IT’S HARD TO AVOID BEING AT LEAST A LITTLE ECO-FRIENDLY IN 2015.
This generation naturally tends toward recycling, biking, and trying to make the world a better place. We throw around the word sustainable, but what does it really mean? A sustainable product is one that provides environmental, social, or economic benefits while also protecting the environment through the span of the product’s life cycle. Spring is here just in time for you to use some of the awesome products coming from below the Mason Dixon Line: we’re spending time outside hiking, going to festivals, and lounging beside bodies of water. Here are some sustainable products made right here in the south, prime for any Earth Day adventure.
There’s no denying the importance of drinking water. It cures all. Yet many water bottles on the market are made with chemicals that are harmful to the environment and could be harmful to your body as well. The Austin-based ThinkSport has created the exact solution to your problem. They’ve created the first BPA-free insulated bottle on the market. They’re made from stainless steel, will keep contents cold for 16 hours, and they don’t get that annoying bottle sweat. You won’t want to leave your house without it.
Get your hands on some Feelgoodz sandals. Kyle Berner is a New Orleans native making all-natural rubber flip flops. Headquartered in North Carolina, Feelgoodz has a national following for their super comfy footwear. They’re made in Thailand from rubber trees in a process called rubber capping. Their dyes are made from plants and sand and all of their craftsmen are paid fair wages. Feelgoodz flip flops are made for the conscious consumer who wants comfortable footwear.
Tasc Performance produces durable, high-performance workout gear that’s also polyester-free. Most of their products are sourced from bamboo and their process is entirely petroleum free, unlike many other sportswear brands – and better yet, 99% of their solution is recovered and reused. The end result is sportswear that’s breathable, non-irritating to skin, odor free, and has UPF 50+ sun protection. Not to mention you can get some pretty cute clothes. They carry leggings, socks, pullovers, all for a variety of workouts.
So you’ve got your BPA free water bottle, all-natural flip flops, and your bamboo clothing: now you need an eco-friendly bag to carry all of your new eco-friendly products. Enter Tchoup Industries. The New Orleans-based brand has made it their mission to build bags that support the local community while also having a reduced impact on the environment. Their bags are handmade locally from all-natural fabrics and repurposed materials. From backpacks to messenger bags to fanny packs, all of their bags are durable, spacious, and perfect for everything from camping to toting around your laptop. Take this bag on trips around the world or even in your own backyard: the only requirement is that you use them for discovery and exploration.
If you’re a consumer who cares about the environment and wants to know what’s really in your sunscreen, then you need to use Florida-based Tropical Seas Reef Safe Sunscreen. What most people don’t realize is that approximately 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off annually into the oceans and affect the fragile ecosystems. Tropical Seas tested their sunscreen on various water samples and concluded that after 90 days, 99% of the sunscreen had biodegraded. Their sunscreens range from 15 to 50 SPF and will protect even the most freckly, fair skinned, redheads you know. Good for you, good for the environment: you really can’t lose.
Koru Swimwear was created with the idea that swimwear could be functional, fashionable, and constructed with an eco-minded approach. Their suits are made from a mix of Lycra and recovered fishing nets, after which 1% of each purchase goes toward helping recover more fishing nets. Koru is based in Florida and exudes its home state’s carefree beach vibe. Their swimsuits come in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles, for every body type. It’s one way to make swimsuit season a little less painful.
SWEET OLIVE SOAPS
Sweet Olive Soaps Works is a soap company created by Emily Davis, a New Orleans local who uses soap techniques passed down by her grandmother. All of her soaps are handcrafted and made from natural and local ingredients, some of which she even grows in her own backyard. She uses goats milk, beer, fruit juices, walnuts, aloe vera, and even Sazerac Rye Whiskey. You almost want to take a bite (but don’t, it’s still soap). All of the soaps are sulfate-free and paraben-free, meaning what you’re putting on your body is safe and good for your conscience.
For the perfect boho outfit this festival season, check out the Austin-based brand Teysha. Not only are their hats, boots, and sandals beautiful, they’re also made in a socially conscious and eco-friendly way. All of their textiles are handwoven by artisans in Guatemala and Panama. Teysha partners with the artisans in a collaborative effort to produce quality clothing and footwear while responsibly compensating the artists. You can custom order their hats and boots online or at their pop-up shops, and they’ll have a booth at Jazz Fest this year.
What’s better than lounging around in the sunshine while a cool breeze rushes over you? The only thing that makes this situation even better is doing it while in a hammock. That’s where Kammok comes in, it’s a zero-end-waste camping hammock that’s lightweight, easy to travel with, and high quality. The brand was started by Greg McEvily in Austin, Texas; he thought that if people used camping hammocks with nets integrated in them in developing countries, it would help stop the spread of diseases like malaria.
The options for fast fashion are endless, but if you’re looking to purchase well made clothing with a humanitarian mission, then you’ll love Passion Lilie. Passion Lilie is a New Orleans-based women’s clothing brand dedicated to empowering women who live in remote countries by giving them access to dignified employment. They’re part of the Fair Trade Federation, meaning they support fair wages and healthy working conditions. They’re carried in retailers all throughout the country, showing that ethical fashion doesn’t have to be boring.