We all want to feel pampered and cozy at home. Whether we are lighting some candles, using a fluffy towel after a warm bath, lounging in comfy pants, or sliding into a set of crisp cotton sheets, the materials we choose have a huge impact on the earth. Choosing materials sourced and created in a sustainable way is key to feeling totally at ease.
There are a few materials to keep in mind that are comfy, cozy, and eco-friendly.
Bamboo is a quick-growing plant (it’s actually a type of grass) that can be harvested in as little as two years. It grows shoots from its existing root system once harvested so it doesn’t need replanting, and it grows well on its own without fertilizer or pesticides. Opt for organic because new organic processing methods don’t use chemicals. Bamboo in hardwood form makes great flooring, furniture and building materials. Paper, chopsticks, charcoal and mulch are all bamboo product options. But to bring that cozy feeling to your home, opt for bamboo textiles made into clothing, bedding and bath.
We often most enjoy bedding and bath linens made of cotton, which has a bad rap. It uses high amounts of water and is one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet. Choose fair trade organic cotton to ensure you’re getting textiles made without harmful chemicals and carcinogens. Opt for more neutral colours like pale greens, light browns and creams because those are most often dyed with more natural methods. While cotton still uses vast amounts of water, you can at least avoid toxic waste. Whether you’re looking for clothing, bed and bath linens, drapery—name a textile object and you can find a fair trade organic options.
For clothing, linen is an excellent material for lounge and fashion wear, especially during hot summer months. It’s made from flax seed, and yet again the key is to opt for fair trade organic. Like bamboo, it can be grown, cultivated and processed without chemicals, so it’s important to look for companies that are doing just that.
Another great clothing option is hemp. Like bamboo, it is a very high-yield crop. The growing and production processes don’t require chemicals or vast amounts of water. The textiles it creates are either super strong and durable (great for a backpack or upholstery) or supple and soft (hello comfy pants!).
As long as you’re cool with the fact that wool is an animal product, it’s highly environmentally friendly. It can be manufactured without chemicals and it retains dye very easily which also reduces chemical use. Wool can replace a lot of synthetics, like polyester fleece, and actually lasts longer and performs better. (Wool will keep you warm even if it’s damp! Take that, fleece vest.)
As far as clothes, blankets, drapery, placemats and other textiles go, choosing anything made from natural fabrics will avoid the problem of releasing microplastics into our water systems, which impact fish and wildlife. Spending a couple hours at a thrift store searching for pre-loved options is another an earth-friendly route. Bonus points if it’s made from one of the aforementioned earth-friendly fabrics.
Beyond textile products, beeswax and soy wax are natural and don’t require chemical processing. Beeswax is 100% natural, and soy wax is minimally processed hydrogenated soybean oil, so you can enjoy the warm glow of a flickering flame and feel at peace.
While masks, scrubs and elixirs leave your skin pampered and glowing, they’re not always as great for the planet. Opt for face masks, cleansers, scrubs that are powdered (as opposed to sheet masks) and packaged in recyclable and/or recycled packaging. Look for products made of environmentally sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients, like aloe, bentonite clay or matcha. If you’re feeling really gung-ho, you can even look up recipes online to make your own face care products, thus avoiding the packaging all together—nothing says spa day like avocado or banana and oats smeared all over your face, right?
When buying new items, check for labels of third-party certification, like Eco-Cert, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), or the Soil Association.
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