More Ecologically-Friendly And Fair Trade Products
Being environmentally conscious does not mean that you have to return to the days of the horse and buggy - unless, of course, you want to.
However, it does mean a radical shift in how we think about our world and how we think about our purchases. Throw away is "out": quality and durability combined with sustainable manufacture and materials is "in".
The days of painfully unattractive green products are also out. Just because we want to be green doesn't mean that we don't want to have products with personality. That might just be the saving grace of the "new" green movement - a sense of play has returned to it, with a renewed enthusiasm both for good quality and attractive items.
Bags, Bags and More Bags
I have really started to get excited about the number and variety of bags that are available on the market - both as reusable shopping bags and handbags.
Here's a site that will sell you bags that you can use as both! Mad Imports brings in bags of all sorts - from weekender totes to market day beauties - from the countries of Kenya and the island of Madagascar. One of their bestsellers is the Lug Carryall, that has even been featured in both the New York Times Style section and In-Style Weddings. (Guess even a bride has to have something to carry her gear in.)
Can't do without your leather handbag? Check out Not Just Pretty. These folks carry purses from Ashley Watson that are made from recycled leather.
If you want something really unusual, visit Eco-Handbags. These folks really understand the need to express your personality through your accessories! Would you consider a handbag made of chopsticks? Or perhaps that perfect purse for the evening, made from vinyl records! You name the unlikely recycled material and these folks likely make a handbag out of it.
Fashion To Save The Planet
Well - maybe fashion won't save the planet, but it can certainly help out, especially if it focuses on recycled and sustainable fibers in those delicious dresses.
If you are interested in clothes, you can head back to Not Just Pretty. They have a number of fashionable basics, featuring fabrics like soy, bamboo and organic cotton. What I personallly love is that this site also has environmentally-friendly fashion in plus sizes, although not near the variety and options of the regular sizes. (For some reason, the eco-fashion world has been ignoring the growing plus size market. However, even plus size people want to help save the world.)
Here's another plus: the green consumer is also driving the growing green lingerie market! Not Just Pretty features everything from bras and thongs to tights and socks.
Want to know more about eco-friendly trends in lingerie? You can drop by BraWise, a site on all things lingerie - including soy underwear and bamboo bras.
For The Baby Of The House
Our North American ways of raising our children from infancy to toddlerhood are perhaps the most damaging things we do, environmentally speaking. From disposable diapers to an endless array of plastic gadgets, we consume at a ferocious pace while our children are little.
This brings me to Bamboo Bebe. If you invest wisely in baby #1, any babies following can enjoy the fruits of your labor - and will save you some money. Bamboo Bebe features clothes made from - you guessed it - bamboo. While fairly pricey, these are clothes that should last through more than one child and won't hurt the earth. You might have to buy gender-neutral colors (and be willing to explain that little Sarah is a girl and not a boy), but this is a minor irritation for those who want to be earth-friendly.
Eco-friendly parenting does tend to mean a bit more effort from the parent - but it doesn't always have to mean a big hassle. For instance, you may not be ready for cloth diapering (I wasn't!), but you can pick a better solution for your child's diapers. How about Seventh Generation diapers, that avoid chlorine bleach and other nasty diaper components, coupled with a diaper service that will compost your diapers? No composting service in your area? What about a diaper service? You avoid the laundry and your baby doesn't put several thousand diapers in the local landfill - that will take a thousand years to break down.
Want to avoid plastic in the raising of your child? Breastfeed! This is a win all around: Mom reduces her cancer risk considerably for every year that she nurses; babies have better IQ's and overall health, as well as avoid allergies; and, you never scoop a powder or pour a liquid out of a package for the time that you exclusively breastfeed. Once you are ready to go back to work, you can continue to provide breastmilk for your child in bottles - but how about glass bottles with silicone nipples, that avoid the hazards of plastic? Skip on over to Born Free to see what your options for healthy feeding of your child.
For more on eco-friendly products that might just tickle your fancy, check out my article Green Is In.