Thrive Market is Now Plastic Neutral Certified! Here’s What That Means

Last Update: February 22, 2024

Did you know that more than 9 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year? And on top of that, approximately 3 billion people don’t have access to proper waste collection that would allow them to effectively recycle plastics

Plastic is one of the biggest pollutants on the planet, and it’s always been one of our sustainability goals to confront our own plastic use at Thrive Market. After years of diligent work, we’re so proud to announce that we’ve met a huge goal: thanks to partnership with rePurpose Global, Thrive Market is now a Plastic Neutral Certified retailer!

What does “plastic neutral” mean? 

In short, it means that a company is recovering just as much plastic as it uses in its product packaging, neutralizing its impact on the environment. To get more specific, here’s how rePurpose Global defines their plastic neutrality certification: 

“Being Plastic Neutral Certified with rePurpose Global means that for every pound of plastic that your product uses, we remove an equivalent amount of additional, verified plastic waste from the environment.”

How did we achieve our plastic neutral certification? 

When we became a Plastic Neutral retailer, we were certified through rePurpose Global, the world’s leading plastic action platform, pioneering solutions that enable organizations to take action on their plastic footprints.  From advisory to financing plastic action with verified plastic removal, rePurpose Global is helping  companies tackle the global plastic waste crisis as they strive towards their reduction targets and  create more circular supply chains. 

“In layman’s terms, plastic neutrality indicates that we’re balancing our plastic footprint by funding the recovery of as much ocean-bound plastic waste as we use in our owned brand packaging and shipping materials,” Thrive Market’s Senior Manager of Mission Kristin DeSimone recently told Forbes. “Being Plastic Neutral Certified through rePurpose Global marks our commitment to transparent progress on our footprint reduction and direct investment in projects that fight the global plastic pollution crisis.”

How does plastic removal work? 

When discussing plastic neutrality, you hear a lot about plastic removal—but what does that mean? 

Unfortunately, we still have to use some plastic when shipping or packaging products to make sure things don’t spill, break, or go bad. For those instances, we work with rePurpose Global to recover the plastic we’re using by funding initiatives that remove plastic from the environment. 

It’s not a perfect solution, but it is a step towards mitigating the effect that plastic is having on the planet. According to rePurpose Global:

“Verified plastic removal allows brands to address their plastic footprint immediately and effectively, as they work towards long term goals of reducing their overall plastic footprint and moving towards a more circular supply chain. This makes verified plastic removal an integral tool for every brand’s holistic plastic action toolkit.” 

Here’s how the partnership works: 

  1. Our team at Thrive Market gathers and measures all data related to our plastic use from our exclusive brands (including Thrive Market Goods, Rosey, wellmade, and f.a.e.), as well as our own shipping materials. 
  2. We send those numbers to the team at rePurpose Global so they have a clear picture of exactly how much plastic we’re using.  
  3. For every pound of plastic we use, rePurpose Global comes back to us with projects we can invest in that remove that same amount of ocean-bound or nature-bound plastic.
  4. rePurpose Global continues to measure how many verified plastic removal credits we’ve financed and compares them to how much plastic we’re using in order to help us achieve plastic neutrality (and now, we’ve made it!).
  5. Our progress is consistently monitored and tracked. Based on our chosen projects, the team at rePurpose Global regularly shares updates, verified data on the impact we are creating.

Where do we enable verified plastic recovery? 

Project Hara Kal 
This project is helping to recover low-value plastic waste in the mountainous region of Malappuram, India. There, 361 workers are working to clean plastic off beaches to protect the area’s tea, coffee, and spice plantations and its abundant wildlife.  

Project Ekonomia ya Bluu
This project is recovering plastic that is polluting the formerly pristine beaches in Mombasa, a coastal city in Kenya. Plastic recovery credits go toward funding a team of 98 workers and setting up recycling facilities to help restore the ecosystem. 

Project Sueño Azul 
In Bogota, Colombia, plastic recovery funds go toward co-processing and upcycling low-value flexible plastics to avoid burning them or adding them to landfills.

Reducing Our Plastic Footprint

We know that the only way to solve the plastic problem is to stop producing new plastic, so we’re not just addressing our plastic use, we’re also taking steps to drastically minimize it. 

  • In 2022, we reduced our plastic bag usage by over 70% by conducting drop tests to determine which products needed to be shipped in plastic bags to protect them from breaking, and which didn’t (for context: 12.7M bags were used in 2021, while only 2.8M bags used in 2022!)
  • We standardized our plastic bags to use only zip-lock poly-bags, preventing 2.7 million pull-tab filaments from going into landfills annually. 
  • All of our shipping materials are now 100% recyclable, including our boxes, bags, and other packaging materials. 
  • We’re currently testing out plastic bag alternatives for shipping in an effort to one day reduce our plastic waste even further. 

Thrive Market & rePurpose Global’s Plastic Action Working Group

We learned a lot throughout the process of becoming Plastic Neutral Certified, and it inspired us to help other companies lessen their plastic footprint. We’re partnering with rePurpose Global to form the Plastic Action Working Group, a group designed to share knowledge, best practices and industry updates on all things plastic.

Through a series of online, interactive webinars facilitated by industry experts, the Plastic Action Working Group will be able to address the concerns of our value-oriented, sustainability-conscious third-party brands.

Plastic-Free Products at Thrive Market

Did you know that our site has a filter that allows you to shop only plastic-free products? Here are a few of our favorites for reducing your own plastic footprint. 

The Humble Co. Bamboo Cotton Swabs 
These biodegradable swabs are made from cotton and bamboo instead of the usual plastic. 

Thrive Market Activated Charcoal Dental Floss
Traditional dental floss is made with plastic, but not ours—instead, we use nylon infused with activated charcoal and xylitol to promote dental health. 

Bee’s Wrap Plant-Based Assorted Food Wrap 
Ditch the single-use plastic wrap in favor of these reusable (and adorable) beeswax wraps. 

NOLÉ Arnica Shampoo Bar & Conditioner Bar
Every time you run out of shampoo, you toss out a whole lot of plastic. These package-free alternatives are made with equally luxurious, nourishing ingredients, but without the waste. 

Nellie’s Scented Wool Dryerball in Lavender
Another place you might not realize you’re using plastic? In your dryer sheets. These are made with 100% wool, so they’re 100% reusable (and plastic-free). 

Humble Deodorant Stick in Patchouli & Copal 
Deodorant is notorious for its excessive plastic packaging, so switch to something more sustainable—and with a much better scent. 

This article is related to:

Environment, Sustainable

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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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