, such as bamboo products and washable cotton pads that can easily be delivered to people’s houses. She wanted to encourage people to get their hands on affordable eco-friendly products. “I wanted the price to be as low as possible, so I’m selling it at the same price I purchase the products. My platform is non-profit – the only thing I’m gaining is that people are finally using sustainable products.”
Nouf also created her own product – reusable tote bags with interesting local designs. A popular one has an Arabic recipe for Shakshuka printed on the bag. “Ever since starting this business, I realized how much people want to be sustainable and how much they are actually excited about these products.”