In celebration of Earth Day, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite eco-friendly products and brands. From items to help you green-up your beauty routine, to sustainable linens and towels, we’ve got you covered all day long. These eco-conscious brands produce minimal environmental impact while still maintaining high levels of quality in their products so you never have to sacrifice style for substance!
It is easy to forget how products that can be so beneficial to us, can be equally as detrimental to the environment. Cleansers and scrubs with microbeads, often non-biodegradable or dissolvable, are becoming increasingly problematic*. These microbeads are small enough to pass through just about every filtration system, making their arrival into our oceans inevitable and unavoidable. Despite their seemingly harmless size, microbeads and other forms of microplastics are anything but. Creating a different kind of waste are single-use pore strips and makeup remover wipes which can quickly add-up. Fig + Yarrow’s products are made from all natural and mostly organic ingredients and are contained in eco-friendly packaging. They have products for all of your beauty and skincare needs ranging from “Cardamom+Coffee Body Scrub,” to “Herbal Pore Steams,” to “Rose+Vanilla Tinted Lip Blush.” Their line of pore steams in particular, is an alternative to single-use and non-biodegradable products, that results in minimal waste. If you are steadfast in your ways and deeply feel the need to use nightly makeup wipes, try finding a brand with biodegradable cloth like these.
*On December 28, 2015, President Obama signed into law H.R. 1321, a.k.a. the “Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015”. This law bans the use of microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics effective July 1, 2017. While that will drastically help in the effort to keep our waterways clean(er), immense damage has already been done. Studies are being conducted to measure the long term impacts they can have on aquatic life, and our food supply. It is almost impossible to rid our waters of these non-biodegradable beads since they are defined as small plastic particles measuring less than five millimeters. It doesn’t matter if you already have it in your home; next time you reach for your go-to, plastic-ridden face wash, imagine trying to eat around billions of pinheads. No thank you.
EcoTools produces eco-friendly beauty tools that are high in quality and low in environmental impact. Their makeup brushes are cruelty-free and made of recycled aluminum and renewable bamboo. Lightweight and durable, they are packaged in reusable cosmetic cases that are printed on 100% tree-free paper made from bamboo and Cotton fiber, so you never have to be without them. With such affordable prices, and vast distribution, you have no excuses! The brand has been lauded by several beauty and fashion publications, as well as by (our personal spirit animal) the wonderful, philanthropic, not to mention, beautiful Sophia Bush. She and EcoTools have partnered with The Girl Project, which is an initiative aimed at increasing girls’ access to education AROUND THE GLOBE. Hell yeah.
LUSH is a cosmetic breath of fresh air, and has been since its inception. Their products are 100% vegetarian (and are even tested on human volunteers as opposed to animals); often containing fruits and vegetables, and sometimes coconut, lanolin, milk, eggs, honey, and beeswax. They have an “ethical buying” team whose sole purpose is to travel around the globe to ensure that LUSH ingredient sourcing, and production doesn’t negatively impact the social and environmental well-being of the workers there or the land they live on. LUSH products are contained in as minimal packaging as possible and some are completely “naked” or package free!
“We look to the simplest forms of packaging to do the job and use post-consumer or post-industrial recycled materials that are 100% recyclable, compostable and biodegradable whenever possible.” – LUSH
With an ethos deeply-rooted in charity and community, LUSH sells a hand and body lotion called “Charity Pot,” to help spread their good service. 100% of the proceeds from this product go to organizations supporting causes such as environmental conservation, animal welfare, and human rights. To go one step further and promote the recycling of the black pots used to house liquid products, they offer free Fresh Face Mask for every five empty ones returned.
With ‘fast fashion’ brands, continuously mass-producing newer and extremely inexpensive garments, most people just shop at such stores without realizing the damage they are contributing to when they do so. Reformation is just that, a reformation. Their on-trend and high-quality clothing comes at a fraction of the environmental impact generated by many other fashion brands. Their garments are not only manufactured in their own sustainable sewing factory, but they go even further to cut waste by sourcing sustainable fabrics and vintage garments. They even promote sustainability in their factories, stores and shipping practices with heat-reflecting roofs, the use of renewable energy, recycled hangers, and 100% recycled packaging for every order shipped. It doesn’t stop there. To combat the 68 pounds of clothing per person, per year thrown away in America, Reformation created an incredibly easy recycling program. Every online purchase is sent with an additional shipping label. Use it to send them (for free) any unwanted clothes and they will take care of the rest! You can login to your Reformation profile and log the label number to track your shipments, see where your old stuff is going, and the positive environmental impact you made.
“If every American recycled one more T-shirt a year, we would recover 210 billion gallons of water alone. And – hand on heart – we all have at least one ugly t-shirt in our closets, that we should probably say goodbye to.” -Reformation
We are particularly excited to include Kalypto in today’s roundup. Created around the desire to do good and look good, Kalypto is a socially conscious, uniquely crafted underwear brand. Inspired by the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree, which sheds layers of bark to reveal its true colors, the sisters behind Kalypto are determined to help us all “live our truths and stay authentic.” Believing in beauty on the inside and out, the inside of all of their underwear will be lined with the “Rainbow Eucalyptus print”, which is not only beautiful, but will also help to disguise any unpleasant stains. For every pair of underwear purchased, a portion of the profit goes toward distributing environmentally friendly feminine hygiene kits (which are locally, sustainably produced and provide new jobs for local men and women) to women in developing countries. Receiving a kit will give girls in the developing world the opportunity to live up to their full potential. Each comes packaged in a drawstring bag that doubles as a backpack, and includes:
- 8 reusable sanitary pads, which last up to 3 years
- 3 pairs of underwear
- Soap to wash the sanitary pads
- Waterproof bag to safely store used sanitary pads
- Educational insert on proper sanitary pad usage
- Lifeskills booklet
“Whether it’s slipping into a pair of underwear she feels amazing in, or providing life-changing sanitary products to a girl in need, we are on a mission to empower women everywhere” -Sam & Ali Darrow.
Ethletic creates eco-friendly footwear in a variety of classic styles that are not only Fair Trade and certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), but are even biodegradable. The cotton used is 100% Fairtrade and the soles are comprised of 100% natural latex rubber; bonded by natural latex milk (all shoes are vegan). Fifteen percent of every purchase also goes to support the Workers Welfare Society, to fund education, healthcare, pensions, micro-loans, etc. We are, and have always been, lovers of Converse All-Star Chuck Taylors. I (Gaby) have had countless pairs and was even that girl in high school who wore hot pink Chucks to Homecoming. While we didn’t know better at the time, the environmental cost of such footwear does not escape us. Enter, ETHLETIC. They produce old school “trainers” that are (strikingly) similar to the iconic Chucks, and in almost every color. We recognize the problem with knockoffs and would prefer alternative companies to create their own unique styles and designs, but we are eager to purchase products, and in this case sneakers, from companies where we can avoid contributing to pollution and irreversibly damaging the planet. Switching to Ethletics seems like a great start, and they will finally be featured in their first U.S. shop at the end of May.
Woodzee makes wooden sunglasses out of natural and renewable resources and recycled materials like old skateboards and whiskey barrels. They have a recycling program where you can send back your old Woodzee sunglasses and they will take care of recycling the pieces (and also offer you a 40% discount on a next pair). Using nature and natural resources to produce goods isn’t in its own right, the worst thing. It’s when we deplete them or use them with blatant disregard for their continued existence, that we end up in trouble. Because they are made from wood, and Woodzee promotes a reciprocal relationship with nature, for every pair you purchase, you will also be responsible for the planting of a new tree.
We are big proponents of glass water bottles and have used several different brands; ultimately deciding bkr is our favorite. bkr uses a minimalist design, fashionable colors, and eco-friendly materials and practices to produce the ideal reusable glass bottle. They come in three sizes and contain a colored silicone sleeve to add grip and personality. It also makes yours easy to distinguish from someone else’s. The silicone sleeve is non-toxic, protects the glass, insulates the beverage, but more importantly, is 100% recyclable. When you buy a bkr, a portion of the proceeds go into supporting global and domestic organizations and initiatives such as The Canary Foundation and the Obakki Foundation.
Do you like sleeping? We do, It’s usually when most of our brilliant ideas develop, and therefore, we take our beds very seriously. It’s our version of a thinking cap, if you will. Aside from the thread count or how soft your linens are, have you ever put much thought into the process that goes into making them? Boll & Branch products are incredible alternatives if you are looking for greener and more socially conscious linens. The company employs a simple, yet positive three-part business model: the use of all natural, 100% organic cotton, a fair trade supply chain, factory-direct pricing for their luxury products (50-75% less than traditional retail costs). They even have a new bath and towel collection launching this Earth day to add to their existing line of natural products. These items are un-dyed and “in their natural earth-inspired shade.” Everything in the collection is sustainable and was created with ethically-sourced organic cotton just like their other products. The collection ranges in price from $12 to $45, and is now available online.
In addition to “remaining rooted in fairness from farmer to factory worker,” a portion of every purchase goes toward “Not For Sale,” an organization to further fight human trafficking. Now you can sleep well, knowing you are also doing well.
Size doesn’t necessarily matter… in terms of the waste that ends up in our oceans. Yet again, sometimes it’s the smaller plastic items that can do the most damage. Plastic straws are an avoidable form of consumer waste that has become increasingly problematic and dangerous to marine ecosystems. Because of their size, straws are commonly consumed by marine animals resulting in sometimes fatal injuries. An eco-friendly and much more elegant alternative to such wastefulness is a glass straw. Durable and producing minimal waste, Simply Straws’ biodegradable glass straws are a new must have. Even if they do happen to end up in the ocean, they eventually turn into sand and sea glass. They come in a few different styles of bend and also various colors. If you’re wondering how to keep them safe and always with you, the company also makes protective sleeves to carry them around in, that just so happen to be made from fair-trade, organic hemp, flax, and cotton.