From biodegradable dog-poo bags to hemp-made sponges, Mahwah-based online green retailer Give A Green Bag has something green for everyone.
"Give A Green Bag offers affordable high quality earth friendly solutions for everyday products," says company founder Suzanne Lippe.
The Mahwah resident was inspired by environmental changes around her to create the website, which was launched in 2008.
"Making environmental changes within my home prompted me to begin Give A Green Bag. Green products often cost more money. I set out to find affordable substitutions. As a baby-boomer, I also felt responsible for the pollution worldwide. We need to become more active by acting locally and thinking globally."
Give A Green Bag aims to be socially conscious through fair trade practices.
"Part of renewing the planet is treating the people who live here with care and respect. As a fair trade practitioner, we treat the living and working conditions of all employees with the utmost importance. All vendors and suppliers of Give A Green Bag have been chosen because they too demand equality in the workplace."
The company’s fair trade practices also reach out to other developing countries throughout the world.
"We aim to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions and promote sustainability. We advocate the payment of a higher price to producers as well as exceeding social and environmental standards. We encourage education and invest in projects that promote improvement to areas without proper facilities."
Give A Green Bag is a member of both the Better Business and Green Business Bureaus, which certifies the accountability of green businesses. Lippe says she wants to assure consumers that her business is not only sustainable but ethical as well.
"Our suppliers have been chosen because they hold the same high standards that we do. Suppliers with green and fair trade certification move to the top of the list.”
"Being involved in an environmental cause entails commitment and dedication. Our pursuits of 'green certifications' like Fair Trade Federation and Green America have informed how we approach business decisions."
Social networking also enforces Lippe's ethical approach to business.
"We utilize social media like Twitter and Facebook to familiarize ourselves with our customers, allowing an open discussion to occur between producer and consumer."
Lippe says that Give A Green Bag is not a business just trying to “cash in on the environmental trend.”
"Any business can call them green, and many do, which is unfortunate for customers. Like shoppers, we are approached by vendors trying to sell thier products. The only way to truly know what you're buying is to do the research and find out where it comes from."
At Give A Green Bag, the future is always a greener one.
"Going green is only the first step. Our next generation products reduce your impact in more than one area of life. We call this Full Spectrum Living. Years have been spent researching products and designing prototypes, all in an effort to create a sustainable business."
As a green entrepreneur, Lippe hopes to spread the green message beyond the website and into the Mahwah community.
"I have many ideas for making Mahwah green. I have been reaching out to schools about trash, green lunches, eco-friendly printing and homemade cleaning products. These three areas: cleaning chemicals, printing methods and trash are places each individual, family, office, school, can actively green-up their local community."
For more information on Give A Green Bag, visit the store online.