11 Eco-Friendly Product Categories to Source from India
Today, conscious consumerism is stronger than ever.
In fact, Americans are seeking out and are willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products, according to a new study from GreenPrint, an environmental technology company.
The first-ever edition of the company’s Business of Sustainability Index found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable products but most (74%) don’t know how to identify them. According to the findings, 78% of people are more likely to purchase a product that is clearly labeled as environmentally friendly.
There couldn’t be a better time to consider switching to eco-friendly products and to leverage the huge growth opportunity that it brings. That is why at India Sourcing Network, we associate with vetted suppliers providing eco-friendly products.
In this article, we take a look at the main types of eco-friendly products that Amazon and e-commerce sellers can private label from India.
1. Areca palm leaf disposable dinnerware
Such products are made from areca palm leaves which are soft, soluble and a good alternative to paper plates. These also replace plastic products since they are biodegradable and turn into compost later.
Areca plant leaves are used only after they shed from the tree, frequency of which is about eight leaves per year.
On shedding, farmers collect the Areca leaves, after which they are cleaned and passed through heat during which moisture is removed. They are then cut in desired shapes using moulding machines, after which they are wrapped and boxed.
There are some black coloured marks on the leaves, which are caused by water trickling on the leaf while it is still attached to the plant. These can be reused if they are stored without moisture.
Areca leaves can be turned into tableware such as plates, forks, spoons, knives and much more like Tamul Plates does.
Consumers love Areca leaf products, because:
- They are biodegradable and eco friendly
- They are safe to use in the microwave and refrigerator
- They have no adverse impact on the environment
2. Disposable products from bagasse
The second category of eco-friendly products are those made from bagasse – which is the dry remnant of sugarcane after the juice has been extracted. Sugarcane waste is used as wet pulp or dry board.
Wet pulp requires fewer processes than dry board but it has impurities. Once it is blended, the mixture is piped into a preparation tank after which the moulding machines shape the final products.
On the other hand, impurities can be removed and the wet pulp can be converted to dry board to make higher quality products. After the wet pulp has been converted to dry board, it is mixed with an anti-oil and anti-water agent in a pulping machine to make the substance sturdier.
Once blended, the mixture is piped into a preparation tank and then taken to the moulding machines, which instantaneously press this mixture into the shape of a bowl or plate, creating up to six plates and nine bowls at a time.
The finished bowls and plates are tested for oil and water resistance and after they pass, these are packaged and made ready for shipment.
They are used as disposable dinnerware and tableware by conscious consumers. These bagasse plates and bowls are 100 percent biodegradable and can completely break down in 90 days in a compost facility. These products have no or very little environmental impact.
3. Recycled tetra paks
Next on the list are products made from recycled tetra paks such as milk and juice cartons.
These cartons are shredded into small chips and compressed into slabs that can be used to make tables, chairs, trays, photo frames and coasters. The material is strong and can even be used for construction.
Sourcing agency SabSource can procure these types of products.
4. Recycled PET fabric
Disposable PET water bottles that would otherwise end up in landfills are shredded, turned into yarn and made into fabric. They are sometimes woven with other types of fibres such as cotton.
These fabrics are used to produce various types of products such as rugs, mats, cushion covers, bags, and backpacks.
The end product does not feel like plastic, and has a soft feel just like fabric.
India Sourcing Network supplier, Ryan International offers a range of backpacks made from recycled PET fabric. Similarly, JJ Overseas produces rugs in colorful designs from this eco-friendly fabric.
5. Organic cotton
Organic cotton differentiates from regular cotton majorly because of how it is grown, i.e., without using any pesticides and insecticides. Organic cotton requires lesser resources and creates a safe environment for farmers. Growing organic cotton reduces water wastage, is safe for livestock and enhances the soil quality by retaining its nutrients.
Products made from organic cotton are “46 percent less harmful to global warming” according to the Textile Exchange. Organic cotton requires the land to be barren for at least three years and so these products can be quite expensive when compared to synthetically made and regular cotton products.
6. Mango wood products
Mango wood is a moderately hard, heavy and strong wood with a yellowish white to greyish brown color. Each style made from this wood has varied shades of wood, which is naturally beautiful and makes each piece unique.
The wood has a beautiful grain that can be straight or interlocked with a medium to coarse texture and good natural luster.
Mango wood is considered very eco-friendly and sustainable, as mango plantations harvest the trees for lumber after they have completed their fruit-bearing lifespan.
Because it is abundantly available in India, mango wood is a more cost-effective wood compared to other hardwoods such as teak.
Mango trees are prone to both insect and fungus attack, but once the wood is dried (or seasoned) and treated, both disappear, leaving behind the gorgeous patterns and colors we see in the wood.
India is the largest jute producing country in the world, with annual production estimated at more 1.968 million tons. Bangladesh is the second largest producer of jute in the world, with annual production estimated at 1.349 million tons. China is a far third at 29,628 tons.
Jute is recognised as the second most important vegetable fibre in the world, behind only cotton, in terms of global consumption and production.
India’s jute cultivation is primarily concentrated in three States — West Bengal, Bihar and Assam. Bengal accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the area under jute and 83 percent of its production, followed by Assam with a production share of nearly 8 per cent, with Bihar making up the rest.
Jute is used to produce a range of products for exports including bags, backpacks, furnishings, rugs, packaging materials and more.
Jute can be screen-printed, dyed, embellished or woven with other yarns to produce interesting patterns and designs.
One popular product from India is chindi rugs – these are jute rugs that are woven together with colourful waste cotton and denim fabric.
8. Next-gen plant-based materials
Plant-based materials are a great alternative to genuine leather and manmade materials. These are made from various plants and fruits such as cork (bark of a tree), pineapple fibre and cactus.
India Sourcing Network supplier, Studio Beej is making great innovations by offering a range of products made using:
- Desserto, made from pulp of cactus – Products on offer are bags and wallets.
- Pinatex, made from pineapple fibers – Products made of Pinatex are bags, wallets, belts, wine bags which have a leather feel and wooden handles.
- Khesh, recycled cotton cloth – Old cotton fabric is torn in strips and then used for weaving with the warp being of new cotton and the weft of old strips of cotton fabric. These fabrics are made in West Bengal and used as upholstery fabric, bags, wallets and belts.
- Cork, bark of cork tree – The bark of the cork tree is anti bacterial which is ripped to use various products. Such products are light, durable and are one-fourth the weight of leather.
- Pineapple fibre – Products include bags, wallets and belts as well as wine bags. Pineapple fibre is durable and strong and is just like leather.
These are certified vegan products, which are biodegradable and eco friendly.
Products from StudioBeej. From L to R: 1) Briefcase made from Khesh, 2) Clutches in Pinatex, 3) Wine bag in cork
9. Eco-friendly packaging materials
Increasingly, manufacturers in India are moving away from plastic-based packaging materials and trying to offer more biodegradable and natural options to buyers.
Materials include jute, burlap, hemp, paper, cotton, cardboard among others.
India Sourcing Network’s recommended packaging company Packman can provide a variety of eco-friendly options in jute.
10. Plantable seed stationery
Stationery that grows into plants is unique, appealing and eco-friendly. Consumers are looking for brands that not just make stationery but whose principles also align with theirs.
Plantable stationery is made from eco-friendly paper embedded with seeds that grows flowers, herbs or vegetables when planted and leaves no waste behind.
Product options include diaries, calendars, message cards, gift tags, pencils pens and so much more.
Contact sourcing agency SabSource to private label such products.
11. Upcycled materials
Upcycling materials are on-trend among manufacturers in India. These are usually strips of waste fabrics or material that would have been disposed off by factories and ended up in a landfill.
Some companies such as StudioBeej use waste leather strips from bag factories to use as straps and ties for their packaging.
There are also companies that use tarpaulins and discarded jeans for making bags, backpacks and rugs.
Creations of India offers bags, backpacks and cushion covers made from fabric and leather scraps.
Some creative suppliers are turning waste electronics into art and showpieces for home decor. In fact, at the 2019 Delhi Fair, an entire approximately 20-foot sculpture of an elephant was created using scrap electronics.
India Sourcing Trip attendees at Delhi Fair standing in front of an elephant made from electronic waste
Eco-friendly products can be made from a wide variety of materials which have multi-utility features. These products stand out from the rest and beat the competition because of their manufacturing process. Not just that, eco-friendly products appeal to users because they last longer and look way more differentiated.
India offers a plethora of options when it comes to eco-friendly materials, and India Sourcing Network is leading the way in highlighting such eco-conscious suppliers.