6 Ways to be a More Sustainable Pet Owner

posted in family, Lifestyle

How you and your furry friend(s) can make a difference towards the environment.

We reduce, reuse and recycle, say no to plastic straws and look at the ingredients used in our foods, but how do we do the same for our pets?

There are many ways to include your furry best friend in the eco-conscious movement and make sure you’re both doing your best for the environment.


Here are some ways you can be a sustainable pet parent:

Adopt, don’t shop

If you’re looking into getting a little furball of your own, or adding to your fur family, consider
getting them from a rescue organization instead of a breeder and adding to the environmental
complications of overpopulation.

According to the ASPCA, an estimated 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters
nationwide every year. Think about giving an animal who already needs a home somewhere to
live and love instead of getting your pet from a breeder.

Spay or neuter your pets

Another way to make sure that you lessen the burden of animal overpopulation on the planet is
making sure your pets can’t create more little furry ones and put their own lives at risk.

According to the Humane Society: “The average lifespan of spayed and neutered cats and dogs is
demonstrably longer than the lifespan of those not.”

They cite studies that found neutered male dogs lived 18% longer and spayed female dogs lived
23% longer. Spayed female cats in the study lived 39% longer and neutered male cats lived 62%
longer.

Spaying or neutering your pets gives them better quality of life, reduces risks of illness and
they’re less likely to stray.

Try sustainable pet food

Do your research and find brands that use the “leftovers” from animal agriculture that humans
won’t eat and would otherwise be wasted that are also sustainably packaged. Make sure you
talk to your vet about the nutritional needs of your pet first as you don’t want them eating foods
that aren’t good for them either.

Another option is making your own pet food, but this can be a time consuming and expensive
route to take.

Make sure their feeding bowls are BPA-free – if you can use glass or another sustainable
material, please do so!

Choose green pet toys

Try to limit the amount of toys you have that have harmful plastics in them. There are many
companies who make toys, beds and other pet supplies from sustainable materials or recycled
waste.

You can also have a look at thrift stores and yard sales for gently used pet toys or kids toys that
can be given to your animal companion. Just make sure to remove any small plastic parts that
your dog, cat or other animal might be able to swallow.

Ever heard of Buy Nothing groups? You can find your hyper localized group where you can share,
donate or receive things like pet toys for free.

You can also swap unwanted pets toys and accessories in your local community outside of these
groups with other people who might have a use for them instead.

Or, you can donate those toys your fur baby no longer plays with to a shelter or thrift store.

[Note: If you’re in the US, Earthhero* is a great place to find sustainable pet toys and products!]

Use non-toxic pest prevention

Grooming your pets regularly, washing their bedding in hot sopay water, and vacuuming
regularly should be enough to control fleas in your home, but sometimes chemical products are
necessary for when those pests just won’t leave your pooch or your kitten alone.

Many every day, store-bought flea and tick products like collars, topical treatments and sprays
contain chemicals that could be harmful to our furry companions as well as humans, according
to the NRDC.

You could ask your vet about oral flea prevention medication, but this might not be a realistic
option for all pet owners.

If you do need to use chemical products, try less toxic products with s-methoprene or
pyriproxyfen as ingredients and to avoid products that include synthetic neonicotinoids (like
imidacloprid and dinotefuran), which are known to harm pollinators and could be toxic to kids’
developing brains.

Healthline has suggestions on how to keep your home flea free inside and out naturally.

Be careful with pet waste

Never leave dog waste outside on the ground as it could be carried into waterways and make
people and other pets sick. Always use biodegradable poop bags to get rid of animal waste, but
if you can, you could try composting it to feed your non edible plants! You could use a regular
compost bin or find one specifically made for animal waste.

Never flush cat waste (even with flushable cat litter) as their faeces can also contaminate water
and affect marine life with Toxoplasma gondii.

According to the Treehugger website: “Cat poop quickly dehydrates and hardens in litter, so by
the time you get around to scooping it, it’s basically petrified and likely to create a clog.” This
isn’t good for your plumbing either. Rather throw it in the trash.


What are some ways you make sure your pets are doing their bit for the environment?



Photos from Pexels


*indicates an affiliate link and MGC might make a small commission from any purchases through this link

10 Clothing & Dress Rental Services

Where you can rent dresses and clothing, including monthly subscription services.

This list is designed to go along with this post on reason and tips for renting clothes, as well as the above video which discusses how it works, ensuring fit, cleaning, my thoughts on the sustainability of it, and more!

(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post which means we may get a small commission)

Clothing Rental in the USA

Armoire

Monthly subscription including recommendations based on your style.

Based in: USA
Sizes: 0 – 24 + Maternity
Cost: $79 – $250 per month

Gwynnie Bee

Monthly clothing subscription. They also have a tool and advisors to help with fit.

Based in: USA
Sizes: 0 – 32
Cost: $49 – $199 per month

Nuuly

Monthly clothing subscription.

Based in: USA
Sizes: XXS – 4X + Maternity & Petite
Cost: $88 per month

Rent the Runway

One time or monthly subscription of clothing and accessories.

Based in: USA
Sizes: 0 – 22 + Maternity
Cost: $89 – $199 per month, one time rentals are $30 – $350+

Dress rented from Beyond the Runway

Clothing Rental in Canada

Beyond the Runway

One time or monthly subscription of clothing and designer bags.

Based in: Canada
Sizes: S – L
Cost: $99 – $150 per month, one time rentals start at $60 (you can use code BTR621KXN for an extra 10% off the trial month!)

Sprout Collection

Monthly subscription or a week rental for events.

Based in: Canada
Sizes:
Cost: $119 – $199 per month, or 7 day rentals for $79 (2 items)

The Fitzroy

Special event dress rentals including wedding dresses.

Based in: Canada
Sizes: 0 – 18
Cost: $75 – $190

Dress I rented from The Fitzroy for a wedding

Clothing Rental in Europe & UK

Lena Library

The “original fashion library”, you pay as you borrow.

Based in: Netherlands
Cost: €10 membership fee and then they use a point system based on the item and rental time

I had the chance to visit Lena Library when I was in Amsterdam a few years ago and you can check out my experience and interview here.

Rotaro

Short term and special event clothing and bag rentals.

Based in: UK
Sizes: UK 6 – 16
Cost: £15 – £65


Clothing Rental in Australia

Glam Corner

One time or monthly subscription of clothing and accessories.

Based in: Australia
Sizes: 4 – 16 + Maternity
Cost: $99 – $149 per month, one time rentals $39 – $200


💚

24 Zero Waste & Deadstock Clothing Brands

We know the fashion industry is incredibly wasteful.

Millions of tonnes of clothing end up in the landfill every year. It’s shockingly estimated that less than 1% of virgin materials which enter the clothing production cycle will actually end up being recycled into new clothes, and 25% of fabric (or possibly more – this is considered a conservative figure) is waste before the garment is even in stores. Also, as we recently learned, the secondhand clothing cycle can be far from sustainable.

This is why circularity initiatives are critical for a more sustainable fashion industry.

And fortunately some brands are already working to change the way we view and use textile “waste”. Through things like zero waste fashion production, using offcut, reclaimed, and deadstock materials, upcycling existing garments, and even taking back and recycling their own clothes.

Here are our top picks for zero waste and circular fashion brands:

Tonlé

Tonlé mainly utilizes offcuts and some deadstock materials for their styles. Offcuts are the pieces left over after the patterns have been cut out and these are often trashed or burned. However Tonlé has come up with some clever solutions to save this waste from other factories (as well as their own cutting scraps!) – larger pieces are used for garments and smaller pieces might become accents, patch details, or are turned into fabric yarn and handwoven into unique zero waste garments and accessories (like the cardigan pictured above on the right). Their production is completely zero waste and even the snipped threads are recycled into paper!

Zero wate fashion brand, Tonle uses all deadstock and reclaimed fabrics

Finally, to keep things circular, if you have Tonlé pieces that no longer work for you or your wardrobe, or even that are damaged and need some TLC, you can trade them back for store credit! These secondhand pieces are fixed up if needed and sold in their Open Closet.

Zero waste fashion brand tonle uses deadstock materials, saves all scraps and has a circular fashion model.
I’ve been loving my Tonlé a-line, comfy, sweat-fleece dress

While there are many added challenges with sourcing reclaimed fabrics, designing to minimize waste, and having a sustainable, maker-focused production process it also means that Tonlé customers get a more unique and mindfully crafted piece (that hopefully will be loved and cherished for years 💚).

Chatting with owner Rachel, it was quickly apparent not only how passionate she is about sustainability within her brand but also waste, inclusivity, fairness, and transparency issues in the industry as a whole.

I’m always inspired and encouraged by brands who aren’t just making a “sustainable product” but are finding solutions, shaking things up, and who see and are working towards a brighter future for the industry – thank you for being leaders!

Check out Tonlé’s beautiful pieces and also some more of the brands striving to create zero waste and circular fashion:


Brands Upcycling Used Clothing

Upcycling isn’t just recycling – it’s transforming it into something better. With clothing that might involve taking secondhand garments and updating, repairing, or re-designing them, or maybe shredding old clothes to turn into new fabrics.

Anian

Women’s and men’s shirts made from natural fibre clothing that has been shredded, spun, and woven into new fabrics.

Eileen Fisher Resewn

Eileen Fisher takes back their garments and anything that can’t be resold in their secondhand Renew Shop is reworked into new zero waste styles. Check out the tour I did of their “tiny factory” where all the Renew clothes go! (pictured right)

Frankie Rework

Sweatpants and tops made from vintage and secondhand garments.

Kindom

Offers a small collection of upcycled garments.

Mud Jeans

The “worlds first circular denim brand” – Mud Jeans takes back your old jeans to get shredded and become part of new jeans. (You can watch the process in this video)

Neo Thread Co.

Transforms secondhand garments into new styles.

Pantee

Underwear and bras made from upcycled t-shirts.

Patagonia Recrafted

Garments made from deconstructed clothes and repurposed materials. (pictured right)

Re/Done

Luxury label upcycling old jeans into new jeans.

Rokit Originals

Vintage/secondhand store with a collection of reworked and upcycled clothes.


Brands Using Deadstock Fabrics

Deadstock is also known as remnant, overstock, or surplus fabric. This might be from other brands who ordered more than they actually needed, or from mills who either made a mistake (like the colour wasn’t exact), an order was cancelled, there was some damage or flaws, or they produced too much.

There is some debate around the sustainability of making deadstock clothing- the main argument being that mills can intentionally produce extra fabric to sell, or companies can over-buy and sell the excess, purposely creating the “waste”. While I do think this is something to be aware of, I also know that there is an insane about of pre-consumer textile waste (check out my visit to Fab Scrap for a tiny peek) and I think it is good to support brands trying to do something with all the extra fabric. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to really verify where a brand’s fabric came from, but I do believe that many sustainable brands are genuine with their waste reduction mission and sourcing true deadstock.

Anekdot

German label making lingerie and swimsuits from sustainable and surplus fabric. (pictured right)

Antiform

Clothing, knitwear, and accessories made in the UK from deadstock and reclaimed materials.

Bastet Noir

Dresses (including formal options) and clothes made from deadstock materials.

Christy Dawn

Romantic dresses made from deadstock.

Dorsu

Women’s and men’s basics and staples made from remnant fabrics.

Love Faustine

Californian brand making their collection in-house from deadstock fabrics and upcycled garments.

NAZ

A Portuguese label that uses deadstock and also has a line of knitwear spun from recycled textile waste. They recently also started using new sustainable materials as well. (pictured right)

Nudnik

Canadian children’s clothing brand with colourful, gender-neutral styles made from deadstock fabrics.

Preloved

Blends deadstock fabrics with upcycled vintage and reclaimed secondhand garments.

OhSevenDays

Colourful collection made from deadstock fabrics.

Whimsy + Row

LA based brand using some deadstock, but also some new fabrics.

Zero Waste Daniel

Bright and colourful unisex designs featuring their signature “ReRoll” – a modern-take on patchwork. (pictured right)


I hope you found this roundup helpful and, as always, let me know if there are any great zero waste clothing brands I missed.

Let’s keep that clothing cycle circular! 🔄


Also check out my bag roundup for some brands making zero waste and upcycled bags and purses!

Apartment Composting – Everything You Need to Know

posted in home, low waste

Wondering how to compost in an apartment, indoors, or small space? We’ve got the basics, bins, how, why, and where for you from a compost expert!

One of the best ways to reduce your waste and impact on your local waste system is to compost at home.

Industrial composting comes with environmental costs that we often don’t think about. For example, collection vehicles make trips to pick up waste in a neighbourhood based on volume – if the vehicle is full before completing the route, it must drop off the waste at the facility, drive back to the neighbourhood and do it all over again – the more waste, the more trips, the more fuel used. Industrial compost facilities also use electricity for heat, general building operations and are not perfect – if the facility is full at any given time, that excess organic waste is likely ending up in landfill. Sadly, some regions don’t have any form of industrial composting in their facilities, so all of the organic matter collected will end up in the landfill, where it will never properly biodegrade.

Home composting is a great way to reduce your impact, and get some awesome benefits at the same time.

There are many fears and anxieties for folks who don’t live in a home with access to a yard when it comes to composting – is it possible? Will it stink? What do I do with the finished product? Let’s break down some of the options for composting in an apartment, condo, or building that doesn’t give you access to a yard.

Understanding Composting Basics

The most basic kind of compost is made up of a very simple equation – greens, browns, water and air, or in scientific terms, nitrogen, carbon, H20 and oxygen. You can also call this aerobic composting – air has a role in the breakdown of the greens and browns. (There is also anaerobic composting, but we’ll get to that later.)

  • Greens are things that can tend to stink when they rot (but not always) and could be considered ‘fresh’ – vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, coffee grounds, cuttings from houseplants, egg shells, tea leaves, flowers, etc.
  • Browns are things that tend to feel dry and are often derived from trees – paper, tissue paper, cardboard, leaves, twigs, coffee filters, cotton scraps, dryer lint.
Potato peelings

The list of what you can put in a compost system is pretty simple – if it’s organic (not made of plastic, synthetics or toxic material), it can go in the compost system with a few vital exceptions:

  • Meat
  • Oil/grease/fat
  • Dairy
  • Animal or human excrement

These four things should always be avoided in your compost system, unless you are a seasoned compost expert, and even then I would strongly advise against including them. The reason? They become really gross, really fast, can invite unwanted critters into your space, are difficult to break down in a home compost system, and have the potential to sustain unsafe bacteria in your finished compost, especially if you want to use the compost in your edible plant containers.

How to Use your Compost

There are many uses for compost, and it makes a wonderful gift to friends and family who have a garden or a yard. You can:

  • Make compost tea – take a spoonful of finished compost, put it in a coffee filter, tie it up and steep it like a teabag in a jug of water or watering can. Let it sit for 24 hours, then you can dilute the solution and add to houseplants as a fertilizer.
  • Mix it in potting soil when repotting new houseplants
  • Add it to soil when seed-starting (hello balcony tomatoes!)
  • Sprinkle on the top of the soil of your houseplants
  • Dig it into a friend or family members garden or flower beds to give the soil some love and nutrients
Compost is perfect for your houseplants!

What Compost Bin/System is Right for Me?

There are four general options (with or without worms) for composting in an apartment, condo, or home that doesn’t have yard access.

Balcony Composting with Tumbling & Rolling Composters

Pros:
  • Can be used on balconies and small patio spaces
  • Tumblers be used year round, even in winter conditions
  • Holds a high volume of organics
  • No worms or other accessories needed
  • Easiest system to maintain
Cons:
  • Not physically accessible for everyone; requires a pushing or cranking motion from hands and wrists
  • Price runs around $90 – $150
  • Takes up more space than other composters, and should be used outside
  • Difficult to create a DIY version for a balcony or small patio


Does this sound like it would be an option in your living space? Learn more about how to compost on your balcony!


Vermicomposting aka Worm Composting

Pros:
  • Uses a small, easily hidden container that can either be purchased or made for approximately $10
  • Easy to DIY, but lots of options available on the market
  • Takes up little space
  • Children love learning about worms, compost and ecosystems – a great educational tool for families
Cons:
  • Need to obtain Red Wigglers, a specific kind of worm (but can be found for free or at low cost)
  • Bin should be maintained regularly to ensure the balance is right
  • Can become stinky and gross if neglected or adding too much organic matter
  • More hands on, especially to remove finished compost
  • Need to be slightly more mindful about organic matter going into the bin
  • Purchasing a worm bin can cost over $100 depending on style


Wondering if worms are the best composting option for you? Learn more about vermicomposting!


Bokashi & Anaerobic Composting

Pros:
  • Uses a small, easily hidden container
  • The one compost system that allows you to add meat, dairy and oil to your other organic matter
  • Has a fermentation stage where you don’t need to do anything for a few weeks
  • Fairly affordable to purchase the container, and the ‘Bokashi bran’ can be purchased at a fairly low price or you can DIY
  • Liquid drained off can be diluted and added to plants or used at full strength as drain cleaner
Cons:
  • Requires specific supplies to start and for ongoing maintenance
  • High maintenance – you must drain the liquid every few days prior to the fermentation period
  • Will become very stinky if neglected
  • Final product should be buried in the soil – not useful for houseplants
  • Can’t add any organic material during the fermentation, which is at least 3 weeks
  • Bigger learning curve than other systems and the smell of the finished product is very strong


Sounds like this might work for you? Learn more about Bokashi and Anaerobic Composting!


Electronic Composters

Pros:
  • Claim to be an all-in-one system that composts for you on a short time frame
  • Some claim to compost meat, dairy and oil without issue
  • Look nicer than other systems
Cons:
  • Very expensive, often run over $300
  • Few reviews available about long term usage
  • Can break down easily and may be difficult to repair
  • Some require ongoing purchases of filters
  • Require an electronic outlet, continuously use electricity and can be loud

Overall, I do not recommend electronic composters – they sound too good to be true and are a big investment without proof of long term function.

How to compost your food scraps when living in an apartment or condo

What if none of these systems work for me?

A saying in my community of fellow composters is “if you’ve seen one compost system, you’ve seen one compost system”. Everyone’s needs are different, and depending on your home and who you live with, composting in your own space just might not work, at least in this moment.

Community Composting

Before you fully give up on composting, try connecting with local community gardens, farms, animal sanctuaries, and neighbours or community members who have compost systems. There may be someone near you who would love to accept your food scraps and organic waste!

It’s as easy as collecting your scraps in a bowl or container in the freezer, and bringing them to that place or person when it’s full. There is also a very exciting app called ShareWaste that specifically connects composters and organic waste collectors (aka potentially all of us) with each other.


Whatever you choose to explore in your composting journey, I wish you luck and encourage you to find like minded people in your community or online. There are so many valuable experiences and pieces of knowledge out there just waiting to be discovered by interested folks like you.

Remember, it is okay to fail and try again! Even small steps make a big difference.

The Cycle Of Secondhand Fashion – What Happens to Our Unwanted Clothes?

In my previous piece, I covered the two major problems we’re seeing in the secondhand industry today (that we have full control over). Now it’s time to understand the journey of secondhand clothing post-export: the salvage market.

Where the salvage market thrives is within developing countries that are willing to take in millions of tonnes of “stuff” every year via shipping containers. These items go for resale in street markets and usually small shops run by marginalized communities. Although I must note that with secondhand trending, we’re actually seeing a lot more privileged communities proudly representing and selling more upscale, secondhand finds.

To give you an accessible understanding of the journey of your donated clothing, let me tell you about that old sweater you donated three years ago in North America and how it ended up in India:

You loved that sweater. You wore it every week. But after a few months of washing, the color started to fade. The branded logo on the front began to chip. You upgraded with a new sweater and discarded the old. Twenty years ago, you would have probably mended the sweater, but now sweaters are made half-assed (that 100% cotton sweater ain’t 100% cotton anymore!). It’s much more convenient, and even more affordable for most, to just replace everything.

After all, the three R’s—reduce, reuse, recycle—strategically place “recycle” as the last R. 

Nobody wants to feel shitty about excessive buying and replacing old items with new items so quickly. Recycling was invented to help you feel less guilty about not adhering to the “reduce” and “reuse” concepts of the three Rs.

It’s funny how even a sustainable movement has its loopholes.

So, you dropped that sweater off at a thrift shop. It got a fresh new hanger, a shiny price tag, and was merchandised on a clothing rack. It sat for weeks, maybe months, until the store had discounted it as far as it could before sending it on its next journey: to become a rag or be shipped out to the salvage market across Asia or Africa.

“Approximately 30 percent of the textiles recovered for recycling in the United States are converted to wiping rags, according to Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles, a U.S.-based trade association.” (Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale by Adam Minter)

That means the other 70% of textiles are shipped out to developing countries to enter the salvage market, or are dumped into landfills.

So, how do sellers and entrepreneurs get their hands on these fresh “new” finds as they come into port?

They gamble on them.

Really! Unless you are running a corporation—a legal one, that is— you are bidding on shipping containers coming in from the West and China (as the world’s fifth biggest exporter of used clothing), and praying it’s filled with goods that you can sell at a decent price in the local markets.

Why I’ve specifically mentioned a “legal” corporation is because many developing countries have strict laws and regulations on the import of used goods, like India. In some countries, like Nigeria, it’s illegal. Yet, the salvage market finds ways to thrive regardless of restrictions. And in countries with such a large population, especially in lower income communities, the salvage market has many loopholes that make it an easy cash cow for individuals and families in need. For example, many Nigerians will secure secondhand items from neighbouring countries without strict secondhand laws, such as Togo, and bring them back home to sell at hefty prices.

In India, we see the sale of secondhand items everywhere, from Mall Road in Manali to Chor Bazaar in Mumbai. We see entrepreneurs, designers, and individuals mending, repairing, and upcycling. As a historically resourceful country, India seems like the best place to export unwanted textiles. Even the recycled yarn industry is huge!

On top of the sustainable efforts already in place within India, we are also seeing a rise in foreign tourists buying secondhand items and bringing their purchases back to where they once came.

However, do note that most items that end up in India were also made in India, along with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Cambodia (hence completing a full cycle).

But here’s the thing—in fast-paced, growing developing countries like India, the number of people part of the middle-class is rising everyday. Although we should be celebrating this growth, it does pose a problem for the already overwhelming secondhand and salvage markets.

Clothing is being made and consumed faster than ever before. Developing countries that have historically been “dumping grounds” for discarded clothing from the West are now becoming overcrowded with their own waste.

So, what do we do with all the textile waste generated by the growing, global middle-class? 

How do we complete the cycle of secondhand fashion without continually harming our environment in both the West and the East? 

What big changes are we, the consumers, responsible for compared to the big production guys at the top of the industry?

Honestly, we have to take the lead on everything. 

We have to hold everyone accountable.
We have to use our voices.
We have to vote with our dollars.
We have to support local, sustainable, slow, and truly circular fashion movements.

There’s no going back to “fix” the damage that has been done. All we can do is continue to spread awareness, share education, and help consumers stuck in the loop realize they have been looped. Marketing plays a huge role in this as well and YOU have the power to call it out.

When it comes to “needing” new items, secondhand is 100 percent the way to go, but it’s also important that you consider the journey of each item you bring into and remove from your home.

To create a truly cyclical fashion industry, we have to buy based on our values, our true “needs”. If a sustainable world is what we want to live in, we need to make smarter buying decisions that align with manifesting our environments. 

This isn’t like a fad diet. There are no cheat days.

The majority of consumers do not know, understand, or even pause to think about the journey or the story of their clothing.

Conscious living starts from the inside out. If consumers are just looping and looping and looping, only something drastic, influenced by their consumer decisions, will make them stop in their tracks (and unfortunately, those drastic incidents usually look like the Rana Plaza Disaster).

Secondhand clothing and recycling can’t really heal our planet, but with a focus on reducing and reusing we can see a larger impact within the industry. In fact, we’re already seeing it. 

To amplify it, continue your research.

Continue sharing the voices of leaders in the industry.
Continue to support local and share online platforms where consumers can access swaps and secondhand alternatives.

And of course, keep yourself in check. You aren’t just a consumer. You’re a conscious being that has the power to disrupt.

So, go forth and help us lead the way.



Photos from Pexels

The Two Major Problems The Secondhand Industry Is Facing (That We Have The Power To Solve!)

Editors note: I am beyond excited to start a new chapter here on My Green Closet. This platform is expanding to now include writers from around the world and I can’t wait to bring you more content, stories, perspectives, reviews, deep dives, and guides!

This piece is by Jazzmine Raine, someone I love following and learning from, and am thrilled to have as a contributor here. Over the next 2 weeks (this is only part 1 of 2!) Jazz is digging into what effect the growing interest in secondhand fashion is having on people and the environment, what actually happens to our old clothes, and how we can each help create a more sustainable clothing cycle! 🔄


Accessing clothing, let alone ethical and sustainable clothing, in the midst of the pandemic last year was kind of a headache.

My hours at work were reduced. My anxieties had increased. My family just had gone through two months of a severe lockdown in Chandigarh, India where we couldn’t even access basic food, let alone leave the house.

You can imagine how uncomfortable and weird it was to think about “needing” clothing (I’m sure this resonates with most of you). But, when you’re sweating through your two pairs of pajamas in the heat of an Indian summer, irritation only fuels your need to buy.

This led me to exploring the trend of Instagram thrift shops popping up across India, and becoming quite obsessed with the experience.

Like the thrill of accessible fast fashion for mainstream consumers, I was constantly reminding myself to check Instagram whenever a thrift account I follow was releasing a new drop. 

I turned notification alerts on so I wouldn’t miss out on killer finds. I found myself browsing items that were so unrealistic for the climate I live in. 

And then…BOOM, it hit me.

I had fallen into the loop. 

The consumer cycle of wants turning into needs turning into overconsumption.

Consumption comes in many forms, both tangible and intangible. 

Think fashion vs. media. Shopping vs. browsing. 

Living in a digital revolution where marketing and ads are constantly being thrown at us on every platform, the impact and influence it has on our lives, even if we think we are “woke”, will loop us in at some point no matter what. The loop is there to make us feel worthy only if we consume, and it takes deep consciousness to escape the cycle.

In the midst of a lockdown when you are lacking connection, community, and freedom, retail therapy quickly becomes an excuse to buy happiness and ignore our most natural needs for cultivating joy.

As a self-aware individual on a continuous conscious living journey, I was able to snap out of it. I identified I was now looking for secondhand items that I did not need, which led me to dive deeper into understanding and studying the actual cycle of the secondhand market (and how sustainable it really is).

And once I started, I couldn’t stop.

Why? Because this hazardous and addictive consumer cycle is actually what is damaging the secondhand industry.


To give you a summary, here are the two major issues I’m seeing:

1. The demand for secondhand goods from affluent markets (aka millennials on nostalgic treasure hunts) is causing a rise in price for secondhand goods making them inaccessible for people who need them most: lower income and marginalized communities.

That’s right—we’re addicted to the past, to 90s style, to oversized sweaters and flood pants. And because it’s more sustainable (and also just way cooler) to find these items secondhand, middle to upper class consumers have inflated the price of secondhand items and are swapping these quality pieces with their cheap, fast fashion finds. These cheap finds now flood the market because they aren’t selling.

You see, since the Industrial Revolution, our “stuff” has become easier and cheaper to make. Following World War 2, citizens had very limited money to spend, but the economy needed a boost. In order to get cash flowing through the system, the economy needed us to buy (and fast!).

Now, decades later, we’re making more money than ever before, but still want more stuff made as fast and cheap as possible.

Constantly making new “stuff” fast, cheap, and in large quantities, is a HUGE threat to the secondhand market, and amplifies the environmental impacts of “fast fashion” and concepts like IKEA. 

You see, as the middle class continues to increase in size, and wants shiny and new, the secondhand market has to keep up by decreasing the price of trendy pieces and increasing the price of quality pieces (which compete within luxury markets). That means we are actually sending a lot more fast fashion items to the landfill than ever before because they can’t hold up in the secondhand cycle.

Why? Well, think about it: why take the time to mend a torn, secondhand, Forever-21 t-shirt if you can buy a new, similar one for $2 more?

This leads the secondhand market to becoming more choose-y about what items get a second life, which die on the first round, and which get funneled toward upscale, luxury second hand platforms. As a result, we are seeing a decline in sustainability across the industry, while adding to the economic barriers between middle and lower income communities.

2. Although the secondhand market is huge (it made up 4% of Japan’s overall retail market in 2016!), and seen as environmentally-friendly, the environmental impacts over the last 10 years have been immense.

Why? Because the more we buy, the more we throw away.

You see, once you’ve had your choice of what secondhand items you want in countries like Canada and America, the items that you don’t want get shipped out to countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, and India. On the positive side, this does present an economic opportunity to entrepreneurs in developing countries. Locals can make a great living by buying and selling in the salvage market (which I’ll cover in my next piece), and secondhand items that can be recovered, can be recycled into yarn in countries like India. 

However, because the secondhand market is now flooded with fast fashion and cheap finds, torn and unsellable items (with terrible thread count) are not worth the mending investment and are sent immediately to landfills (and landfills that they don’t belong to).


So, how do we overcome these problems with realistic solutions?

We have to break our Western consumption habits. We need to stop the loop.

The Industrial Revolution helped fuel the economy and allowed families to get their hands on the “stuff” they needed, but now it’s gotten out of control with the increase in urbanization and globalization. It’s also affected urban planning as families need bigger and bigger homes to accommodate their increasing amount of “stuff”!

There is already so much stuff on this planet just hanging out in basements, garages, storage units, and landfills—we really don’t need “new”. What we need is to make a habit of reusing items NOW, reducing the quantity, upping the quality, and sourcing secondhand locally.

This brings me back to the concept of a “need”. 

What is a need and what is a want?


Understanding your “needs” vs. your “wants” is a huge step in leading a conscious lifestyle.

It’s also important that I note a “want” doesn’t need to be demonized. Often, needs and wants overlap. 

You need and want connection. You need and want love. You need and want food. 

But, the want is where you can actually check myself.

“Do I need this sweater because winter is coming, or do I want this sweater because I saw an influencer wearing it on Instagram?”

“Do I need this bag of chips because I’m hungry, or do I want this bag of chips because it’s more convenient than cooking?”


No one can make the decision of your personal needs vs. wants but you—this is your conscious journey you are leading.

I, even as a mixed raced woman, always check and acknowledge my privilege when consuming. I know I don’t actually need anything. I have a roof over your head. I have food on my plate. I have a warm bed at night. But yet, there is always the thrill of buying something “new” or buying “more”, nurturing a moment of immediate satisfaction through consumption.

The point here is: we have to start making conscious choices at the beginning of the consumer cycle, not at the end when we’re left with trash and don’t know where to put it.

We have slowly turned the secondhand industry into our personal dumps as all the cheaply made “stuff” we’ve been buying over the last 20 years has entered the market. With no value to the tag, and evident wear and tear after just a few months, items as big as couches and as tiny as baby shoes are quickly tossed into landfills.

The good news is: your personal consumption habits (yes, just YOU as an individual!) play a vital role in the sustainability of our world.

In 2015, Americans tossed out 24.1 billion pounds of furniture, and 32 billion pounds of textiles according to the most recent data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That means there is a very unnecessary 56.1 billion pounds of stuff just hanging around on our planet from five years ago that could have been repaired, reused, or upcycled. 

How did this happen?

Convenience. Accessibility. We got lazy. We got greedy. We have all been part of this looping cycle. which makes us all equally responsible for solutions.

Luckily, the solutions are realistic and accessible.

We need to build a truly circular system. We need to create a sustainable cycle where everyone understands their role and how it works. 

In my next piece, I’m going to walk you through the cycle of secondhand fashion once it reaches its destination country in the global south so we can understand where more opportunity lies in creating a sustainable fashion industry. [Read Part 2]

Until next time, 

Stay out of the loop!


Photos from Pexels

Sustainable Winter Coats, Boots & Accessories

posted in brand roundups

Stylish, Sustainable & Actually Warm Winter Wear ☃️


I live in Canada where winter days can drop below -30°C and we’ve even seen temps down to -40° 🥶 so winter clothing has to be both functional and stylish! All those cute cloth bombers, single-layer dusters, and non-insulated boots unfortunately aren’t going to cut it here.

So I’ve put together a roundup of actually warm, eco-friendly, and ethical winterwear to help my fellow winter-folk stay comfy, cozy and cute during the snowy months.


Environmental & Social Responsibility Quick Symbol Guide

🧵 – Ethically Made (based on available info)
🔍 – Publicly Transparent about Factories and/or Suppliers
🌿 – Use Sustainable Materials
♻️ – Use Recycled Materials
🐰 – Vegan Options Available
🔄 – Has a Take Back/Circularity Program
🎁 – Gives Back

Image from Norden

Winter Coats

Norden

Parkas, puffers, and lighter jackets for men and women, Norden’s vegan coats are made from recycled plastics and they also have a circularity program where they take back their used coats for recycling!

🧵🌿♻️🐰🔄
Certifications: B Corp, WRAP-certified factory, Peta Approved
Location: Canada, ships to Canada and US
Size Range: XS – XL


Nau

Nau has a collection of insulated coats, vests, and jackets made from natural and recycled materials including some recycled down styles (which is reclaimed from duvets and pillows, cleaned and sorted for the best quality).

🌿♻️🎁
Certifications: none
Location: USA, ships within USA
Size Range: XS – XL


Patagonia

Images from Patagonia

The sustainable activewear darlings probably have the largest selection of winter coats- especially if you’re looking for coats for performance or outdoor activities. Patagonia uses a lot of recycled materials including recycled down, and many products are also fair trade certified!

🧵🔍🌿♻️🔄🎁
Certifications: Fair Trade (not all products)
Location: USA, stores international, ships international
Size Range: XS – XL


Image from Allbirds

Allbirds

You probably know them as a shoe brand, but this year Allbirds launched an apparel line including a winter puffer jacket. It’s made from wool, lyocell, and recycled polyester.

🌿♻️
Certifications: B Corp
Location: USA, also stores in Canada, UK, EU, NZ, Australia, China, and Japan
Size Range: S – XXL


Bleed

Vegan outdoor, casual, and active brand with winter and all weather coats made from natural, organic, and recycled materials. They have styles for different weather requirements.

🧵🌿♻️🐰
Certifications: Peta Approved
Location: Germany, ships international
Size Range: XS – XL


Frank And Oak

Images from Frank and Oak

A Canadian brand that understands cold winters – they have a good selection of puffer and parka styles, some rated down to -30°C! Frank And Oak’s coats are made from mainly recycled materials (they don’t say vegan but it doesn’t seem like animal products are used in their coats – double check though).

🌿♻️🐰
Certifications: B Corp
Location: Canada, also US store, ships international
Size Range: XS – XL


Eileen Fisher

One of the original sustainable and ethical brands. While most of their coats are pretty thin and better for milder winters, Eileen Fisher does have a few more insulated options.

🧵🔍🌿♻️🔄🎁
Certifications: B Corp
Location: USA, ships international
Size Range: XXS – 3X


Image from Ecoalf

Ecoalf

Ecoalf has a large selection of puffer jackets/coats in a variety of styles, lengths, and thicknesses. They use different recycled materials and also have vegan winter coat options.

🧵🌿♻️🐰
Certifications: B Corp, SA 8000, Peta Approved (some products), Blue Sign, Oeko-Tex
Location: Spain, ships international
Size Range: XS – XXL


Noize

A vegan brand with a large selection of parkas that incorporate some recycled materials. They also have a temperature rating on their coats which is helpful!

♻️🐰
Certifications: Peta Approved
Location: Canada, ships international
Size Range: XS – 3X


and don’t forget Pre-Loved Coats

Secondhand shopping as a great option for winter coats. My whole family has secondhand winter coats!

It’s more affordable, and if like me, you’re not wanting to support unethical wool or down production, it can still be a way to get those insulating materials without contributing towards a brand’s potentially unethical practices.


Sustainable & Vegan Winter Boots

I’ve found this to be one of the trickiest areas to find sustainable, stylish and functional products, but here are some options to check out!

Wearing my Kamik boots

Kamik

This year I needed to replace my boots and after a lot of debating I decided to go with Kamik. While I wouldn’t give them full points on their sustainability and ethics, they are still taking steps and have some good goals. They also are one of the only brands who actually have boots:

  • rated for -30°C and below winters
  • styles good for deep snow
  • a variety of vegan options and some more sustainable materials
  • plus get good reviews for durability

These are the reasons why I ended up going with them.

I choose their vegan “Snowpearl” style which works really well with my winter wardrobe. My husband also has a pair of Kamik’s – their “Forester” boots which are a cool hybrid winter/rain boot with removable insulation.

♻️🐰
Certifications: none
Location: Canada, also US & EU stores, ships international
Size Range: 5 – 11


Bhava

If you’re looking for a stylish winter boot, Bhava is the brand to check out! They have a variety of non-PVC vegan leather boots with different levels of insulation, including some platform heel options!

🧵🐰
Certifications: none
Location: USA, ships international
Size Range: 5 – 11


Thesus

Best know for their natural rubber boots, Thesus (previously Alice + Whittles) now also has their vegan “weekend boot” designed for cozy, comfy walking and adventuring. While I don’t think these would cut it at -30 I still wanted to include them because the seem like a good option for those with milder and wetter winters.

🧵🌿♻️🐰
Certifications: none
Location: Canada, ships international
Size Range: 6 – 12


Hats, Gloves & Scarves

Many of the coat brands also make scarves, hats, and mittens/gloves, but here are also a few more options for cozy winter accessories!

Ben and I in our Myssy hats

Myssyfarmi

I love their story – Myssyfarmi hats are made in a community in Finland with wool from local, family-farmed sheep, and knit by the local grannies! They have super cute and cozy styles.

🧵🌿
Certifications: none
Location: Finland, ships international


Organic Basics

They recently added a new recycled wool collection of hats, scarves, and mittens in classic styles and colours, for something extra lux they even have recycled cashmere options.

🧵🔍🌿♻️🎁
Certifications: B Corp, and many of their factories also have certifications such as GOTS, Oeko-Tex, SA8000
Location: Denmark, also US store, ships international

Organic Basics recycled cashmere hat and gloves

Tentree

I wanted to include Tentree in because they have both wool and a few organic cotton options for those wanting to avoid wool (they don’t specifically say the cotton accessories are vegan but the materials seem to just be cotton and a cork tag).

🧵🌿♻️🐰🎁
Certifications: B Corp
Location: Canada, also US store, ships international


Slate + Salt

Artisan made scarves hats and mittens. Lighter woven options as well as chunky knits. They work with fair trade artisan cooperatives and disadvantaged groups.

🧵🌿
Certifications: none
Location: US, ships to select countries


I hope this help you make a more sustainable choice with your winter wear. As with all the brand roundups here, I will update if I find any other brands and please let me know your favourite sustainable winter brands in the comments!

Stay warm 💚

Updated Jan 6, 2022

Shimmery Holiday Makeup Looks using Ethical Mica

posted in makeup
(please note: some affiliate links are used in this post)

If there’s ever a time for glitter and shimmer it’s the holidays! ✨ But as you may know, all that shimmers isn’t… ethically sourced.

This year I learned a lot about the horrible child labor issues with mica mining and have been trying my best to find brands who use mica free from child labor (and of course are also cruelty free!).

I thought it would be fun to share a couple fun holiday makeup looks with some of the ethical makeup brands I’ve found because especially this year we could all use a sparkly pick-me-up! Even if you’re not going out it’s still fun to dress up, or maybe save these as inspiration for your parties next year. 🥂

Also since I keep my makeup pretty simple and only have a small makeup “capsule”, I’ve also invited my gorgeous friend Kassia (who is 100x better at makeup than I am and really into vegan and cruelty-free beauty) to create an ethical, glam holiday look!

It’s stunning (I wish I could do makeup like this!) so let’s start with her look…

I love the colours in Kassia’s makeup – the mix of dark browns with the shimmery golds and bright lip is so fun and festive!

Mica Products Used:

Also wearing foundation, concealer, eyeliner, mascara, brow products, setting powder, setting spray, false eyelashes.

If you want to learn more about how she created this look, there’s a tutorial on her blog!

Kassia’s cruelty-free and ethical beauty journey

“I care deeply about animal rights and animal welfare. That desire to protect animals led me to being vegetarian nearly ten years ago. From there, as I learned more, I did better. For example, I had never considered where the mica in my makeup comes from until Erin brought it to my attention. Although I’ve been careful to not support brands who test on animals, the human cost of the makeup hasn’t been on my radar, but now it certainly is.

Buying cruelty-free, or making sure the mica in your makeup is ethically sourced, or that packaging is sustainable, or any number of other considerations you take into account when making a purchase, really all comes down to the same root urge: to make sure your actions are reflective of your morals. 

For myself, it is also a form of activism. If I can show people that they can still get what they want (whether it’s tasty food, fashionable clothing, or gorgeous eyeshadow) while reducing their negative impact on the world, it shows that we have the power to make a change, without having to sacrifice. I feel, by living my values, I make it easier to help other people live by theirs.”

Be sure to check out Kassia’s blog and Instagram for information, inspiration, reviews, and recommendations for living cruelty-free. One thing I especially love about her content is how welcoming, non-judgemental, and supportive she is no matter where you are in your personal journey. 💕

And if you’re into makeup and beauty, definitely give her a follow! She always has gorgeous makeup looks and helpful vegan and cruelty-free product recommendations.


Then there’s my holiday look…

For me “fancy” makeup basically just means spending a bit more time and and using more eyeshadow than normal because I’m not sure how to do anything else. 😅

I really like this look though and think it’s perfect for a holiday event, or just dressing up at home – why not plan a virtual cocktail party this year?

My holiday look was based on this lovely deep red eyeshadow – I thought it would be a good addition as the “fun colour” to my makeup capsule and chose it since I’m really embracing my new red hair.

Mica Products Used:

And if you’re interested, the other of the products I used (which don’t contain mica) are:


✨ Also both our dresses are rented from Beyond the Runway. Check out this video and post more about dress rentals.


I’d love to know – are you still dressing up for the holidays this year? Or just keeping it comfy and casual?

Check out my post all about mica to find other brands that ethically source their mica or to learn more about the issues with mica mining.

💚

Favorite Plant-Based Recipes Perfect for the Holidays

A wonderful way to lower the footprint of your holiday meal is making it more plant-based. While a fully vegan Christmas dinner is fantastic, if that won’t work for you or your family then incorporating some more plant-based dishes can still have a significant impact.

Many classic holiday dishes can easily be vegan-ized, or there’s some fantastic, new, creative ideas too. With the help of some friends, I’ve compiled this list of plant-based holiday dinner recipes and inspiration!

Appetizers

Plant-Based Charcuterie Board

Photo: Honestly Modern

Charcuterie boards always look beautiful and impressive, plus they’re a great way to use up leftovers and extra bits of things you have around! Jen from Honestly Modern explains how to create a colorful, healthy and kid-friendly vegan charcuterie board for the holidays.

Pesto Breadstick Tree

Another easy and festive recipe! This can be made super simply with store-bought pizza dough and vegan pesto, or you can make your own, I like using this recipe for breadsticks.

To make the tree:

  1. Roll out a rectangle smaller than your cookie sheet.
  2. Cut a large triangle in the middle.
  3. Cover the tree in a layer of pesto and top it with the two side rectangles turned around (you will have a seam in the middle so you can either try to pinch it together or flip the triangle over).
  4. Then cut roughly 1 inch strips to just before the center and give the strip a few twists.
  5. Top with a little oil and garlic salt or more pesto.
  6. Let rise if needed according to the recipe.
  7. Bake at 400 F for 15-20 mins until golden brown, or according to the dough instructions.

These breadsticks also go great with a simple marinara dipping sauce!

More recipe ideas

Smoked Paprika and Cheddar Vegan Cheese Ball | Heart of a Baker
Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip | The Simple Veganista
Vegan Sausage Rolls | Hot for Food
Rosemary Roasted Grapes & Cashew Cheese Crostini | Dishing Up the Dirt


Sides

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Close up side view of butternut squash cranberry quinoa salad
Photo: Little Broken

I’ve made this salad many times and it’s always a hit! The flavours and colours make it perfect for fall or the holidays and it’s not only delicious but also healthy. Check out Katya from Little Broken’s recipe here.

Yams and Pineapple

This recipe comes from Stephanie over at Mama Minimalist. She says it’s “a tried-and-true plant-based side that my grandmother always cooked during the holidays. The recipe makes a lot, too, so it fills a crowd and leaves leftovers for the next day.”

  1. Butter a 9×13 pan with a butter substitute.
  2. Fill dish to the top with 4 or 5 fresh, peeled, and diced yams.
  3. Top with the chunks of one large can pineapple chunks (reserve liquid). 
  4. In a pan on the stove, melt 1/2 pound butter substitute, 1/2 cup brown sugar (note: For a less-sugary option, the brown sugar could be cut in half or omitted altogether), 3/4 cup honey (or maple syrup), and the reserved pineapple juice. Stir constantly.
  5. Once completely melted and warm, pour over yams. 
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Creamy Pumpkin Risotto

This pumpkin risotto recipe by Liz Moody is another fall/winter favourite in our house and a lovely side for a holiday meal. The sweet and spicy roasted pepitas make this dish seriously special – don’t skip them! (or even – make extra! 😋)

More recipe ideas

Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts and Rosemary | My Darling Vegan
Simple Vegan Stuffing | Minimalist Baker
Rosemary + Garlic Mini Hasselback Potatoes | Wholesome Patisserie
Balsamic Soy Roasted Garlic Mushrooms | Closet Cooking


Mains

Puff Pastry Wrapped Lentil Loaf

I’ve made this recipe from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken a few times now for the holidays and it’s not only beautiful (you can even cut little holly leaves to add to the braid) but it’s a filling and hearty main dish especially with a good dollop of mushroom gravy!

Mushroom, Sage & Kale Pie

This is a new recipe I’ve been working on and will definitely be making it for the holidays!

You’ll need:

  • 9″ vegan pie crust (store bought or make your own)
  • olive oil
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1.5 lbs of mushrooms chopped into large pieces (I like to use a variety – cremini, chanterelle, portobello, or porcini all work nicely)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • ~ 3 tbsp chopped fresh sage (about half a bunch) or 1 heaped tbsp dried sage
  • 7 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 heaped tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup plant milk (I like using oat or almond)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • salt & pepper
  • white wine (optional)
  • plant-based cooking cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Add oil to large pan (the larger the pan the easier it is to cook down the mushrooms) and soften onions.
  2. Add mushrooms and cook until starting to brown (optional: you can also add a splash of white wine with the mushrooms).
  3. Add garlic, kale, and herbs. Cook until kale has softened, mushrooms are deep brown and have reduced a lot in size, and most of the liquid is gone.
  4. Add tomato paste and about half the milk. Whisk the flour with the rest of the milk until lumps are gone to create a slurry and then add to pan. Let sauce thicken a little and turn off heat.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Let filling cool a bit before adding to crust.
  7. Optional: drizzle pie top with some plant-based cooking cream – I find this adds some contrast and makes the top look nice (I like using Earth’s Own Culinary Oat Cream)
  8. Preheat oven to 350 F and bake about 30-35 min or until golden brown (or follow crust instructions)

More recipe ideas

Whole Roasted Cauliflower | Jamie Oliver
1-Hour Vegan Shepherd’s Pie | Minimalist Baker


Desserts

Vegan Soda Cracker Cookies (aka: Christmas Crack)

Photo: This Is Kassia

Check out Kassia’s recipe for super simple to make, decadent, and deliciously addictive cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The classic Santa treat! This is Jazmine’s family favourite recipe that she kindly shared from her Low Waste + Plant Based E-Book.

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 cup of vegan butter
  • ¼ cup of plant milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 2 cups of four
  • 1 bag of dairy free chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Melt butter (20-30 seconds in the microwave does the trick) 
  3. Mix butter with both sugars
  4. Add vanilla extract, baking powder, and non-dairy milk. Mix well
  5. Mix in flour until you have a good dough consistency. Wooden spoons help with mixture if you do not have a mixer
  6. Fold in chocolate chips (or sub out for pecans or walnuts!)
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes
  8. Enjoy!

Easily Vegan-ize Any Baking Recipe

Many traditional baking recipes can be made vegan with simple swaps. Just sub butter with margarine/vegan butter, milk with plant-based milks, and eggs with store-bought egg replacements, flax eggs, mashed banana, or applesauce. Here is my vegan baking quick-reference guide.

More recipe ideas

Vegan Snowball Cookies | Nora Cooks
Vegan Gingerbread Cookies | Sweet Simple Vegan
Easy Spiced Hot Fruit Bake | Cotter Crunch
Vegan Peppermint Mocha Cake | Nora Cooks


Drinks

Mulled Wine

Photo: Pexels

We’ve been making Jamie Oliver’s mulled wine for over 10 years now, it’s a staple drink in our house for the holidays.

More recipe ideas

Vegan Hot Chocolate Three Ways | Lauren Caris Cooks


My friend Kassia also reviewed vegan store-bought egg nog to see which is the best!



I hope these recipes give you some ideas and inspiration. Please let me know if you make them and share your favourite recipes in the comments!

💚

70 Ethical & Sustainable Plus Size Clothing Brands

posted in brand roundups

Unfortunately sustainable and ethical brands offering plus size clothing is still a niche within a niche (learn more and join the discussion about why there is a lack of size inclusivity in sustainable fashion), however there are some beautiful slow fashion brands offering conscious clothing for all sizes!

I’ve compiled over 70 sustainable brands who offer plus sizes (at least size 2X with some up to 6X and even custom sizing). This list will continue to be updated as well, so bookmark and check back. 🙂

Casual, Everyday & Formal Clothing

Ace & Jig (US) colourful clothing featuring artisan textiles – Sizes up to 4X

Alice Alexander (US) variety of styles made-to-order in-house from sustainable materials – Sizes up to 4X

Aliya Wanek (US) minimalist pieces made in the US from natural materials – Sizes up to 2X

Altar (US) dreamy styles made in Portland from organic and deadstock fabrics – Sizes up to 6X

Images from Altar

Anne Mulaire (CAN) knitwear for work, everyday, or lounging all made in-house in Canada (read our legging review and interview or learn how they developed their amazing fit) – Sizes up to 6X

Arraei (CAN) romantic and minimalist styles, made in Canada from natural materials – Sizes up to 3X

Beaton (CAN) linen garments made in Canada – Sizes up to 3X

Birdsong (UK) cheeky graphics and fun colours ethically-made from sustainable materials – Sizes up to 3X/UK 24

Cherry Velvet (CAN) retro and vintage-style dresses made in Canada – Sizes up to 3X

Christy Dawn (US) dreamy dresses made from deadstock fabrics and organic and regenerative cottons – Sizes up to 3X

Dazey LA (US) Colourful casualwear made-to-order in LA – Sizes up to 3X

Dressarte Paris (FR) custom, made-to-measure classic & formal pieces from sustainable materials – Sizes up to 2X + custom sizing

Eileen Fisher (US) huge variety of sustainable and ethically made, timeless garments – Sizes up to 3X

Encircled (CAN) comfy staples and versatile styles made in Canada from sustainable materials – Sizes up to 2X

Franc (CAN) casual basics and knits made in Canada – Sizes up to 3X

Free Label (CAN) sustainable basics and loungewear made in Canada (read our interview)- Sizes up to 4X

Images from Free Label

Hackwith Design House (US) breezy dresses and drapey linen pieces, made in the US – Sizes up to 4X

Hernest Project (CAN) comfy and sustainable lounge and sleepwear – Sizes up to 4XL

Hours (US) styles exclusively made for plus size women – Sizes 14-28

IGIGI (US) customizable work and formal dresses ethically made-to-order in Ukraine – Sizes up to 32 + custom sizing

Jamie + The Jones (US) drapey minimalist pieces made in the US from natural materials – Sizes up to 4X

Kaela Kay (CAN) colourful dresses and statement pieces made in Canada – Sizes up to 3X/22

Loud Bodies (Romania) romantic dresses and feminine styles, made to order – Sizes up to 10XL

Lucy & Yak (UK) best known for their dungarees and bright, colourful prints – Sizes up to UK32

Mara Hoffman (US) both classic & statement pieces made form natural and sustainable materials – Sizes up to 3X

MarketPlace: Handwork India (US) fair trade clothing made in India from block-printed, batik, hand-dyed and other artisan fabrics – Sizes up to 4X

Mata Traders (US) plus size collection of patterned fair trade dresses – Sizes up to 2X

Mettamade (CAN) comfy basics and knits made in Canada – Sizes up to 4X

Miakoda (US) comfy casual, lounge, and yoga clothes, made in the US from sustainable materials (I love their comfy leggings!) – Sizes up to 4X

Images from Miakoda

Mien (US) minimalist, classic and casual styles made in LA from sustainable materials – Sizes up to 3X

Nettle’s Tale (CAN) classic wardrobe staples made in Canada – Sizes up to 3X

Oge Ajibe (CAN) sustainable clothing made in Canada – Sizes up to 5X

Only Child (US) sustainable basics made in-house – Sizes up to 4X

Passion Lilie (US) sustainable and fair trade clothing featuring artisan fabrics – Sizes up to 2X

Poplinen (US) casual tees and basics ethically made in LA from sustainable materials – Sizes up to 3X

Sarah Sue Design (CAN) sustainable statement and staple pieces, made in Canada – Sizes up to 3X

Seasalt Cornwall (UK) large variety of classic and colourful styles – Sizes up to 28UK

Simone’s Rose (CAN) sustainable, small-batch womenswear, made in Canada – Sizes up to 3X

Sotela (US) sustainable line made in-house focusing on fit and body fluctuations – unique size system

The Standard Stitch (US) – tees and loungewear in a range of colours – Sizes up to 5X

State (US) colourful clothing made in the US – Sizes up to 3X

Symbology (US) artisan block-printed garments, great for unique and formal dresses and options – Sizes up to 3X

Images from Symbology

Thief & Bandit (CAN) – whimsical, hand-printed fabrics made-to-order in their studio – Sizes up to 3X

Tonlé (US) zero waste clothing ethically made from scraps and reclaimed materials – Sizes up to 2X

Tradlands (US) focus on quality, timelessness and natural materials – Sizes up to 3X

Tuesday of California (US) – colourful pieces made from deadstock and local fabrics – Sizes up to 7X

Two Fold Clothing (US) Linen and natural fiber clothing made-to-order in the US – Sizes up to 3X

Unbelts (CAN & also has a US store) comfortable, stretchy, ethically made belts – Fits up to 5X

Uniform (CAN) natural, minimalist pieces made-to-order in Canada – Sizes up to 3X

Wulfka (US) sustainable knitwear with unique design details – Sizes up to 4XL


Sustainable Plus Size Jeans & Denim

Coco Copper jeans (left) & Warp + Weft jeans (right)

Arturo Denim Co. (CAN) slim-fit jeans made in Canada – Sizes up to 42

Coco Copper (US) jeans made in LA from denim milled in sustainable European heritage mills. – Sizes up to 36

Nudie (intl.) variety of styles with stores internationally – Sizes up to 38

Pearls of Laja (DE) organic cotton jeans made for different body types – Sizes up to 37

Warp + Weft (US) vertically integrated, ethically made denim – Sizes up to 24 (dress size)


Eco Friendly Plus Size Activewear

Images from Girlfriend

Alder (CAN) transparent and ethically made hiking/outdoor apparel – Sizes up to 4X

DAY/WON (US) activewear made in the US from mainly recycled materials – Sizes up to 5X/32

Girlfriend (US) colourful leggings and activewear made from recycled bottles – Sizes up to 6X

Miakoda (US) comfy casual, lounge, and yoga clothes, made in the US from sustainable materials – Sizes up to 4X (in the process of expanding all styles to 4X)

Prana (US) active and outdoor apparel made from sustainable materials – Sizes up to 3X


Sustainable Plus Size Underwear & Lingerie

Hara (AUS) bamboo bralettes, undies, and loungewear made in Australia – Sizes up to 5X

Knickey (US) organic cotton undies made in fair trade certified factory. They also have a great recycled program for old underwear! – Sizes up to 3X

Proclaim (US) inclusive nude undergarments – Sizes up to 3X

Thunderpants (US) underwear with cute prints and fun colours, made from organic cotton in the US – Sizes up to 3X

TomboyX (US) underwear designs and styles made for everyone across the gender spectrum – Sizes up to 6X

Uye Surana (US) beautiful and sexy lingerie, ethically made in the US and Colombia – Sizes up to 3X


Eco Plus Size Swimwear

Nettle’s Tale (left) & Saltwater Collective (right)

Bold Swim (US) bright colours and sexy cuts made form a proprietary “biodegradable” nylon – Sizes up to 2X

Dazey LA (US) colourful printed swimwear, made-to-order in LA – Sizes up to 3X

Hackwith Design House (US) one and two-piece styles with wrap and tie details – Sizes up to +4.5/28

Londre (CAN) sexy and unique styles made in Canada from sustainable materials – Sizes up to 4X

Mara Hoffman (US) classic and colourful swimwear and coverups – Sizes up to 3X

Nettle’s Tale (CAN) variety of cuts and styles from sporty to sexy, made in Canada – Sizes up to 3X

Saltwater Collective (CAN) cute cuts in a variety of colours made in Canada from recycled materials – Sizes up to 2X

Thief & Bandit (CAN) – whimsical, hand-printed swimwear made-to-order in their studio – Sizes up to 3X

Unika Swim (CAN) sexy swimwear for all sizes made in Canada from recycled materials – Sizes up to 4X + custom sizing


Are there any sustainable plus size clothing brands missing? Please share them in the comments!

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