Seeking out ethical shopping opportunities from the start can help the environment and boost small businesses. Shopping ethically means buying things that are made from organic materials, cruelty-free and by fair trade companies. It also means avoiding products that aren't ethical or sustainable -- such as those made by a company has unsafe working conditions. By shopping ethically, you can choose to support companies that are environmentally friendly, have strong workers' rights and do not test products on animals, according to Ethical Consumer.
Shopping ethically doesn't have to be an afterthought. If you know what you'd like to buy, you can search for ethical brands first to see if you can find a similar product to what you would have from a big box store or major online retailer.
Here are 12 brands to check out to help you make more eco-friendly choices this holiday shopping season. The default shipping for many is in Europe, but if you're ordering from another country, you can specify that during checkout.
My Bamboo is an eco-clothing brand that makes clothes using bamboo instead of cotton. The shop offers apparel, including leggings, socks, shirts, underwear and athleisure for women, men and children. The site also has bibs, blankets and other items for babies.
On Maykher, you can browse sustainable beauty supplies along with candles, seasonal greeting cards, jewelry, fashion accessories, purses, wallets and more. In addition to selling eco-friendly products, 10% of Maykher's annual profits go to educating young women and girls.
If you're in the market for shoes, Po-Zu is a good place to look for sustainable selections. The company creates its products with renewable, responsibly harvested resources that don't contain pesticides, bleach or toxic dyes. It also offers vegan shoes.
Home of Juniper (La Juniper)
Home of Juniper, or La Juniper, offers sustainable home goods, furnishings, fashion accessories, seasonal decorations and more if you're in Europe. Home of Juniper doesn't currently ship to the US but said it is planning to in the future.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust
Bumblebee Conservation Trust has valuable information about bees and gardening, the site also offers bee-themed merchandise like shirts, hoodies and other accessories, a percentage of the profits from which go toward bee conservation. The site also sells books, pins, postcards, posters, gift memberships and more.
Crafted Books by Sue Day
Crafted Books by Sue Day on Etsy has a large selection of handmade Cork Wrap journals, mini notebooks and photo albums. The books are eco-friendly and filled with recycled paper. Day, the shop's owner, says she puts a contemporary twist on traditional bookbinding techniques.
Ethical Market is a mega-hub shop loaded with unique items such as clothes for men, women, kids and babies, gift ideas, shampoos, soaps, home decor, makeup and stationary. When you click on an item to view it closer, Ethical Market will let you know if it's fairly made, sustainable, handmade, vegan and cruelty-free. The items are also reasonably priced.
Garçon Wines applies eco-friendly elements to packing and the flat design of the bottles -- which are made from pre-existing, recycled materials. Plus, the flat bottles save space since they can be packed or stored like books.
Even though purchasing reusable drink containers can cut down on waste, some of them are still made of plastic. WakeCup offers sustainable coffee cups, travel mugs, water bottles, tea infusers, shopping bags, lunch sets, straws and similar items in its shop.
Positive Earth Unique Furniture
We might not think about our furniture when it comes to sustainability, since we're likely to keep those pieces for a long time. But the origins of your tables and chairs matter too. Positive Earth Unique Furniture sells handmade pieces that come from reclaimed timber like pallets and scaffolding boards, and many other materials that would otherwise be thrown away. You can check out what the shop has to offer on its eBay page.
Other information and resources
- Ethical Consumer is a site that uses an ethical rating system to rank its product guides. For example, if you wanted to vet designer clothing brands, Ethical Consumer ranked multiple brands based on animal treatment, environmental impact, how the workers are treated, if the product is sustainable and how the company has participated politically.
- Ethical Fashion offers dozens of articles about why sustainability is important and DIY eco-friendly tips for everyday life. Ethical Fashion also has a brand directory to help you find eco-friendly brands or avoid those that aren't. For example, if you click on Bath and Body in the directory, the site will give you a list of ethical brands and links to their websites.
- Ethical Clothing Australia works similarly to Ethical Fashion. The site has resources for Australian businesses to get accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia, a list of businesses, manufacturers and brands accredited by the ECA, and more.