Of all the catchwords used, “green” seems to be the most misused and misunderstood. Labeled as “ugly” and “expensive” by many, the green lifestyle conjures images of a complete lifestyle overhaul, from eating to home styling, and this has ultimately prevented people from seeking sustainable means for everyday living.
Though environmental veganism inspires people to re-think the way they consume and use products, it oftentimes remains a fad which sadly dwindles the moment a new craze arrives. Living an eco-friendly life means looking for ways not just to offset carbon footprint, but to ensure the effort is translated into the future.
The good news is a lot of vegan companies are gradually making their way to the mainstream market by offering goods that are beneficial to the environment. Though some are still in their infancy stage, these companies are proof that small, individual changes in the home do add up to a sustainable living.
- EcoSmart Fire – For anyone who’s looking for an out-of-the-box alternative to the traditional brick and stone fireplaces, EcoSmart offers uniquely designed fireplaces that are made of steel. EcoSmart is a brand under the aptly-named Fire Company, an Australian design and innovation firm established in 2002. The company is the pioneer in the ethanol fireplace industry and has created numerous trademarked fireplace designs which run on bioethanol, a renewable energy source made from plant by-products. Their most popular product by far is the “Stix” fireplace which won the 2011 Award of Excellence under the Accessories or Specialties category.
- Ayodhya – As a Thai home decorative brand, Ayodhya offers exclusive handcrafted materials made from water hyacinth. Established in 1994, Ayodha was a solution to Thailand’s water hyacinth-clogged waterways. Its founder turned the obstructing plants into decorative vases, baskets, rugs and cushions. Ayodha won the Design for Asia Award in 2008 and one of its most outstanding innovations was the moss table that features real moss encased in a glass-topped table.
- Uncommon Goods – Uncommon Goods is an online store that features a lot of recyclable materials converted into functional pieces for the home. All items on the site are ingeniously crafted and affordably-prized (contrary to the “expensive” notion that most people have on “green” products.) The company was founded in 1999 and is based in New York City.
- Beauty without Cruelty – As the name suggests, Beauty without Cruelty is a vegan company dedicated to manufacturing and promoting ethical, cruelty-free products. Founded in 1963, this UK-based company does not conduct cosmetic testing on animals and uses only natural ingredients in all their products.
- Gaiam – Popularly known for its collection of yoga and fitness clothing, Gaiam offers a wide assortment of eco clothing and fair trade accessories. The company encourages people to live consciously and in harmony with the environment by choosing sustainable products. As a whole, the site offers a wealth of information about fitness, health, sustainability and happiness – everything that a person needs to know to live favorably.
Eco-friendly living is not all about throwing away things that do not pass the “green” standards. Though you might need to chuck away some of your stuff that aren’t environmentally friendly, you can still repurpose some to lessen your carbon footprint.
Pasha Lubeck is a part-time designer for Kichler Lighting Gallery and lives in sunny California with her two boys and a Ragdoll cat named Midnight. A self-proclaimed Green freak, she’s been vegan since 2006 and is constantly researching for ways to maintain a sustainable lifestyle.