I don't like using the banal term, ‘eco-friendly,’ because in this day and age, good design is essentially ‘green’. Many companies have developed and produced sustainable goods — that respect resources and minimize environmental impacts — for eons. (For example, Farrow & Ball, Montauk, Hästens, Ikea, to name just a few.)
You can add Portico to the list as well. What was once an upscale bedding and bath shop in Manhattan has grown into a trusted brand known for its sophisticated, livable aesthetic. They focus solely on textiles, with several retail locations across the U.S. The good news for us here in Canada is that their organic bedding and bath linens, such as the towels above, are now available at most major Sears stores.
Model/activist Summer Rayne Oakes is the company’s brand ambassador. Not just a pretty face, she has multiple science degrees and is widely known for only working with, and modeling for, companies whose environmental philosophies are aligned with her own. I admire her conviction and can only imagine being ballsy enough to turn down a big campaign because the clothes were made in China. Whether you accept her stamp of approval or not, I am vouching for the simple appeal of the company’s organic textiles and Oeko-Tex certified cotton bedding. The organic cotton slub towels (above) are plush and wash really well. Plus, the colour selection is fantastic — they are the new neutrals. The prices are surprisingly reasonable: $40 for the large bath towel and about $188 for a queen size duvet with shams.
Since I’m on the topic of sustainable production processes, I thought I’d share a few more of my favourites. I have to confess, I thought I would remain true to Tide forever, even after a great presentation in our office by Method when they were launching this new detergent. Then I tried it, and now I'm hooked. The pump spout is so smart and foolproof I can’t believe nobody thought of it sooner. I love the Fresh Air scent, but the Free + Clear is fragrance free. The bottle is small and light, so I don’t break a sweat lugging my laundry to the machines anymore, either.
Thanks to Twitter, I discovered these minimalist speakers designed by Joey Roth, available through the Canadian e-store, Generate. Except for the wiring, they have absolutely no plastic. Instead, Roth used ceramic, birch and cork. The system consists of a speaker, an amplifier with a stainless steel-covered cast iron base (that you don’t see here), and wood volume slider. I love the low-tech look that makes it more like a sculptural art piece than electronics.
Not all products from China are toxic. Japanese company Wasara produces their biodegradable dishware at an ISO generic and environmentally certified facility in China. Made with sugarcane fibre, bamboo and reed pulp, the whole collection is beautiful. I would probably keep it for a while just to look at it, because it's designed for single use and completely compostable. This piece, called Choko, could be a bowl or tumbler. It's available through the San Francisco online store, Branch.
My ideal world would be lit with sunshine all day and a dim, candlelight glow at night. So, I’m a sucker for pretty white candles in simple glass jars. Trillium’s soy candles fit the bill, with fragrances that are detectable but not overpowering. They are 100% non-toxic soy wax, made in Nelson, B.C., and burn for 35 hours. And at $18 each, they don’t break the bank like other high-end lines.
April 22nd is Earth Day, but we really should make an effort everyday. One of the best ways to tread more gently on the planet is to reduce consumption by buying smarter and better products. Hopefully these ideas are inspirational. If you have more to share, please leave a comment and let us know!
For more eco inspiration, view our Green Design photo gallery.