Sure, buying nothing at all would be best from an emissions perspective, and shipping can vastly alter a product’s climate impact. To that, we say, as always: Your mileage may vary.
Lumbar support that doesn’t lean on the environment.
GOOD: Herman Miller Aeron Chair, from $1,095
A partnership with NextWave—a consortium of companies collecting ocean-bound water bottles, jugs, caps, and fishing gear, and diverting the material back into product supply chains—means Herman Miller’s iconic Aeron chairs are now made with 40% recycled plastic.
BETTER: Knoll ReGeneration, $622
The frame is made from recycled plastic bottles, the mesh back is made with renewable corn byproduct, and the seat includes soy-based foam. Plus, it earns the highest certification possible from LEVEL, the furniture equivalent of LEED.
BEST: Noho Move, $375
New Zealand-based Noho makes this chair entirely out of recycled materials, including Econyl nylon spun from reclaimed fishing nets and worn-out carpeting. Colorful chair-toppers come from sustainably sourced wool, and packaging can either be recycled or composted.
Your cat can be an eco-warrior, too.
GOOD: Weruva Cat Litter, $27 for 11.7 pounds
Unlike standard sodium bentonite clay-based cat litters, which are linked to devastating strip mining practices, Weruva makes litter using hinoki wood left over from musical instrument constructiong and building manufacturing and green tea-leaf byproduct from bottled beverage companies.
BETTER: Fresh News Paper Cat Litter, $7 for 12 pounds
Fresh News makes its cat litter pellets and packaging from 100% recycled paper. Some of the material even comes from its own PaperGator program, which pays local Michigan non-profits to collect post-consumer paper and keep it out of landfills.
BEST: Naturally Fresh Walnut Shell Cat Litter, $13 for 14 pounds
This litter is made from discarded shells sourced from the company’s own walnut farm in California. The manufacturing facility is solar-powered, and the product comes in packaging made with 30% recycled materials.
Cozy up to sustainable fibers.
GOOD: Frances Austen Classic Crew Neck, $425
Cashmere goat overgrazing has led to massive land degradation in Mongolia, prompting several apparel companies to partner with sustainably managed herds. Frances Austen sources cashmere from organic farms and works with a factory in Scotland that uses water-recycling and recycled packaging.
BETTER: Patagonia Recycled Cashmere Crewneck Sweater, $199
In addition to its Worn Wear program, which lets shoppers buy gently used pieces (including cashmere), Patagonia sells sweaters made from pre-consumer cashmere scraps collected from factory floors in Europe.
BEST: Riley Studio Recycled Cashmere Sweater, $406
Riley Studio uses Re.Verso yarn, a regenerated cashmere made from post-consumer textile waste. The Re.Verso collection process is carbon-neutral, the fabric is undyed, and the material has Global Recycling Standard certification. To keep old sweaters out of the trash, Riley Studio offers free repairs on damaged clothes and a take back program that recycles its worn-out pieces into new ones.(Corrects the role of NextWave in the first item.)
To contact the author of this story:
Margaret Rhodes in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
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