My favorite way to be eco-friendly is by looking for vintage goods. There are an abundance of curated vintage collections online that post new items pretty often, some every day! I've started to follow these shops on Instagram to get updates on the newest finds around the country.
Many online collections curate items that are made from vintage textiles such as pillows. I also really love that there are lots of vintage rug collections, all at very good prices. Amy's Vintage Decorium has all kinds of vintage housewares. I love her selection of carved wooden animals.
I also ask these questions:
What the textile made of?
In addition to vintage textiles, you can also look for items made from organic cotton and linen. Organic cotton means there were no pesticides or chemicals used to treat the fiber, which protects our waterways. Linen is made from flax plant fibers, so when untreated it is fully biodegradable. Another great characteristic of linen is it's durability and ability to absorb moisture without holding bacteria. In fact, it is actually stronger when wet than dry! It doesn’t require any pesticides and every part of the plant is used. Keakoo has timeless handmade pillows hand cut from eco-friendly European linen. They are individually sewn with much attention to detail.
Kaekoo handmade pillows
We really love wool too as a choice in textile fibers. Wool is generally sheared from sheep once a year. Because it grows back, it is renewable. Plus it doesn’t need chemicals
What was used to dye the fabric?
I adore the colors produced with natural dyes. Indigo is the most well-known, and is commonly used, so it is easiest to find products with indigo. Other natural dyes are becoming used more often in home textiles as well. They can be found in baskets occasionally, but they are mostly used on textiles. Ive seen yellow dye from wood shavings of the osage orange tree and a pink dye made of ground up cochineal bugs. Red dyes from the madder root and brown dyes from the heartwood of cutch trees can be used on natural fibers.
Pillows from Collectiv Co crafted from Hmong indigo batik fabric.
How was the product made?
Hand made goods generally imply that only materials needed are used, and there is not excess supply that goes to the landfill. My favorite shop right now that makes this a core part of their mission is Quiet Town. This small company makes shower curtains from 100% cotton grown in the US and dyed in small batches in Brooklyn, NY. They were founded around the idea that we should make only what we need. They also source ethical materials. Quiet Town products are made to last long too.
Quiet Town, handmade curtain from 100% cotton