“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.” - Albert Einstein

Aquinas College

Product Replacements Ideas


Because we do not currently live in a sustainable world, consumers and business people do not yet have access to sustainable products. Nearly every product that is purchased will negatively affect the environment through transportation, energy use, resource use, and/or disposal, and many products pose a potential harm to human health.

However, there are some products available on the market today that are much "less bad" than others. For example, most paints, varnishes, and cleaners contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), or compounds that participate in the formation of ozone. According to the EPA, some VOCs are suspected to cause cancer in animals and humans, while others are actually known carcinogens. When individuals choose to use products containing VOCs, they are putting themselves, their families, and possibly other employees health at risk, as well as the natural environment. However, there are products available today that are completely VOC-free. While replacing less harmful products for more harmful products will most likely not be a long-term sustainable solution, it is a method that can be used during this transition time to help contribute to the evolution of the sustainability movement.


AusPen Marker by Ecosmart World

The AusPen marker provide schools and companies with an alternative to toxic disposable whiteboard markers. The marker is refillable, uses non-toxic ink, is made from 100% recycled material, and is recyclable. The AusPen marker is also free of the toxic chemical Xylene, which is used in the ink of traditional disposable markers on the market.


Bioshield sells environmentally friendly paints, finishes, cleaning products, and stains. Ninety-eight percent of the chemicals used in Bioshield products are naturally derived from plant sources and minerals, and the company strives to keep the paints toxin-free. Many of the products are VOC free, or at least low VOC, and most are low-odor and non-allergenic. A drawback of this company's offerings is the limited color availability. The products are manufactured in Germany and sold out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Exhibit Design Consultants

Exhibit Design Consultants (EDC) utilize a unique approach to marketing, through the design of mobile showrooms, trade show displays, visitor center, and other projects. EDC launched a new division in 2007 called eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits, “the Nation's first and only manufacturer of true ‘green-built’ exhibit systems.” It is now recognized as the Nation’s leading authoritative resource for Sustainable Branded Environments.


Java-Log is the most innovative, funky new fireplace item that has quickly become many people's choice firelog including Ellen Degeneres. It offers a wonderful solution to the much detested chemical smell associated often with other firelogs, contributes positively to several environmental concerns, and burns beautifully without the usual hassles.

Native Green

Native Green, LLC is a “certified Native American Minority Business Enterprise” that manufactures, distributes, and sells ecologically sensitive. The web site provides a variety of green products and renewable energy technologies.

Orange Halo

Orangehalo is the #1 source for eco-friendly promotional products and corporate apparel in the United States. Their products include such things as promotional items, corporate apparel, uniforms, and gifts. Orangehalo also includes general information on the eco-friendly materials used for the products.

PVC free products database

Greenpeace is a nonprofit organization, with a presence in 40 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. As a global organization, Greenpeace focuses on the most crucial worldwide threats to our planet's biodiversity and environment. Greenpeace has a database of construction materials that can be searched by consumers who would like to find PVC (polyvinyl chloride) free products from around the world.


“Terracycle makes affordable, eco-friendly products from a wide range of different non-recyclable waste materials. With over 50 products available at major retailers like Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, Ect. Terracyle is one of the fastest growing eco-friendly manufacturers in the world.

Funded by the Steelcase Foundation of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Header photo by Carol Y. Swinehart, courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant Extension
Site by CMC/GrandNet