MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nielsen predicts in two years, consumers will spend roughly $150 billion on products that have one word attached to them: sustainability.

The eco-friendly options are growing for companies of all sizes, including Northeast Minneapolis-based Great Lakes Northern Outfitter.

Among its line of lake attire are swimming trunks made of post-consumer plastic bottles.

Co-founder David Burke said the company’s factory in China supplies plastic water bottles, cuts them up into chips, then again into plastic beads. That, then, gets spun into polyester.

When talking about the “why,” Burke cites a statistic from the Alliance for the Great Lakes, saying more than 22 million pounds of plastic end up in the Great Lakes along every year.

“The plastic also unfortunately doesn’t ever go away, either,” said Burke. “It just grinds up into these micro plastics. So this was an awesome way to not pollute anymore, and use what’s already out there.”

At $64 a pair, it comes at a hefty price, but one that’s comparable to similar brands.

“We raised, ever so slightly, the swimsuit prices from last year,” said Burke. “Again, materials cost a little bit more. But I would say our customers are used to a premium product, and they want a premium product.”

Nielsen’s study shows almost half — 48 percent — of people would likely spend more to lessen their impact on the environment.

The trend stretches beyond clothing. Target’s new line, Everspring, promises a lower environmental impact at a lower cost than its competitors.

Everspring touts its sustainability efforts both in the ingredients and the containers they come in. When it comes to cost, Target’s all-purpose cleaner is priced at $2.99 per 28 fluid ounce bottle.

On Target’s website, that’s cheaper per ounce than Mrs. Meyer’s brand ($3.99 for 16 fl. oz.). It’s also cheaper than Method ($3.29 for 28 fl. oz.), and Seventh Generation ($3.99 for 26 fl. oz.).

However, Green Works was the same price as Everspring for a bigger bottle ($2.99 for 32 fl. oz.). Conventional cleaners are, industry-wide, cheaper still.

Christiane Cordero

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