Behind-The-Scenes Tour of The Method Factory in Chicago
[Disclaimer: Grove Collaborative sponsored this post. All opinions and photography are our own. Grove Collaborative is also running an amazing offer for our readers. More details on the FREE Method products you’ll receive below!]
You’ve probably seen Method soap products before at the grocery store. I remember strolling through the cleaning aisle and coming across all of these cute and colorful bottles of soap. They were adorable and the cute branding immediately made me plop a new bottle of soap into my cart.Until we were first introduced to Grove Collaborative, I always thought Method only sold those teardrop-shaped bottles of soap. But after digging deeper, I saw that they sold laundry detergent, body wash, even floor cleaner! And since Grove was selling these Method products, I knew they had to be pretty green…since they only sell all-natural and eco-friendly products on their site.
But it wasn’t until last week that I realized what an AMAZING brand Method truly is. Grove asked Bridget & I if we wanted to get a tour of the Method Factory in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago. Since Bridget is back to school (insert Casey’s teardrops here), she wasn’t able to make the trip. But I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to have a fun day and get the behind-the-scenes scoop, so I went and repped the both of us! I figured I would learn a few things, network with people, and see a new neighborhood in Chicago.
But I came away with so much more than that…
Touring the Method Factory
Again, I didn’t really go in with many expectations for the day. I knew that Method made soap and other cool products, and that they had a factory in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago (an area I had never been). I figured touring a factory couldn’t be the most glamorous day, but when we pulled up to the factory, I audibly gasped…
A Factory on a (Green) Mission
Here, in the middle of an industrial area, was this gorgeous and COLORFUL building. Whoa! I had never ever seen a factory (or building for that matter) like this before. They have 22 acres of land and only developed on 3.5 acres of it, leaving the rest for wildlife and natural habitat. The entire grounds are peaceful and tranquil. They even let the local beekeepers use a portion of their land. Here we were in the middle of an industrial area and I saw birds and butterflies flying around. What?! It was kinda mindblowing.
And I quickly realized that this eco-friendly way is at the core of everything they do at the factory.
They have a wind turbine that generates 1/2 of the building’s electrical consumption and 3 solar tracking trees to power the factory. Plus, Method is working towards a zero waste footprint, and their ultimate goal is to use, recycle, or compost absolutely everything that comes into the factory! They make their own plastic bottles on site (out of recycled materials) and fill and box them all in the same area.
It’s clear that they’re a very thoughtful and detail-oriented company on a mission to do good things for the earth. When I heard all of these facts about the factory, I was seriously impressed. But this next tidbit made my heart sing…
Revitalizing the Pullman Neighborhood
Method surveyed many sites for their factory but ultimately decided to build in historic Pullman on the south side of the city. Decades ago, this was a booming area with many factory jobs. But when factories started closing, the neighborhood suffered and it hasn’t been the same since. Method specifically chose this area so they could revitalize the neighborhood and bring jobs to locals. They opened their doors in 2015, and there hadn’t been a new factory open here in 30 years!They’ve since created 130 jobs, with 48% of their hourly employees coming from the local neighborhoods! When I heard that, I was so moved. It’s not often you hear of a big company making these choices to help people who need it most. And you can tell that the people working here absolutely LOVE it! When we arrived, they were all waiting for us in the lobby and they were hooting and hollering, with noisemakers to greet us. It was quite the welcome committee. They were having soooo much fun at 9 am on a Wednesday! When we toured the factory, they told us that they specifically put large windows in so they could get plenty of natural light. When I think of a factory, I usually think of a big dark box…but there was tons of sunlight streaming in through the windows…which made for a very happy work environment. Again, so much attention to detail.
World’s Largest Rooftop Farm
Before we left the factory, they took us up to the rooftop of the building to check out the world’s largest rooftop farm run by Gotham Greens. It’s 75,000 square feet of the most gorgeous greenery you ever did see.When we walked into the greenhouse, my nose was instantly happy. You can’t even imagine how fresh it smelled. I instantly felt healthier just by being in the room. While I have a hardcore brown thumb, I was intrigued to learn more about the Gotham Green mission.
They use hydroponic farming (no soil!), which uses 10x less water than traditional farming. They grow 500 tons of pesticide-free produce each year that then goes out to be sold in the local community. What is harvested that morning immediately goes out to stores in Chicago (I’ve seen their lettuce and herbs at Whole foods and Jewel), so it’s incredibly fresh. I usually hate buying lettuce (unless I have a big salad on the menu plan) because it goes bad so quickly. They say their produce can last for 18 (!) days because it is produced locally. Mind officially blown (and many fresh salads added to my meal plan…).
Loving This Inspiring Brand!
I left the Method factory feeling inspired and rejuvenated while thinking, “Why can’t more companies be this forward thinking?!” I’m trying to do my part to be greener in my home, and I now want to buy products from brands that are doing their part to make the earth a better place too. Now when I see those colorful bottles, I will know that they’re soooo much more than just cute packaging and amazing fragrances.
- Method Laundry Pack
- Wool Dryer Balls (I talk about why they’re my new favorite in this post!).
Those items should help your home become a tad bit greener and support an awesome company with a forward-thinking mission! Use this link to sign up and receive the free products with your order. Extra bonus for our readers, if you spend $39 you’ll receive an enamel cleaning caddy ($14.95 value). It’s great for keeping all your cleaning products organized.
If you’re a Chicagoan (or visiting our city!) you too can visit this inspiring factory. Group tours are held every Wednesday and you can visit this page for more information to check out the southside soapbox. And you even get to rock a fancy hairnet, safety glasses, and a fashionable vest like me…
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.