More and more brands are examining their carbon footprints and finding ways to do better. These 26 products are all giving Mother Nature a helping hand, in different eco-friendly ways.
The reinvented Teddy Chain Bag from ba&sh is made from Desserto, a truly innovative alternative to leather that is sourced from nopal (prickly pear) cactus. Grown organically in Mexico, the cactus requires no irrigation water, and the resulting eco-friendly Desserto material is soft but durable and contains no petrochemicals. This small bag features a removable chain, recycled cotton lining and recycled acetate buckle.
Because of global warming, algae and its associated toxins are on the rise worldwide. The comfy and lightweight Women’s Bloom Sandals from Hunter are constructed out of Bloom, an eco-friendly material made from algae harvested from affected waterways and used in place of traditional petroleum-based materials.
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The oversized, unisex Camel Overshirt by Ecologyst is made of camel wool ethically sourced from Mongolia. During shedding season, camel hair falls out in clumps, which are then gathered from the ground by hand. The resulting wool is truly a miracle fabric: eco-friendly, soft, insulating and even more durable than sheep wool. The Camel Overshirt also features sustainable Corozo Buttons — as durable and scratch-resistant as plastic, but made from palm tree seeds. All Ecologyst clothing comes with free repairs for life (pretty much the antithesis of fast fashion).
Gentle but nourishing, African black soap is naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Baraka is a family-run business on Vancouver Island, and their bars of African black soap are handcrafted by Ghanaian women from the by-products of shea butter production — a stellar example of the circular economy in action. This multitasking soap works equally well on your face, body and hair, which means a single travel-friendly bar can replace face wash, body wash and shampoo.
Soft, durable, breathable EcoDry fabric — which is made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles — is used in the Save Our Ocean boxer briefs by BN3TH. The Vancouver company prioritizes eco-friendly fabrics and sustainable manufacturing practices, with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon-neutral.
Quebec company BiMoo makes tablecloths and placemats that can be coloured on and wiped off, over and over again. Available in English, French and Spanish, they feature fun designs running the gamut from animals and planets to yoga and emotions. Each one is made from recycled polyester and is certified to meet the Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, meaning every component has been tested and verified to contain no harmful substances.
Any day of the week is the right day to wear a comfy tee or sweats from Good for Sunday. Each piece is ethically made in Canada using sustainable fabrics such as bamboo, organic cotton, linen or hemp. And classic styles mean the pieces never go out of fashion. The Shop Small Organic Cotton Tee is printed using eco-friendly water-based inks.
The new Spring Bloom collection from Moonday includes three all-natural, vegan, soy-wax candles — perfect for encouraging relaxation and slow living: Give Me a Break (coconut, lime), Almost Summer (plumeria, strawberry, lemon) and But First, Laundry (grapefruit, cotton). Other favourites include Boyfriend Sweater (bergamot, magnolia) and Good Morning (cereal, lemon). The Montreal company hand-pours each candle into a recyclable glass jar, and all of the essential oils and fragrances used are free of parabens and phthalates. Plus, by partnering with TreeEra, Moonday helps plant trees around the world.
The name says it all: The Unscented Company makes all-natural products for the body and the home that are completely free of fragrance. The Montreal company’s products are also dye-free and vegan, made from plant- and mineral-based ingredients, and packaged to minimize plastic and make refilling easy. The laundry detergent works well even in cold water, the laundry tabs are convenient but also eco-friendly, and the dryer balls — which are made from wool from free-range sheep — reduce drying time and prevent static cling, without the use of nasty chemicals.
The Signature undershirt by Numi is an ingenious base layer that lets your outer layers go longer between washings. Its thermo-regulating Tencel fabric — made from wood pulp, and processed in a closed-loop facility — keeps you cool and dry, and its absorbent underarm gusset of Contemporary Cotton stops moisture and odours from moving through to the outer garment. It can be worn one way for a scoop neck, or reversed for a crew neck, making it the perfect multitasking addition to any wardrobe. Numi manufactures all of its garments in Toronto.
Wanderruff outfits posh pups of all sizes. The Vancouver company uses post-consumer recycled plastic to make durable, eco-friendly leashes, collars and harnesses in a range of fashion-forward colour combos.
The Lea Dress from Sonday The Label has been cleverly designed to fit from the first month of pregnancy to the baby-bump stage and beyond, with underarm zippers that allow for easy breastfeeding. This body-hugging dress is made from a mix of Tencel lyocell (a soft, sustainable fabric made from wood pulp), organic cotton and spandex. The brand produces all of its garments in Toronto, working only with female-owned manufacturing partners. To reduce waste, off-cuts are used for smaller items such as scrunchies and masks.
Hereward Farms makes small batches of spa-quality, lavender-infused skincare products using natural ingredients, including lavender grown on the family farm in Ontario. Their Pucker Up Lip Balm is especially addictive. This all-natural balm contains lavender, vanilla, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter and beeswax — but no GMOs or parabens.
All of the jeans, jean shorts, dresses and overalls in the Circular Denim collection from Reformation are made from denim scraps that otherwise would have wound up in the landfill. The cotton for the denim comes from Good Earth Cotton, a carbon-positive farm in Australia. And with the RefRecycling program, consumers in the US can recycle their worn-out Reformation denim, sweaters, activewear and shoes — and receive a store credit for their good deed. (The brand is hoping to expand RefRecycling internationally soon.)
The four styles in the new EcoPure collection from WonderBra support “the girls” and the planet at the same time. The bras contain soft polyester made from recycled PET bottles, along with nylon spun from nylon yarn waste and chips collected at the factory — which otherwise would be destined for the landfill.
Facial Toner & Mist
Thayers has been making natural remedies since 1847. Their star ingredient is organic witch hazel that has been macerated, not distilled, making it alcohol-free. The brand is best known for its facial toners, but its facial mists produce the same soothing and hydrating effects, just in a convenient mister. Thayers products are vegan and cruelty-free, and they don’t contain gluten, alcohol, parabens or phthalates.
The soft and cozy Parker Robe by Vancouver company Riot Theory is made from bamboo rayon. Bamboo grows quickly and is naturally renewable, requiring little maintenance, very little water and no pesticides. Riot Theory is committed to sustainable production practices such as avoiding harmful toxins, collecting rainwater and using wind energy, plus they pack their sleepwear in compostable polybags.
Each seasonal subscription box from The Gift Refinery contains six to eight lifestyle products crafted by small Canadian businesses. The spring box includes sustainable goodies such as a crossbody bag by Pixie Mood made from vegan leather and recycled plastic bottles, organic hand sanitizer spray by Dom in a post-consumer recycled plastic bottle, and two organic, fair-trade dark chocolate bars by Joya that contain lion’s mane mushroom extract, which has been shown to boost the immune system and be a rich source of antioxidants.
Smartwool used plant-based dyes to achieve eye-popping colours in an array of their tanks, tees, hoodies and more. These eco-friendly dyes are made from madder root, myrobalan, indigowoad root, lac and granatum. And all of the brand’s merino wool is ZQ-certified, which ensures sustainability and safeguards animal welfare. Wool is a naturally odour-resistant fabric, so it rarely requires laundering.
Cup & Gift Card
Sip sustainably with a reusable cup or tumbler from Starbucks. Your favourite eco-warrior would also appreciate an Earth Month gift card loaded with $5 to $100. After being redeemed, it can be planted to grow flowers.
Truand Truand uses sustainable fabrics — think bamboo, organic cotton and recycled polyester — to make timeless styles such as the unisex, colourblock Daisy Polo. The Quebec company challenges gender and sizing norms in fashion, plus they donate 10% of sales to the Canadian Women’s Foundation.
Byron Bay uses recycled nylon to make their swimsuit tops, bottoms and one-pieces, and their packaging, labelling and tags are all made from recycled materials. Thoughtful touches include shape-enhancement fabric, inner bras, sewn-in cups and silicone details all the way around, to hold the bathing suit in place. The Montreal company also makes kimonos, dresses and other resortwear in matching fabrics, which makes it easy to coordinate a capsule wardrobe on vacation.
Each one-of-a-kind Acacia Woven Handbag is made by hand in Ethiopia using leather scraps. It’s part of Parker Clay’s zero-waste Woven Collection, which uses traditional East African hand-weaving methods to transform what would otherwise be waste materials into beautiful bags. The brand’s leatherworking process uses natural dyes, minimal water and low-impact machinery.
The Force of Nature Sunday Shorty Rompers from Smash + Tess are part of the Earth Day capsule collection launching on April 22. They’re made from the Vancouver brand’s signature fabric: a soft and sustainable rayon from a blend of bamboo and cotton. Viva la romper revolution!
The reversible Mackay Jacket from Canada Goose gives you double the colour choices in one cozy down package. The lightweight fabric — designed to withstand a lot of wind, a little bit of rain and even a touch of snow — is made from 100% recycled nylon. And as of last autumn, Canada Goose has been certified to meet the Responsible Down Standard, which ensures animal welfare in the down and feather industry.
Did you know that pretty much all hair ties are made from plastic? And people lose or throw away more than 15 million of them every day. On April 22, Victoria company Kooshoo is launching a brand-new line of plastic-free round hair ties to accompany their already-popular flat ones. Strong but soft, these handy new hair accessories are made from organic cotton. Choose from two sizes: Mini (great for kids or anyone with fine hair) or Mondo.