3 Ways to Retire Your Old American Flag (and a few fun facts)

flag sparkler

Can you believe that the Fourth of July is just around the corner?

In between planning a festive weekend full of BBQs, fireworks, and lake activities (at least for those of us here in the land of 10,000 lakes), we found ourselves wondering: What happens to American flags when they reach the end of their life?

We did some digging and found that there are several appropriate way to dispose of (and recycle!) the American flag.

But first, a few facts about the nation’s flag that we learned along the way:

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5 Reasons to Get Excited About the 2015 Green Sports Alliance Summit

This year’s Green Sports Alliance (GSA) Summit is just around the corner and we could not be more excited for this year’s event. The annual gathering, which is taking place in Chicago from June 29-July 1 this year, brings more than 800 industry stakeholders together to share ideas, spark conversations, and promote sustainable business practices within the sports industry.

Since 2012, we’ve partnered with the GSA to provide conference bags made from repurposed materials for their attendees, and we love having the opportunity to connect with members of the sports community to talk fan engagement and sustainability.

Whether this is your first time hearing of the GSA Summit or you’re a veteran attendee, here are five reasons why we are excited to be attending this year’s event:

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Eco Excellence Awards: We need your help!

We are excited to announce that we are a finalist for the 2015 Eco-Excellence Awards™! The Eco-Excellence awards are the only ones to recognize excellence in the world of sustainability and social responsibility.

Not one, but three of our products are in the running and we need your help to take home the prize! To help us bring home the gold, we’re sweetening the deal:

Cast a vote for our products below and you could win one of the products for yourself!

To enter:

  1. Head over to NCW’s voting page and cast your vote for one (or all!) of our products
  2. Send us a note by posting on our Facebook page (/relanbag) or tweeting us at @relanbag to let us know which products you voted for
  3. If we win in any one of the categories, we will select a lucky winner to take home a product they voted for!

Cast your vote now!



Now, let us introduce you to the products in the running:

Wicked Purse: Accessories for Mom

Flower and Red Wicked

Our beloved “Wicked” purse is made from upcycled vinyl billboards and banners and lined with repurposed fabric.  Each purse is one-of-a-kind so you never have to worry about being out and seeing someone carrying your same bag.  With this purse, we are doing our part to keep part of the over 600,000 tons of vinyl that is discarded each year out of our landfills.

The Wicked Purse was selected as a finalist in the Fashion Category under the Accessories for Mom section.


Messenger Bag: Accessories for Dad

Messenger Bag

Our “Saddle Bag” reflects the old Western-style messenger bag with rounded corners and additional pockets. The external slash pocket is handy for quickly stashing papers and the inside zippered pocket keeps valuables safe. The bag is created using repurposed vinyl, has an adjustable shoulder or cross body strap and double clip closure. Great for carrying all of your business and personal items, and looking fashionable and eco-friendly at the same time.  With this messenger bag you can help reduce the carbon footprint of vinyl, a hard to recycle material.

Our messenger bag was selected as a finalist in Fashion Category under the Accessories for Dad section.


Backpack: Kids Accessories

Kids Bakcpack (1)

This simple, durable, and versatile backpack is perfect for all your carrying needs. With adjustable shoulder straps and velcro closure you can carry all of the kids school supplier easily in this one bag.  Coolest part is no one else at school will have the same bag and they can teach their friends and teachers about upcycling!  Created with upcycled vinyl.  Not only can your kids learn about upcycling, but they can do their part to make our planet a little better and cleaner place to live by keeping this vinyl out of our landfills.

Our backpack was selected as a finalist in Fashion Category under the Accessories for Kids section.


Voting starts today and we need your help to take the award home. Visit the NCW’s voting page to cast your vote now and help us bring home the title!

About NCW Magazine:

NCW Magazine is the leading lifestyle publication that addresses the needs of the modern family. Beautiful photography, thought-provoking editorial content, and a clear focus on ecologically and socially responsible consumer values makes NCW Magazine an unmatched destination for everything modern, sustainable and beautifully crafted. The #1 resource for parents who want to make better choices for themselves and the people they love the most, without sacrificing the things they like the most. From design in Copenhagen to fashion in New York, to lifestyle and well-being around the globe, NCW Magazine offers a global look at parenting in the modern world.

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Zero Waste: What We Can Learn from Diageo’s Sustainable Business Practices

From Ketel One to Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal and Guinness, Diageo’s brands are recognized across the globe. A leader in the beverage industry, Diageo is responsible for brands in spirits, beer, and wine, and collectively, the company produces 6.5 billion liters of product annually in over 30 countries.


Diageo Brands(Image courtesy of The Drum)


With such a large footprint, sustainability and responsibility is a focused investment area for Diageo; a part of their purpose “to help our consumers celebrate life, every day, everywhere, and to do so responsibly.” According to their website, Diageo’s focus on sustainability and responsibility is all-encompassing:

“Putting the principles of sustainability and responsibility into practice means accounting for our most material social and environmental impacts in every aspect of what we do – from sourcing raw materials, to running our manufacturing safely and efficiently, to influencing how our brands are sold and consumed.”

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The Buzz Behind Fair Trade Coffee Companies and Sustainability

There is a lot of buzz around sustainability in the coffee industry. Stop in your local coffee shop and you are likely to find biodegradable cups, stories about the farmers who source the shop’s beans, and the fair trade-certified label next to the coffee selection. As Triple Pundit put it, sustainability in the coffee industry has transformed into “a fully recognized strategic business management tool.”

Grant Wish, writer for Stand4 Magazine, pulled together a great list of 15 fair trade coffee companies that are championing sustainability (including our very own Minnesota-grown, Spyhouse). Check out his article below and be sure to check out his post over at Stand4.

peace-coffee(Courtesy of Peace Coffee)

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How Anheuser-Busch is Championing Sustainability

Anheuser Busch

(Photo courtesy of Anheuser-Busch)

Anheuser-Busch is no stranger to sustainability. Listed at the top of the charts for brewing companies across both the U.S. and the globe, Anheuser-Busch holds a nearly 50% share of U.S. beer sales to retailers. With that title comes a leadership obligation, one that the company has taken seriously when it comes to sustainability efforts in the beverage industry.

According to their website, Anheuser-Busch focuses primarily on water, energy, and recycling as part of their sustainability efforts across their global operations. The brewer has reduced water use by 45% in the past decade and has a 99.6% recycling rate across their twelve U.S. breweries. Anheuser-Busch also committed to reducing carbon emissions in their logistics operations by 15% by the end of 2017, which would be a first for the brewing industry. Claudio Braz Ferro, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Chief Supply Officer, estimates that this effort will reduce 230,000 tons of carbon emissions – enough to power nearly 21,000 homes in the U.S.

We had the opportunity to visit Anheuser-Busch’s Los Angeles brewery recently, thanks to a tour set up through the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, where we were able to see the company’s sustainable operations first hand.

Here are a few things we learned on our visit to the brewery:

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7 Winemakers On Top of Sustainability Practices

Sustainability in the winemaking business seems to be common practice these days. A number of certifications now exist for vineyards and wineries to highlight their sustainability practices, from energy efficiency to biodiversity, waste management and more. While certifications exist across regions, we took a look at two California-based certification programs to find out what they look for in sustainable vineyards.

The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing is California’s first third-party certified sustainable winegrowing program. According to their website, the Lodi Rules “takes a comprehensive approach to farming that goes beyond just pest management to promote practices that enhance biodiversity, water and air quality, soil health, and employee and community well-being.” If a winemaker wants to bear the Lodi Rules seal, their wine must be at least 85% produced using ingredients from certified vineyards, and vineyards need to qualify for certification annually.

Another California-based certification program, Sustainability in Practice (SIP), touts over 32,000 certified acres across California. The program focuses on factors such as: Air and water quality, social responsibility, integrated pest management, and continuing education. They, too, require a minimum of 85% certified fruit in order to bare the SIP seal.

We took a look at Lodi Rules- and SIP-certified winemakers across California, and picked 7 of our favorite sustainable wineries right now:

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