Alchemy Goods Blog

Welcome to the Alchemy blog, where we share stories about our products, partnerships, and community. We love local Seattle, upcyling news, cyclist stories, and shouting out to all the Alchemists who help support our business.

How to Be a Conscious Consumer During the Holidays

child at christmas

The holidays are the perfect opportunity to celebrate your loved ones with thoughtful gifts, but we want to encourage all you Alchemists to take a conscientious approach to consumerism this season. Knowing that many of the gifts we give don’t come from sustainable or fair trade sources, how does one participate in the gift-giving ritual of the holidays while remaining mindful of the human and environmental costs that come with so many products?

Take heart, you do have options.   While we think our products are worth considering as a great solution, even if Alchemy Goods isn’t on your shopping list, we hope you’ll consider some of these suggestions for how you can shop more sustainably this season.

Gift the Gift of Donation

Photo by Oxfam

If you’re not sure what to get someone, maybe the best gift is a charitable donation in their name. You might not know what your coworker, white elephant match-up, distant relative, or son’s girlfriend need or want, but there are a lot of other people in the world who are only too easy to shop for. Why not send aid to the refugees in Syria, give livestock or valuable supplies to an international family living in poverty through a site like Oxfam, or make a donation to a homeless shelter in your gift recipient’s community? A charitable gift isn’t a cop-out, and can still be personal—think of a cause that the recipient of the gift is likely to support (are they an animal lover? environmentalist? a mother who might care deeply about shelters specifically for women and children?) and you might be surprised how much it will mean to them.

Keep It Local

If you do want to give a physical present, try to choose something locally-made. The working conditions of the overseas factories producing so many of our holiday purchases
can be very hard on the factory workers.   Low retail prices are often achieved by lowering standards for worker safety and comfort—if gift-giving is about thoughtfulness and kindness, ensuring that all the presents you buy were made fairly and willingly should be a csa tilthpriority. The easiest way to do this is to buy locally! You’re ensuring that 100 percent of the profits not only go back to your community, but are distributed fairly among the people who are actually making the products.

For example, we’ve talked about Community Supported Agriculture before, but it bears repeating—CSAs (weekly boxes of produce from a local farmer) are awesome, and make awesome gifts! Give someone on your list a share in a CSA, and they will get exciting new vegetables every week, which is practical, fun, and lasting, plus bears the peace of mind that comes with local, organic consumption.

Keep It Sustainable

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans throw away 25 percent more trash than the rest of the year, amounting to 25 million tons of garbage. We hope that all you Alchemists look for sustainable alternatives to one-time-use packaging and also choose gifts that were made sustainably and will be enjoyed for a long time.
We love this article from the Seattle Times that contains a number of locals sustainable shopping ideas. For example, did you know that Seattle Seahawks jerseys are made from recycled plastic bottles? Giving your favorite Hawks fan an up-cycled jersey that they’ll proudly wear for years is a great way of putting your dollars towards a team that values the environment. (We also recommend the Seahawks totes from their partnership with Alchemy Goods that raise money for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence!)


Items that are made from up-cycled materials are often as practical and pleasing as any comparable items you might buy, but allow you to make a difference by reducing waste instead of contributing another item to a future landfill. Another option is to buy pre-used items in the first place—finding a cool vintage sweater in a second-hand shop repurposes something that’s already been created and also winds up being a lot more unique and thoughtful than another sweater from Macy’s. We especially encourage jewelry shoppers to buy antiques or pre-owned pieces, given the painful human and environmental costs of most mining operations.

Happy Holidays, Alchemists! We hope you’re able to find conscientious gifts for everyone on your list this year. Even when the trees are bare, we want the season to be as green as possible.











Photo Credit; Photo Credit; Photo Credit

Our Partnership Process on the Seahawks Tote

Last week we were thrilled to announce a partnership project with the Seattle Seahawks to create a line of totes from upcycled banners to raise money for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bags are available only at the Seahawk’s flagship retail store at CenturyLink Field, and they’re already going fast!

We’d love to share a little bit more about the story of our involvement in the project. We actually launched our banners-to-bags program several years ago, inviting teams, companies, government agencies, or event organizers to turn their used banners into branded products that would demonstrate their commitment to zero-waste initiatives. We’ve helped a number of groups up-cycle their banners into lasting, usable totes that are also a piece of their history.

We had originally been talking with the Seattle Sounders about converting the material that covers their upper decks during games into functional up-cycled products when the Seahawks came to them asking if they knew anyone who could repurpose their old banners. Naturally, the Sounders gave them our name!

Treasured Seahawks employee Sandy Gregory, who’s worked with the team since its inaugural season in 1976, had saved many banners and materials over the years and wanted to see them put to good use. Though these banners can be up to four stories high, we’re able to unfurl and cut down to size these salvaged materials at our workshop to produce beautiful patterned totes. Our workshop is just two blocks south of the Seahawks stadium, so one of the coolest things about this whole project is that Alchemy Goods is right in the epicenter for Seahawks game day excitement, and we hope we see a few of these bags go by our door on Sundays!

We couldn’t be happier for the opportunity to collaborate with the Seahawks, an amazing team that has been such a source of pride for our city, and that through this partnership, we’ve had an opportunity to contribute to such an important cause. Though Alchemy Goods has regularly donated products to organizations that align with our mission, such as sustainability or cycling causes, we’ve never participated in a large-scale fundraiser where all the profits are donated directly.

As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we were especially grateful for an opportunity to contribute to a cause close to our hearts, our homes, and our region. Since 1997, there have been nearly 1,000 deaths that were the result of domestic violence in our state alone. We are so glad to have a chance to help raise money for an organization that aids abuse victims and—perhaps most importantly—prevents future abuse through education, resources, and community building. We are also proud of our Seahawks for selecting a cause that goes straight back to Washington families and, given the NFL’s checkered past with handling domestic abuse, speaks to our team’s commitment to safe relationship building.

We’re excited that this project indicates both a regional and national shift in consumer conscience. When we first launched our banners-to-bag program, we didn’t have very many candidates. “But the fact that organizations as important as the Seahawks are now coming to us,” said founder Eli Reich, “is a sign of changes in consumer behavior. People didn’t use to be so receptive to it, and now they’re thinking more about what materials their products came from and where they’re manufactured and how they can be reused. We don’t take credit for that change, but it’s really wonderful to witness.”

We love imagining that our city and our world are becoming safer, greener, and more aware, and that we’re helping accelerate that process!


Seahawks Partner with Alchemy Goods to Upcycle Banners and Raise Money for Charity

All proceeds from tote bag sales will benefit Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The Seattle Seahawks and Alchemy Goods announced yesterday one-of-a-kind Seahawks themed tote bags are now on sale at the team’s flagship retail store at CenturyLink Field.  The eco-friendly bags were made from recycled stadium and event banners. All proceeds from the tote bag sales will be designated to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV).

“We are excited to partner with Alchemy Goods, a local company, dedicated to recycling and providing a new function for these banners,” said Seahawks VP Community Outreach Mike Flood.  “All proceeds will benefit WSCADV, who will utilize the funds to support their on-going work to prevent domestic violence, educate and engage communities across Washington State.”

seahawks both bagsThe upcycled bags come in two sizes, a small lunch tote for $15 and a full-size grocery bag for $22.  The bags are durable, strong and water resistant.  Some of the bags were created from the two 50 by 25 foot banners that hung from the west side of the CenturyLink Field Event Center garage the past few years.  The banners feature Seahawks S Earl Thomas and RB Marshawn Lynch.

“We are very grateful for this support from the Seattle Seahawks,” said Nan Stoops, Executive Director of the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Domestic violence is 100% preventable and we are thrilled the 12s have an opportunity to join in and support our work to stop this violence before it starts.”

The upcycled tote bags will only be available at the team’s flagship store, The Pro Shop, located on the west side of CenturyLink Field in limited quantities.

Seahawks Garage Banner Step 2“Alchemy Goods bags are, quite literally, recycled,” said founder Eli Reich.  “We Seahawks fans will appreciate our efforts in transforming this reclaimed billboard.  The 12’s can now own a piece of Seahawks history, help create a brighter future and limit the consumption of Earth’s natural resources.”

Visit for more information.

About the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV)

Founded in 1990 by survivors of domestic violence and their allies, the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a non-profit network of over 70 domestic violence advocacy programs across the state of Washington. They improve how communities respond to domestic violence and work to create a social intolerance for abuse. Their work includes research, training and technical assistance, producing educational tools, promoting domestic violence awareness, and public policy advocacy. To learn more, please visit

Build Community through Farm to Table Living this Harvest Season

farmer-826912_1280Most of us lead lives pretty far removed from the cycles of agriculture. Fiscal quarters, school semesters, or paydays are the rhythm to which our clocks tick, but agriculture is all around us! There are small, family-owned farms and community gardens contributing products to almost every community in America.

Harvest season is upon us, which is traditionally the time to celebrate the bounty of local farms. Alchemy Goods would like to recognize some of the efforts in America to preserve and support our farmlands, and give you Alchemists a few guidelines as to how you can purchase produce directly from the people creating it.


The American family farm is an endangered species, and we want to encourage every Alchemist to help support local agriculture this harvest season. According to the American Farmland Trust, 57 percent of America’s farmers are over 55, and struggling to maintain the purpose of their land—as a result, over 50 acres of US farm and ranch land are lost every hour. Local farmers are not only the primary source of quality organic produce, but also our first defenders against soil erosion, water conservation, and climate change, and hopefully we can reverse the process of their disappearance and help them thrive.

National: American Farmland Trust

American Farmland Trust is one of the most important organizations working to save our disappearing farmland and promote voluntary conservation practices. Helping farmers buy back their land from threatening development projects saves thousands of acres of America’s best soil from cement—show your support with a free bumpersticker to shout the cause, your help donate!

Some Pictures from their farms:

Local: Washington’s PCC Farmland Trust

We’re losing Washington farmland at a rate of 45,000 acres a year, and the PCC Farmland Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving our diminishing farmlands by helping farms become declared conservation easements. As with the American Farmland Trust, this prevents any future real estate development and ensures that the land will be used for farmer-operated agriculture. The PCC Farmland Trust helps negotiate land sale and use between farmers, saving land that would otherwise exit agricultural use forever.

So far, PCC Farmland Trust has saved eleven farms all over Washington State! Alchemy Goods is a Seattle company that takes great pride in the sustainable, local products that come from our state and region, and we encourage any local Alchemists to set their tables this fall with the bounty of a PCC Farmland Trust farm!

PCC Farmland Trust's first farm saved was Nash Huber’s organic farm in Sequim

PCC Farmland Trust’s first farm saved was Nash Huber’s organic farm in Sequim


There are nearly two million American farms, and about 80 percent of those are small and family owned, and often rely on avenues of selling their products directly to the public. Though land trusts like the ones discussed above help, the real battle is fought every day at the supermarket. We want to urge all the Alchemists out there to be conscientious of where they’re getting their food this harvest season.

How can you patronize these small farms, especially now that farmer’s market season is wrapping up? Try getting a CSA!

What’s a CSA?

“CSA” stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a way of buying produce directly from the farmers who grow it. For a relatively small weekly fee, you’ll get a box of produce either delivered to your home or a central pick-up location that contains an assortment of whatever crops are currently in season on the farm you’ve chosen to support.

Here’s a description of what you might expect in each box for a typical fall CSA from Seattle’s own Tilth, a non-profit organization that runs a series of farms and community gardens and offers lessons in farming and gardening to youth, refugee and immigrant families, and curious adults. You’ll get a week’s supply of:tilth CSA

  • one leafy green (like kale, chard or collards)
  • an allium (like onion, garlic or leek)
  • potatoes (including fingerlings, red, purple, and gold varieties)
  • a root crop (like turnips, carrots, parsnips or beets)
  • an additional item that are fresh on our farms, like winter squashes, apples and more

CSA’s aren’t just in Seattle—you can find them almost anywhere! The site Local Harvest is a fantastic resource for finding not only CSAs near you, but also local organic farms. Not only will you be supporting your local community’s environment and economy, but you’ll also be doing your body a favor and treating it to a diverse selection of naturally-grown and super-fresh vegetables, and possibly challenging yourself to cook and eat plants you’ve never encountered before!

Local Markets

remlinger farmsIf you don’t want to commit yourself to a CSA, you can always buy your produce and animal products from markets that stock local organic goods! Chains like PCC, Whole Foods, and Metro Market are a good place to start, but we encourage Alchemists to look for locally-owned independent businesses. 

For Seattleites, we love Remlinger Farms, a family owned and operated local farm that started as roadside produce stand and has grown into a 200 acre education and tourist center that sells products from their own farm and others in the area. Remlinger is especially well known for their U-Pick pumpkin field—get your Halloween and Thanksgiving pie pumpkins there!

American farms don’t exist in a vacuum—they need the support of their communities! Halloween and Thanksgiving are great opportunities to set your table with products from local farms, and so is every other day! Harvest is the best time of the year to get in touch with local sources of agriculture—happy harvest season, Alchemists!


More pictures from American Farmland Trust; PCC Farmland Trust photo by Becky Warner and Farmland Trust; Photo by Remlinger Farms

Oktoberfest Seattle Brewery Spotlight

Munich’s legendary 17-day Oktoberfest draws over six million people annually from all around the world, and has been the most important celebration of Bavarian brews since the first festival was held in 1810.  Seattle might not draw quite the same crowds as Munich for our Oktoberfest celebrations, but we still encourage you to raise a glass of locally-made Oktoberfestbier-style brew!

 The classic Oktoberfestbier—a pale lager or Pilsner—is the exclusive beer of the event. In Germany, only six breweries are licensed to make and sell Oktoberfestbier, and all of them are located within Munich, making Oktoberfest not only an important occasion for craft brews, but also for the recognition and promotion of local business.

To parallel Munich’s six signature breweries, here are six of our Seattle favorites!

Flying Bike Brewery


This brand new brewery just opened in Greenwood a few months ago, but they’re already braving a bold new path for the way a business can operate. Flying Bike is Seattle’s first-ever Cooperative Brewery, meaning it’s member-owned and operated. All members have equal share in the business, and all their recipes are chosen from member submissions by voting members! Flying Bike is democratizing beer, and their process has resulted in some very tasty brews! We love their Airship Pale Ale, which won their 2013 Pale brewing competition. It uses 6 different malts and 6 different hops, and you’ll love the nuance.

Fremont Brewery


Fremont Brewery is a family-owned business that’s been operating since 2009, and we love their sustainability agenda as much as their beer! They have been careful to use a zero-waste production process, are one of 24 breweries nationwide to sign the Brewery Climate Declaration, heat their brewery with on-site generate steam instead of gas, use cans instead of glass (which is 80 percent recycled as opposed to 5 percent), clean their own drainage, and participate in Forterra’s Evergreen Carbon Capture program to reduce their footprint. Their Universale Pale Ale is a Northwest take on the Bavarian favorite, and will be perfect every time.

Georgetown Brewing


Georgetown Brewing Company makes one of Seattle’s all-time favorite beers: Manny’s Pale Ale. If you grew up in Seattle, you might not even realize this beer is impossible to find anywhere else. Manny’s is in just about every bar in the city, but you can’t buy it bottled and you can’t buy it outside Seattle. Everyone loves Manny’s so much because it’s exactly what you would want in a perfect lager: a robust flavor that’s interesting and present but not overpowering.

Peddler Brewing Company


It’s no secret that Alchemy Goods loves bicycles, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Peddler Brewing made it on our list of local notable breweries! Peddler is a Ballard microbrewery with a 12-tap tasting room that also has an indoor bike rack, bicycle work station for tune-ups, and repurposed bicycle parts as decor! They also offer discounts to anyone with a Cascade Bicycle Club membership card, Pronto Cycle Share membership key, or Bicycle Benefits sticker. Try their Peddle Strike Pale Ale sold bottled all over town or on tap in their tasting room!

Spinnaker Bay Brewing


Traditionally, beer was made almost entirely by women, from the first records of beer-brewing in Ancient Egypt to colonial America. Women were the brewers of the household, and it wasn’t until society shifted its focus from agriculture to manufacturing and beer was industrialized that women stopped making beer.

Spinnaker Bay Brewing is continuing a long tradition of female brewers. This Columbia City brewery was founded in 2012, and is the only 100 percent woman-owned microbrewery in Washington State. Beer is part of their matriarchal heritage—over the bar hangs a family portrait of Brewmaster Janet Spindler’s great grandmother with her homemade keg, emblazoned with the words “What is home without beer?” For a perfect Oktoberfest pour, we recommend their Kölsch-style pale ale A Little Dinghy Blonde, which draws so many cues from German lagers it’s even made with malts from Munich!

Naked City Brewery


Our sixth local brewery is the dream of two friends named Don, who followed their shared passion for craft beer and now have one of the most beloved Greenwood destinations for both delicious brews and local arts. The Naked City Taphouse follows the principle that “great beer and delicious food set the table for community life,” and they host art, poetry, film, and political events. And like Spinnaker, Naked City has a classic Munich-malted Oktoberfest classic, The Spy Who Came In For A Kölsch!

Visit Seattle Made if you want to browse hundreds of other local businesses (like Alchemy Goods!) that make up Seattle’s local economy!

Logos from brewer websites, Beer Pulse and Washington Beer Blog

West Coast Fall Cycling Events and Tours

Summer may be the most popular time for cycling tours and events, but the season’s not over yet! There are a lot of fantastic rides coming up this Fall for cyclists of all levels. At Alchemy Goods, we’re avid fans of alternative transportation and bike culture, and we’d like to recommend a few events along the West Coast that have a great cause and seem like a ton of fun to get you excited about participating in the cycling community and to keep on pedaling through the colder months!

8th Annual Cycle the WAVE (Seattle, WA)

Sunday, September 20th

We’d like to start with Alchemy’s home turf: Seattle. Our amazing Cycle the WAVE event is sponsored by the Women Against Violence Everywhere (WAVE) Foundation, and all the proceeds go towards domestic violence programs across Washington State. Cycle the WAVE is a non-competitive, all-women’s cycling event, with four different routes to accommodate women of all ages and cycling abilities. The point of the ride is to experience camaraderie and sisterhood in a fun, no-pressure environment while raising both money and awareness for victims of domestic violence. We couldn’t be prouder of this amazing Seattle ride!

Crosstoberfest (Sandpoint, ID)

Saturday, October 3-Sunday, October 4

For a slightly more rugged event, look to the woods of Northern Idaho for the cyclo-cross race Crosstoberfest! Now in its fourth year, the races take place on an exciting off-road course that includes a gravel pit and wooden bridge, and that changes after Saturday to keep Sunday interesting. More importantly, Crosstober raises money for Team Autism 24/7, which helps support families living on the autism spectrum in the Sandpoint area. We love the spirit of fun bike-centric events that help support vulnerable members of a local community!

Wheels for Meals Bike Ride (Pleasanton, CA)

Saturday, October 17

This is the 7th annual Wheels for Meals fundraiser in Northern California’s wine country. 1,200 cyclists ride through wine country on routes ranging from a family-friendly 15 miles to a 70-mile metric century with steep climbs. The Alameda County Meals on Wheels organization is particularly devoted to helping feed low- or no-income seniors, who make up over 3/4 of their clients and half of whom live alone. This fun ride is a great way of exploring the beautiful Livermore Valley countryside, hanging out with friends and family, and supporting an organization that does very important work.

New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat (San Diego, CA)

Saturday, September 26

There are few things the West Coast loves more than beer and bikes, and when you bring them together you get something pretty much everyone enjoys. New Belgium Brewing Company of the famous Fat Tire Amber Ale (and bicycle logo!) is hosting a daylong festival in San Diego’s Golden Hill Park to benefit nonprofit biking organizations. The festival begins with a costumed bike parade through the city, followed by a community party with comedy groups, artists, vaudeville, and bike contests. The finale is the the moment when one individual will trade in their car for a bicycle and commit to the two-wheel life—something Alchemy can definitely get behind!

We’re proud to know that some of the tire tubes being used to bike these events will someday come back to Alchemy’s workshop and be made into sustainable, fashionable bags and accessories that might even wind up back on the same trail or tour someday. We hope that this fall, all you Alchemists keep biking through the off season and contribute to important charities, hopefully at the same time!

Go Back to School Green

Students everywhere are preparing for the coming school year. For a lot of us, that means a flurry of consumerism—about $17.6 billion dollars worth nationwide—and we hope that you’ll take a mindful approach to your school supplies shopping. There are lots of exciting upcycled or sustainable products that can help make your carbon footprint a little shallower, and most of them wind up looking better and lasting longer than their wasteful alternatives. Here are a few of our favorite sustainably-motivated items for the 2015 school year.

Naked Binders

Not only are most plastic or vinyl binders un-recyclable and produced from synthetic factory-made materials, but they also release dioxins into the atmosphere during the manufacturing process. For anyone else who is sick of tacky, toxic, and short-lived plastic binders that are destined for the landfill, we recommend Naked Binders, which not only out-last other binders but are produced from 100 percent certified post-consumer waste board. They’re also completely recyclable, and thoughtfully designed for superior appearance and function.

Klean Kanteen Water Bottles

A water bottle is a student’s best friend. When you’re at school or on campus all day, you need to stay hydrated, and a reusable water bottle is the perfect way to quench your thirst and stay green. Disposable plastic water bottles are one of the worst environmental offenders—replace it with a Klean Kanteen! Klean Kanteen produced the first 100 percent BPA-free stainless steel water water bottle in 2004, and their commitment to toxin-free reusable stainless steel bottles has lead to a great line of products that last a lifetime. Even their packaging is sustainably designed!

To-Go Ware 2-Tier Lunch Bag

The trash-free lunch is a challenge every student should aspire to meet. The wrappers from pre-packaged foods or single-use items like plastic silverware have an astonishing impact on landfills. You can work toward a trash-free lunch by preparing your own food from whole ingredients, using reusable utensils, containers, and cloth napkins, and drinking from a water bottle. The first step toward a trash-free lunch is a reusable lunch bag—we love To-Go Ware’s Cotton Carrier bag made from cotton scraps collected in India. More sustainable than bags made from virgin materials, this upcycled lunch tote is also completely washable.

TreeSmart Pencils

Every student needs a #2 pencil, if not for note-taking, doodles, or free writes, then for those standardized tests or Scantron sheets. These #2 pencils from TreeSmart are a great upcycled alternative to wooden pencils. TreeSmart makes use of whole sheets of recycled newspaper for pencils that are as sturdy and easy to use or sharpen as wooden ones, but without the toll on our forests. And for the artists out there, they also make colored pencils!

Brooklyn & Madison Backpacks

We don’t want to be too self-serving, but our Brooklyn and Madison backpacks are two of our favorite products—they’re slick, tough, and unique, and can withstand just about anything. Students need a backpack that can protect their books, electronics, notes, cellphones, gym clothes, sandwiches, etc, but factory-produced materials aren’t necessarily the longest-lasting. With an exterior of upcycled bike tire tubes, our Alchemy bags keep contents dry, safe, and secure while re-purposing waste materials. And the lifetime guarantee means that you’ll never have to throw away another bag over a broken zipper or a ripped strap.

Good luck in class this year, Alchemists! We hope you’re able to check every box on your back-to-school list with a sustainable product you’ll love for years.

Does Your College Bleed Green?

How green is your campus? Does your dining hall serve local organic produce, does your student body take an active role in sustainability, do you have acres of surrounding woodland? Students take a lot of pride in their school’s athletic and academic achievements, or even in titles like “Hardest Partiers,” but what about their college or university’s environmental performance? Alchemy would like to give a shout out to five of the colleges and universities from around the country we think deserve some applause for their unique approaches to going green. After all, educating the next generation doesn’t count for much if they aren’t going to inherit a healthy planet.

1.) Colorado State (Fort Collins, CO)

Colorado State is a rock-star among public universities and private schools alike, thanks in part to their devotion to a green curriculum. Of their 58 departments, 54 offer at least one course engaging with sustainability issues, and their robust School of Global Environmental Sustainability offers 19 different majors. Their faculty includes hard-hitting environmentalists like Temple Grandin, author and animal welfare revolutionary (who was played by Claire Danes in an eponymous HBO movie). They also have 11 LEED Gold buildings, 15 acres of solar panels, and their tree nursery produces 2 million seedling annually.

2.) Green Mountain College (Poultney, Vermont)

This school was the second in the nation become climate-neutral, getting most of their energy from on-campus wind turbines, solar panels, and their partnership with Cow Power. Cow Power extracts methane gas from manure from Vermont’s dairy farms, converts it to electricity, and sells it to participants. The funds go to to local dairy farmers and the on-farm facilities. Unlike the sources of renewable energy most school turn to for their energy credits, Green Mountain is powered by a local source students can visit and learn about. Further, 46 percent of their graduates pursue careers in green jobs!

3.) Lewis & Clark College

Number one on the Princeton Review’s annual list of the greenest colleges, the green awareness of Lewis and Clark’s student body is outstanding. About 95 percent of the students at the College of Arts & Science voluntarily donate toward the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates. 74 percent of their students take at least one class that includes sustainability learning, and 83 percent of students choose sustainable travel options like bikes. They also offer a unique certification program in Ecopsychology that teaches counseling psychologists to apply ecological research to their mental health practice. And their campus includes 95 acres of woodland to study and explore!

4.) University of California, Santa Barbara

UCSB is considered the greenest public university in the country, and the third greenest college generally. They have led the pack in retrofits, spending $2-3 million annually on efficient HVAC systems, LED lighting, and new insulated windows. Mostly, though, we love their TGIF program. The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) was the first school water-action plan developed in the drought-vulnerable state of California. 90 percent of their landscaping is irrigated with recycled water, saving about 19 million gallons every year, and the seven-person committee has five student seats.

5.) College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, Maine)

This tiny, experimental college only has a few hundred students, and all of them are studying the same niche major: human ecology. Under the umbrella of “human ecology,” students are mostly able to define their own curriculum, planned around their interests and human relationships with the planet. They were the first college to go carbon neutral in 2007. The COA also owns 300 acres of farmland and forrest, and the vegetables, and the organic produce farmed by students comprises about 30 percent of the dining hall meals—and the compost from the dining halls is used on the farm!

Alchemy would also like to give a special shout-out to Pinchot University on Washington’s Bainbridge Island, which we personally know is doing some amazing work—Eli Reich, Alchemy Goods founder, took classes there. Pinchot offers MBAs in Sustainable Business (the first program of its kind in the country!), MBAs in Sustainable Systems, and Certificates in Sustainable Energy. For Seattle locals interested in a green continued education, Alchemy glowingly recommends Pinchot.

To these schools, their students, and all the other people working to combine sustainable practices and education: right on. Thank you. You get it. Green campuses have an impact that goes far beyond their energy or water savings of their campuses—they’re getting an entire generation of graduates interested, engaged, and concerned, and planting some big dreams for how the world could look someday.

Shop Spotlight: Trek Superstore

Shop Name: Trek Superstore(Albuquerque, NM)

Why They Recycle Tubes: Here at the shop, we’re all conscious of the environment and strive to keep ourselves as green as possible. Here in the desert, we really know how to go through tubes. When they reach the end of their day, we feel the best thing to do is give them a great new life with the kind folks over at Alchemy Goods. We love what they do and their products are great! We’d also like to thank goat-heads and many other vicious plans of the desert Southwest for making our contribution possible.

About the Shop: Here at the Trek Bicycle Superstore, we strive for a high level of customer satisfaction. Our staff is the friendliest in town because we know the value of our customers and the community. We’re together in this! Our staff is a mixture of all tube sizes, from Road, Mountain, Cross and BMX. Tubes are one of the highest selling items in the southwest. All hail the Puncture Vine.

Shop Spotlight: Ernie’s Bicycles

Shop Name: Ernie’s Bicycles(Massillon, OH)

Staff Bios:

  • Front row from left to right:
  • Foster, Lorena, and Ernie. Back row left to right: John, Alex, and Joe.
  • Don’t forget Debbie (Ernie’s wife) taking the picture!
  • Who’s also not in the picture: Wayne and Ernie Jr.

Why they recycle: The trash going to the landfills has been bothering Ernie for as long as he can remember. Ernie, as well as the rest of us were VERY happy to find a place to send our tubes and keep them out of the trash. We have a great team that really believes in keeping the environment clean, so it wasn’t hard to get them involved. What we took away from this campaign is how many tubes we have thrown away since 1978, it’s sickening. Hopefully that won’t be the case any longer. We will definitely continue to collect tubes.