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Article: Earth Day 2024 | Less Plastic. More Love.

Earth Day 2024 | Less Plastic. More Love.

Earth Day 2024 | Less Plastic. More Love.

Beyond just a hashtag, our motto that "Good design is good for you" means designing our company with a commitment to accountability, partnership building and doing better for people and the planet. It's something we take to heart, because we believe that even as a small business, it's our responsibility to make decisions that are mindful of the impact on all of those around us—and to set an example for other businesses of any size! And because the “Planet vs. Plastics” mission for Earth Day 2024 is specifically tackling plastic pollution, let's take a look at some of the steps we're taking here at Distil:

EARTHDAY.ORG is unwavering in our commitment to end plastics for the sake of human and planetary health, demanding a 60% reduction in the production of ALL plastics by 2040. Our theme, Planet vs. Plastics, calls to advocate for widespread awareness on the health risk of plastics, rapidly phase out all single use plastics, urgently push for a strong UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution, and demand an end to fast fashion. 

To reduce the amount of plastic used in our sunglasses frames, we swapped plastic with plants when we developed our exclusive ultra-durable Gnarlon™ material using cutting edge bio-based Pebax® Rnew® sourced from sustainably farmed castor beans. These crops are able to grow in arid regions requiring less water (and not competing with forests), and as non-edible plants the material doesn't detract from a would-be food supply. 

MagLock Sunglasses with Flexible Gnarlon frames by Distil Union

To take it a step further, our shape-memory shades are made using secret MagLock™ magnets in the flex-to-fit temples, so they're harder to drop and break or lose altogether—and thus saved from spending a lifetime in a landfill. Sure we may not sell as many of our magnetic sunnies since they’ll stick around with you through all of your adventures, but it’s well worth it to help slow down the fast-fashion cycle.

The very first Distil product came in a plastic box. But on a milestone-birthday celebration in Bali, the plastic swept up onto the otherwise beautiful black-sand beach served as a wakeup call; that's when we pledged: no more plastic packaging. We transitioned our product packaging to paperboard or even simple paper envelopes in sizes that fit a wide range of our products, reducing needless waste as well as lightening the load for transport. And for your mailbox, we swapped plastic padded mailers with a post-consumer kraft mailer that's printed with algae ink—the world's most sustainable ink which is actually net carbon negative. Talk about a win win!

It's our goal to continue to reduce plastic in our supply chain since suppliers have for so long relied on the most affordable ways to protect product in transport. Still, whenever we can opt out of excess packaging—especially plastics—we will continue to do so. From innovative materials to plastic-free packaging, read more about the responsibility standards we hold ourselves to in the spirit of being good neighbors here with you on planet Earth.  

Distil's commitment to 1% for the Planet

It's an Earth Day tradition to update you on our commitment to 1% for the Planet. As members, every year Distil Union is committed to giving 1% of sales—not just profits (and even if we aren't profitable)—directly to environmental partners working to solve today's most pressing issues. Check out our 1% for the Planet Member Profile to see all of the incredible groups—large and small, locally and globally—who have received donations since 2018.  And it's all fueled by you, because it's your Distil purchases that directly support these groups and their efforts!

Through our membership and your purchases, it's been our humble honor to donate to transformational initiatives both locally and around the globe, helping to ensure the world's natural beauty and the wellbeing of all who live here will thrive for generations to come. And in the spirit of Earth Day, we share the incredible non-profits who received donations in the past year as part of that membership: 

World Central Kitchen is a non-profit partner of 1% for the Planet

World Central Kitchen has served hundreds of millions of nourishing meals to people affected by disasters across the world—whether a hurricane, extreme flooding, wildfire, or humanitarian crisis, WCK teams are able to respond immediately across the world by partnering with organizations on the ground and activating a network of local restaurants, food trucks, or emergency kitchens. To support regional economies, WCK prioritizes purchasing local ingredients to cook with or distribute directly to families in need. We know that good food provides not only nourishment, but also comfort and hope, especially in times of crisis.

By now—for better or for worse—most folks across the globe have heard of World Central Kitchen and their incredible efforts feeding people facing crisis of all types and sizes. Their belief that food is a universal human right deeply resonates with us, which is why we chose to lift up their non-profit efforts in our 2023 Giving Tuesday Spotlight. And with shared values of empathy, equity, collaboration, adaptability and sustainability, it is an honor to continue to support the World Central Kitchen at home and abroad. 


Three photos of wildlife at the SC Aquarium

Our mission is to inspire conservation of the natural world by exhibiting and caring for animals, by excelling in education and research and by providing an exceptional visitor experience. We work to ensure the future protection of threatened and endangered animals and their habitats. Donations to the South Carolina Aquarium support critical hospital operations and the care of sick and injured sea turtles, as well as innovative research that will advance sea turtle rehabilitation and healing techniques that will improve our ability to save more sea turtles.

Visiting the South Carolina Aquarium is a must-do activity whether you live in Charleston or you’re just passing through. Rebecca and her family chose the Aquarium because they love seeing many of their favorite creatures in person and in interactive ways, such as hand feeding the stingrays, petting small sharks, watching veterinarians tend to injured turtles and eating lunch overlooking the Charleston harbor.

Three photos of nature for the Mobile Baykeeper organization

Mobile Baykeeper works towards real and measurable improvement in the health of the waters of Coastal Alabama. Mobile Baykeeper helps to protect and revive that rich ecosystem by monitoring water quality, working to remove coal ash upstream, and through educational outreach. We’ll know we are successful when no one has to question whether the fish are safe to eat or the water is safe to swim in, when our seagrasses and oyster reefs recover, and our coastal communities take responsibility for the health of the water.

If you’re into bay breezes and stunning sunsets, then you understand just two of the many reasons why Nate chose to donate this year to Mobile Baykeeper—
“I've been fascinated with the water and fish from an early age. I grew up in Alabama visiting my grandparents in Fairhope on Mobile Bay and ended up going to high school in Mobile. Beginning at age 14, I worked at a local aquarium store, and read everything I could get my hands on related to fish. After taking Dr. Fink's class at ASMS and learning about Distichlis spicata, Juncus roemarianus, Callinectes sapidus, and all the other supporting cast and crew in the bay, I developed a deep appreciation for the ecosystem.”

Three photos representing the non-profit charity: water

charity: water is a nonprofit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. 100% of the money raised is sent to local partners on the ground with years of experience, who build and implement sustainable, community-owned water projects around the world. Every $1 invested in joint water supply and sanitation provides a $4.30 economic return. And they ensure that the water keeps flowing at these projects around the world with flow monitors and maintenance teams in every country.

This organization was selected by Tiffany and Andrew Rizer. Based in Hawaii, the creative power-duo of photographer + social media wizard are the reason the Distil Union instagram looks so enviably stunning. Here’s what Tiffany shared with us about their choice to donate to charity: water—“When we think about sustainability and preserving land and natural resources, it's imperative that we think of the native and indigenous people groups who have long histories and an embedded wisdom for how to care for the lands they live on. When people lack access to clean and safe drinking water and sanitation, they're forced to move or have their daily efforts clouded by the effects of those issues. Which for everyone means sickness and disease and for women and girls especially, it means missed school and hours spent walking miles to a water source to collect water for their families. The world's poorest will bear the biggest burden for climate change, but when we invest in sustainable, forward-thinking solutions for clean water we protect watersheds, nurse aquifers, give time and income back to local farmers and entrepreneurs, and health and education to women and children.”

If you're feeling inspired, you can learn about 1% for the Planet's 4 impact areas, and check out one of the many Action Toolkits from—from climate civics to bee conservation—and see what you can start doing today for a brighter future. We hope this annual moment of reflection gives you a glimpse into how behind even the simplest of things can be a complex dance of mindful decision-making with feel-good donations that put the good in "Good design is good for you." 

Photos of non-profits are courtesy of each respective organization. 

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