10 Smart Eco-Friendly Swaps for Items You Use Every Day

Reduce your carbon footprint this Earth Month and support Canadian brands

We’d all like to do better when it comes to our purchasing power, and even small steps can lead us to more mindful shopping. Since there’s a wealth of innovative, sustainable products on the market, consider narrowing your scope and supporting Canadian brands the next time you want to update your wardrobe, bar cart, workout routine or mode of transport.

In honour of Earth Month, we’ve rounded up 10 items—from a yoga mat to gin to household cleaning products—offered by local companies that want to make a difference.

An image of Norda's running shoe

Made-to-last running shoes

The apparel industry is notoriously hard on the planet. If you’re in the market for new running shoes, opt for Norda’s sleek, neon-accented kicks. Crafted using Dyneema (a fibre made from polyethylene, a common plastic), this Montreal brand’s runners also boast durable rubber Vibram soles (known for their water-resistance and flexibility), and have laces made with recycled polyester.

001 LTD Edition running shoe, $295, nordarun.com

An image of eco-friendly cleaning supplies

Refillable cleaning supplies

Few people truly love tidying up a mess, but there’s a way to at least feel good about doing it, thanks to this woman-owned Toronto-based start-up. Guests on Earth’s refillable plant- and mineral-based products include all-purpose cleaners and hand soaps, and the company also sells washable microfibre cleaning cloths to replace paper towels.

Good Guest Kit, $67, guestsonearth.com

An electric bike

All-terrain e-bike

This electric bike (which arrives 100 per cent assembled!) is for those looking for a more sustainable way to commute to work. Awarded Best Commuter and Class 3 Electric Bike categories by the Electric Bike Review in 2020, this high-powered ride has nine-speeds, LED lights and puncture-resistant tires.  

Kope Chain bike, $4,199, dostbikes.com

Carbon negative rolling cabinet

Carbon negative rolling cabinet 

Once you’re done with your take-out meal, your chopsticks end up in a landfill. Vancouver-based Chop Value is giving them a second life and turning would-be waste into homeware. Up your work-from-home game (or elevate your office decor) with this eye-catching cabinet that’s made from nearly 2,500 recycled chopsticks. It’s one piece of furniture from a range of innovative products by this B Corp certified brand. 

Rolling cabinet, $379, chopevalue.com

Vegan leather yoga mat

Vegan leather yoga mat

Supported Soul sells yoga mats that are ethically sourced and made with non-toxic materials. As part of its Resurgence Collection, a collaboration with Indigenous skincare brand Sḵwálwen Botanicals, Supported Soul created a dense, non-slip mat which has a top layer made of a biodegradable polyurethane and a base fabricated from recycled tree rubber. A portion of sales from each mat is donated to The hiýám Project, which facilitates the planting of seeds across Indigenous communities.

Pro Grip Míx̱alh yoga mat, $148, supportedsoul.com

Recyclable trench coat

Recyclable trench coat

Chic, but make it circular. This made-in-Canada closet staple (based on a similar design from the brand worn by Meghan Markle) is fabricated with post-consumer materials, like air bags and rugs. It is also moisture-wicking and is part of the brand’s 100 per cent recyclable collection.

Wrap trench coat, $850, noniewear.com

Eco-friendly metal sunglasses

Eco-friendly sunglasses

These stylish aviators, from B.C.-based brand Amavii, are crafted from titanium—which is 100 per cent recyclable and built to last. What’s more, Amavii plants a tree to offset its carbon footprint for every pair sold.  

Benjamin sunglasses, $240, amavii.com

Plant-based hand and body wash

Plant-based hand and body wash

Made in Montreal with natural and organic ingredients, this plant-based hand and body wash comes in a compostable bottle. Even better? Its contents, marked by a refreshingly woodsy fragrance, are made by hand.

CedarWood Hand and Body Wash, $30, apprentiorganik.com

Wool dryer balls

Organic wool dryer balls

You may have heard that reusable dryer balls naturally soften laundry, eliminating the need for chemical-laden products. But did you also know that they can cut your drying time thereby saving energy? It’s a win-win for you and the planet. These 100 per cent New Zealand wool balls last for more than 1,000 loads. 

Wool dryer balls (pack of 4), $22.95, tru.earth

Empress gin

Low environmental-impact gin

When cocktail hour arrives, reach for this flavourful small-batch tipple that’s made in Victoria, B.C. Its name is inspired by the signature tea from the local hotel, Fairmont Empress, which is included as a botanical note in the gin’s eight-ingredient blend. The eye-catching sip is made using an energy-saving closed-loop distillery system that reduces water waste; the eco-friendly process even earned the brand an EcoStar award in 2019. 

Empress 1908 Gin, $52.95, lcbo.com

Odessa Paloma Parker
Odessa Paloma Parker
Odessa Paloma Parker is a Toronto-based journalist and editor who writes primarily about lifestyle and design, and she is also a stylist. In 2022, she launched the arts and culture-centric platform, Opaloma. Follow her on Instagram at @odessapaloma and @opaloma.opaloma