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by Jialin Luh on Apr 10, 2011
With Earth Day approaching on April 22nd, take a minute to evaluate your shopping habits. Could you be buying smarter, choosing brands and shops that truly care about the future of our planet? Of course, and it doesn’t have to mean reaching deeper in your wallet. Here are some local companies that make earth-conscious shopping easy and attractive.
Eco Citizen is a clothing boutique with a mission “to support the planet and its people while encouraging and implementing fair trade practices, sweatshop-free merchandise, and organic fashion products.” While volunteering at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market, Joslin Van Arsdale met a Brazilian lace maker who supported 26 indigenous villages with sales of her lace. This inspired her to find a place supportive of and influential in the green movement, and Eco Citizen was born.
From high-fashion women’s clothing and intimates to men’s tees and boxer briefs, footwear, jewelry, and even baby clothing, Eco Citizen has it all. Don’t let its theme fool you into thinking this is a hippy hangout; it will challenge your concept of an eco-friendly clothing boutique. Brands stocked include Prairie Underground, Turk + Taylor, PACT, Terra Plana, and Oishii.
If you’re in the Mission, check out Arkay Workshop, another boutique focused on sustainable organic clothing and gifts. Throughout April, Arkay is selling the entire line of Pangea Organics at 25 percent off.
San Francisco-based Rickshaw Bags produces at its Dogpatch headquarters, which serves as research lab, production facility, storefront, and administrative offices. The aptly-named “Zero Bag” is made from scratch and minimizes waste with a design that results in less discarded fabric. The Zero is available in recyclable nylon and post-consumer PET to facilitate recycling. Materials for this particular bag are domestically sourced to the shorten supply chain and environmental footprint.
Inner and Outer Beauty
Did you know it takes almost a pound of pesticides to make a pair of “conventionally grown denim jeans”? Clary Sage Organics points out this fact to encourage choosing organic cotton. Purveyors of organic fashions and sustainable beauty products, Clary Sage Organics also promotes holistic wellness with natural medicine programs. In addition to locally made yoga-wear with lingerie-style details (the miracle fanny-shaping pants are claimed by some to rival those of Lululemon), the “After Yoga” collection is comprised of organic denim, bamboo skirts, dresses, tops, sweaters, and outerwear. Carefully selected skincare products are sulfate-, paraben-, silicone- and filler-free. Wellness solutions include digestive cleanses, immunity builders, energy enhancers, and stress alleviators, to name a few.
The founder and president of San Francisco-based Branch, Paul Donald, acknowledges that we are “practically bred to be shoppers.” Sadly many shoppers consume and discard products with nary a thought to environmental impact. Branch offers a carefully selected collection of home goods that are “made in the most environmentally-responsible way possible.” Every product offered at Branch must pass three criteria: materials must be environmentally responsible; manufacturing process must be ecologically sound; and employees must be treated fairly in safe and healthy work conditions.
Check Branch’s Sustainability page for full definitions. You’ll find things like handmade pillows, rugs, lighting, pet toys, table settings, and more. Though it’s an online boutique, you can pick up your order at the San Francisco warehouse; no shipping costs and no resources expended for getting your goods!
Farmgirl Flowers offers one type of floral arrangement daily (only using locally grown flowers) for $25 with delivery fee to San Francisco addresses. By offering only one type of seasonal floral arrangement daily, Farmgirl Flowers doesn’t have to discard unwanted greenery. According to Farmgirl, an estimated 80 percent of flowers end up unsold in Dumpsters, resulting in drastic price markups. All flowers are grown by farmers within 200 miles of San Francisco.
Destination permitting, delivery services are provided by Cupid Couriers, a San Francisco-based worker owned bike courier company, further reducing the carbon footprint. You can either have your arrangement delivered in burlap or reused/re-purposed vases. For every burlap-wrapped order, Farmgirl donates to The Gentle Barn, an organization dedicated to saving abused animals. If you’ve got a bunch of unused vases laying around, you can also bring them to Farmgirl for reuse; for every vase, they’ll donate $1 to The Gentle Barn.
If you’re in the market for a new mattress, consider Keetsa. Unlike other memory foam alternatives that may be made with petroleum oil, Keetsa uses Bio-Foam, created with natural castor bean oil. Keetsa mattresses feature a top layer of all-natural latex rubber, which is anti-bacterial, mildew, and mold resistant. Omitting box springs (reducing waste when mattresses are discarded) and utilizing recycled foam are other manufacturing methods Keetsa employs to reduce chemical processes and pass cost-savings on to consumers. In addition to mattresses Keetsa also sells pillows, bed frames, sheet sets and other bedding components.
Bookworms may find delight at Green Arcade, a bookstore devoted to “books on the environment, politics, sustainability, food and farming, select art and literature, urban planning, nature and children’s books”. Owner Patrick Marks, a former buyer at the beloved but bygone Cody’s franchise, is prideful of carrying a selection of books “that would baffle Borders’ corporate buyers.” In addition to readables, Green Arcade carries sundry notebooks, stationery items and gifts, and hosts authors with a local bent never straying from the green theme.
Green Pawz is the spot for all your earth-friendly pet needs. Here you’ll find only all-natural, organic or raw pet food, locally sourced goods ranging from collars and leads to toys and grooming products. The popular self-service washing stations are stocked with EO shampoos and conditioners made of all natural and organic ingredients. Local service providers offer doggy dentistry, massage and dog training classes.
by Jialin Luh on Apr 10, 2011