“Upland Road sells eco-friendly gifts, clothes, accessories, and household items that are both environmentally-friendly and fairly-made,” owner Mindy Gregory Sieber tells us. Mindy lives in Waban, her kids went through the Newton public school system and she is an active board member of the Newton Cultural Council, Newton Open Studios and… Green Newton!
Upland Road is an independent, online eco-retail store: www.UplandRoad.com. When you order from them and mention Green Newton (in the notes section at checkout, or in person), Upland Road will donate 10% of the value of your order to Green Newton.
Everything Upland Road sells is eco-friendly in some way. The components are either grown or produced in a way that has lower impact on the environment than conventionally produced goods (for example recycled and organically grown products), or allow for the user to save energy by using it (for example solar flashlights). The way we run our business is also eco-friendly, meaning we take care to use recycled and environmentally friendly shipping materials and take environmental outcomes into consideration when making all of our decisions about the business.
Upland Road helps people make a positive impact on the environment through their everyday decisions and purchases. Shopping for eco-friendly goods helps to green the economy as well as our planet. It sends a message to producers and legislators that the health and safety of the environment is important to us.
One example of the impact we can make is by becoming knowledgeable and selective about our clothing purchases. Most people don’t realize that conventionally grown cotton is the most pesticide-intensive crop in the world. It uses 25% of the herbicides and 16% of the pesticides used globally on just 2.5% of the cropland. These chemicals are devastating to the environment, as the pesticides leach into the soil and get into waterways. Farm workers outside of the US rarely have any protection, so they are exposed to these chemicals directly, as is everyone who resides nearby. Thousands die each year, and many more contract chronic illnesses. Additionally, the production process of treating and dyeing fabric accounts for 20% of the water pollution in China.
In America, more than 60 lbs. of clothing per person per year go into landfill! It’s important to donate clothes, don’t throw them away. Even if they are ragged or stained, Goodwill can use the fabric to create stuffing or re-use the fibers in other ways. The negative consequences of fast fashion are huge and we the consumers can do something about it by choosing not to buy so much new clothing and to carefully consider what we do buy, in an informed manner.
I do my best to live green and am always interested in learning new ways to make a difference. I re-use, reduce and recycle as much as possible. For example, I try to buy products with as little packaging as possible, shop for organic food and clothing, compost, donate my used goods to Goodwill or offer it for free on NewtonFreecycle.org or other local online networks, and I bundle up as much as possible indoors in the winter so I can keep my household temperature low.
My Green Tip: Shopping at yard sales, second-hand stores and on eBay (and at UplandRoad.com) is good for the environment! All offer great opportunities to re-use and recycle goods that might otherwise go into landfill, and allow us to avoid the negative environmental impact of the production process for new products one might otherwise buy.
Our store is only online: www.UplandRoad.com, but we do occasionally show at local fairs and events. Check our website for upcoming shows where you can see and shop for our goods in person.
This interview has been edited and condensed. If you know of a small business that is green and in Newton, please let us know for future interviews: firstname.lastname@example.org.