Sustainable products are the ultimate goal, even if that goal may seem far, far away. Ideally, wouldn’t every company like to create products that are environmentally sound while still making a profit?

Before we go any further, let’s determine exactly what “sustainable product” means.. A sustainable product is defined as one that provides environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting the environment and public health over their whole life cycle. This includes everything from extraction of the raw materials to disposal.

But how do you determine what sustainable products will work best in the marketplace? How do you track which new and exciting items are around the corner, or on the market right now, that are designed for success while still remaining kind to the environment?

Here are a few products and companies working hard to make sustainable products available to the rest of us.

Single-use food packaging

Eco-Products is a brand creating an innovative line of single-use food service packaging that’s made from renewable resources and post-recycled content.

Eco-Products isn’t just aiming to be sustainable; they ultimately want their products to be environmentally regenerative, an impressive and ambitious goal.

Recycled waste products

Last year, Adidas debuted the first shoe with an upper section entirely made of plastic waste from the ocean.

And startups like Terracycle and Looptworks are at the forefront of a process called “upcycling,” converting various types of waste into furniture, apparel, decor, and more.

Supercharged coffee

One of the most potentially lucrative and exciting products on the sustainable product horizon is being created by a company called bio-bean.

Bio-bean has industrialized a recycling process that converts used coffee grounds into advanced biofuels. The concept alone is staggering, and revolutionary: Turning something that most of the world uses into a product that most of the world needs.

Energy-producing flooring

The push towards sustainable products in industry has dovetailed nicely with a push for more sustainable cities.

The search for sources of renewable energy to power a city has driven a company called Pavegen to develop a flooring tile that converts people’s footsteps into a kind of clean, renewable energy.

Ideally, this is a product for densely populated areas or large-scale events. The concept of hundreds of thousands of people feeding renewable energy back into a city is an exciting one, and the implications for our future energy consumption are massive.

These tiles are a vital first step in creating smart cities further down the road.

Apparel recycling

Here’s an intriguing idea: What if you rented the clothes you wore, then passed them on to be used again and again? A company called Mud Jeans does just that, allowing people to lease the jeans they’re wearing. Encouraging their clients to return the jeans to either swap or simply return the jeans for re-use.

It’s also perhaps the most difficult concept on this list in terms of the marketplace’s mindset. To most people, clothing is purchased and worn until thrown away or given to charity. The idea of having to fill out a lease agreement for the clothes you’re wearing isn’t one that would seem to have a lot of traction on the surface.

But if it does work, the potential elimination of waste in the apparel industry, both from the manufacturer and the end user, could be a serious step towards a healthier world.

And speaking of clothes….

Companies like Patagonia and Nudie Jeans are taking steps within the manufacturing process to extend the life of their products. They’ve both worked diligently on facilities and infrastructure that moves them towards that goal.

Power moves

The concept of sustainability is a big one, and companies are realizing that they can’t always reach that goal alone. There’s a growing trend toward collaboration that allows multiple organizations to work together to create sustainable products. Take Collectively, for example, an online platform to promote and encourage sustainability. It was created through a collaboration between major global corporations Coca Cola, Marks & Spencer, BT Group, Carlsberg, and Unilever.

If you’ve got a sustainable product you’re working on, remember Pivot can help you reach your goals with our product development and manufacturing services. For more on creating sustainable products, read our post “The Benefits of Sustainable Manufacturing.”