7 Companies to Support on Earth Day
These outdoor industry brands are doing something every day to be more sustainable.
If you’ve noticed all your favorite ski resorts making major moves to gear up for summer, it’s no coincidence. With so many bad snow seasons in the past few years, the threat climate change is posing to the sport is too serious to keep ignoring, and many resorts are turning to summer ventures to stay profitable as winters get shorter.
But for all the bad news about the climate, there are some good bits, too. These seven companies are working hard to reduce their environmental impact, and help you reduce yours, too.
With the release of its new Phantom permanent base coat treatment this year, DPS has changed the waxing game forever. Actually, it’s more accurate to say they’ve pretty much ended it. This PFC-free formula—free of the greenhouse gases you normally find in wax—only needs to be applied to your skis one time. Yes, you read that correctly: One application for the life of your skis. No re-waxing needed, ever. Not only does this cut down on the materials used to make wax, it also reduces the amount of harmful chemicals that end up in waterways from waxy residue left on the snow.
Europeans have long been ahead of the U.S. when it comes to sustainability in product design. Fjällräven—which means “arctic fox” in Swedish—has committed to going fully PFC-free by 2020, and they’re well on their way. Fjällräven’s tents are made without PFCs or toxic flame retardants, which have been proven to cause health issues in humans. Their waterproof jackets, like the Keb Eco-Shell, are made of soft, stretchy fabric with no PFCs and long zips for breathability.
Photo courtesy of Fjallraven.
3. Aspen Ski Company
Aspen Ski Company has a lofty goal: “To stay in business forever.” To them, that means being good stewards of the environment in order to protect winter. The resort company has a rigorous environmental policy to reduce waste, greenhouse gases, and water use, improve efficiency in transportation, compost food scraps from its restaurants, and more. Aspen Ski Company also works hand-in-hand with Protect Our Winters—Sustainability Vice President Auden Schendler is chairman of their board.
Photo courtesy of Aspen Skiing Company.
Is your shell wetting out? Are your feet starting to feel clammy inside your boots? Don’t toss them. Fix your waterproof gear on your own with Nikwax’s technical waterproofing washes, which restore the DWR (durable water repellent) coatings to keep them beading water like they’re brand-new. All of Nikwax’s products are PFC-free, and have been since the creation of the company.
Photo courtesy of Nikwax.
5. Guppy Friend
That fleece you’re wearing is likely hiding a dirty little secret: When you put it in the washing machine, it sheds tiny plastic fibers that end up in the ocean, hurting marine life. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how this happens and how to stop it, but in the meantime, there’s something you can do to keep your house from contributing to the problem. The Guppy Friend mesh washing bag captures those fibers before they get into your washing machine and travel into the water system. Simply put your fleece and polyester layers in the bag, zip it up, and toss fibers in the trash after washing. Patagonia is currently the exclusive U.S. distributor of GuppyFriend. (They also get some serious eco cred of its own for their long-standing tradition of repairing clothes even after decades of use. Just bring your PataGucci layers into their shop for a repair, or trade in your good-condition clothes for a store credit toward an upgrade.)
Photo courtesy of Patagonia.
Cotopaxi reuses as much of its materials as possible. Their Teca windbreakers are entirely upcycled from excess fabric for their Sueño sleeping bags, and many of their daypacks are made from scrap fabric, too. But Cotopaxi is also out to help you save water. They all but forbid you from washing their Libre sweaters, made from soft llama wool with a perforated back panel to regulate your temperature while you’re skinning up or skiing down. Llama wool doesn’t hold on to odors like your polyester layers do, which means you can go five, 10, 20, even 30 (or more) wears between washes. Trust us on this one—we’ve tried it. Just hang it up to air it out overnight, and you’re good to go.
Photo courtesy of Cotopaxi.
If ever there were a perfect après shoe, it’s the Glerup felt wool slipper. Shoes are usually made of so much relative garbage, at least from the environment’s perspective, but Glerups have essentially two main, simple ingredients: wool felt and natural rubber or calfskin soles. They mold to your feet within a few wears for a perfect fit, and they keep your toes toasty no matter the slopeside weather.
Photo courtesy of Glerups.
Mast Image photo courtesy of Ian Provo.