Below is a list of companies we trust to help us reduce waste, eliminate cruelty, and live ethically. This list is ever-expanding, so be sure check back regularly. Have a business you think should have made it on here? Scroll to the bottom to submit your recommendations! And for the love of God, please tell us if there’s a typo.
One last tip worth mentioning:
B Corporations: When in doubt, buying from a B Corp is a really great way to go. They aren’t necessarily vegan, but the ethical standards required of B Corp certification are intentional and rigorous. This certification ensures that a business has met very high standards of “social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” A directory of all companies who have chosen to be a part of this movement can be found here: B Corp Directory.
Also worth noting, there are many great companies who have not obtained this official certification. The businesses listed below are a combination of both.
For the Bathroom
Scratch Goods - All natural skin care in Chicago! Visit their beautiful shop in the West Loop or book a seat at the mask bar to learn how to whip up your skin regimen at home. We have a special place in out hearts for this one - check out the Scratch Goods episode of The Ones That Will to learn even more about how they got started!
Life Without Plastic - There are roughly ONE MILLION household essentials on this site to help you remove plastic from your day-to-day and get closer to a zero waste lifestyle.
Plaine Products - The search for zero-waste bath products can be really challenging. We all have different needs and reactions to various ingredients. Plaine Products isn’t a particularly inexpensive solution, but their concept is wonderful - use up the product and ship back the empty metal bottles once you’re finished. They will clean them out and recycle them back into their system!
Meow Meow Tweet - I am a lover of the Tea Tree Charcoal Facial Soap and everything this company stands for. Their small batch skin care products are pure, vegan, organic, and packaged in PCW paper or glass containers. No plastic!
Lush - The overwhelming smells in this store could suffocate a person, but I love the zero waste aspect of their shampoo and body wash bars so much, I just keep coming back. Plus, they’re committed to cruelty free products and make it very easy to buy them without any packaging at all. Even if you do take a bag to go, they’re compostable!
Dental Lace - Dental Lace is a refillable dental floss and 99% zero waste product. A glass container with a stainless-steel cap holds floss that is 100% Mulberry silk (there is a vegan option too!).
David’s Toothpaste - “Davids was founded with one vision....create the highest quality premium natural toothpaste with a commitment to sustainability...the sustainability of nature, the sustainability of American jobs, and the sustainability of your health...” - a truly honest and beautiful business. From product to packaging.
Bamboo Toothbrushes - There are a number of bamboo toothbrush brands. One option: Brush with Bamboo. The bristles can be removed and tossed out while the rest, including packaging, can be composted.
Lunette Menstrual Cup - You can dramatically reduce waste by opting for a menstrual cup during your period. There are a number of great options, this is just the one we happened to start with.
There is a lot to cover when it comes to clothing manufacturing and buying ethically. We have to consider workers rights, the environmental impacts of mass production and how/why to choose between certain materials. It often feels like the more we consider all of these things, the harder it becomes to afford products you feel good about. Which is why we have found buying second-hand to be the undeniable winner for ethical fashion consumption.
Poshmark - One of my favorite ways to search second-hand online. Whenever possible, I prefer to buy in person to avoid packaging waste, but this is a great way to search specific brands I love or items I need without buying brand new.
Mercari - Essentially the same kind of situation as Poshmark, I got sucked in just by visiting the site to add this listing. So many beautiful/affordable/tempting items!
Thred-up- Online consignment.
Rawson - Beautifully curated, top-notch vintage denim collection and more.
Buffalo Exchange - Multiple locations all over the US - check here to see if there is one near you.
Crossroads - See if there is one near you - check the map!!
There are a lot of really great companies, big and small, who are committed to changing the way we view fashion. Again, we try not to buy new whenever it is avoidable, but these businesses help us adhere to personal ethical standards without compromise. Here are a few favorites that come to mind:
Patagonia - It almost seems too obvious to mention, but it also feels criminal not to. This company has made sustainability the cornerstone of their process since they first emerged in the early 70s. From using recycled materials, to promoting fair labor practices and safe working conditions, Patagonia is a company worth celebrating. Price tags can be daunting, but their winter coats, are a one-time purchase.
Reformation (women’s clothing) - Fully committed to creating beautiful clothing using ethical practices. Manufacturing takes place in their sustainable Los Angeles factory and all employees are offered above minimum wage plus various benefits from ESL classes to healthcare.
Everlane - Reasonably priced, exceptional quality, radical transparency. We love Everlane. Checkout their ReNew collection using all recycled bottles!
Refillable Food Pouches - So much plastic is accumulate with those applesauce squeeze pouches. These are dishwasher safe, easily opened/sealed, and continuously refillable!
Squeasy Snackers - From smoothies to apple sauce, these silicone bottles are another great option for refilling squeezable kid snacks without waste.
Stainless Steel Kid Cups - 8 oz, plastic free, lightweight, and can be paired with a sippy silicone lid (below) for the spill prone!
Sippy Silicone Lid - This stretchy lid and be pulled over any cup and are a great thing to have on hand to avoid any plastic kid cups at restaurants. It’s easy to clean and lasts forever…not to mention, silicon production seems to be a fairly environmentally-friendly process.
Avanchy Dishware - Nontoxic, sustainable, and eco friendly baby dishes. They offer a variety of silicone, stainless steel, and bamboo baby dish ware.
Kid Kanteen - Klean Kanteen’s line of nontoxic, plastic free option for holding your little one’s drinks. Baby bottles, sippy cups, and more. And just a reminder - Klean Kanteen is a B Corp!
Green Toys - Recycled plastic kid toys made in the US.
For Your Food + Drink
Klean Kanteen - My go-to plastic-free water bottle. They’re light-weight and do a great job of keeping drinks hot or cold. AND they are a Certified B Corp to boot! This is one of my favorite ways to decipher which companies to support while knowing that their intentions are both authentic and ethical.
AK Utensil Wraps - DUH! They come with lightweight metal utensils and an extra space for a straw. Keep it with you whenever you leave the house!
UKonserve - Another B Corp! Reusable stainless steel containers, tumblers, straws, and so much more to help reduce single-use packaging.
Life Without Plastic - This one is getting a double mention (see bathroom section) because their products are endless. Straws, to-go tupperware, produce bags, dish sponges, the list is endless.
Stainless Steel Straws - There is no shortage of places to buy metal straws. Just be sure to remember that the whole point of buying something like this is to avoid polluting the earth with a material that will never breakdown. So be look for a company that doesn’t negate this effort by packaging the product in plastic. The link above is just one option that is out there. Another great option is Ukonserve (above) or Ecotribe, which comes with a snazzy wooden case. Oh! And be sure to get a brush cleaner too!
Stasher Bags - really great plastic-free storage bags. These can replace ziplocks for leftovers, you can cook food in them, freeze food in them, or even just store toiletries!
Yeti - Travel mug (and more) extraordinaire. The size options are a little funny and don’t tend to fit well in cup holders, but these keep our drinks hot/cold for FOREVER. I like to bring mine with me if I plan to get a smoothie because it stays cold and my metal straw fits in the opening.
Joco - I love my Joco and use it all the time. One thing I really like about it is that it doesn’t absorb the smell of old coffee the way I’ve found our metal containers to over time. Drinks don’t seem to stay hot for as long, but it’s certainly not worse than paper/plastic so doesn’t tend to bother me.
Bees Wraps - A sustainable alternative to plastic food wraps.
As always, buying second-hand can at times feel like an exemption from the ethical burden of choosing the right brands - so try to check out some second-hand suggestions over in the clothing section. Below are some of our favorite, high-quality ethical/vegan shoe brands.
Veja - Environmentally friendly sneakers. According to Veja, their shoes are made with raw materials sourced from organic farming and ecological agriculture, without chemicals or polluting processes.
Native - “beast free footwear” Certified by PETA as an approved vegan brand.
Keep - Vegan and cruelty-free footwear.
Moo Shoes - MooShoes is a vegan-owned business that sells an assortment of cruelty-free footwear, bags, t-shirts, wallets, books and other accessories. Check out their New York and LA storefronts HERE.
Allbirds - As a vegan, I felt torn about the concept of wool shoes. It isn’t uncommon for sheep to be badly injured in the process…but this company seems so driven by ethical and eco-friendly production (right down to the packaging) that I trusted their intentions. They’re a B-corp and have also come out with a line of eucalyptus tree fiber shoes, which are naturally-derived and renewable!
MATT & NAT - Really beautiful, sleek vegan bags and shoes. I love their designs, but feel torn when recommending the use of PU and PVC leathers because of their own toxic environmental impact. But based on our own research and ethical views, vegan leather is always preferred over animal leather (more on this below) and MATT & NAT does make extra efforts such as using lining fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and incorporating sustainable materials such as cork and rubber. “We continuously try to improve the standards for all our materials.” - MATT & NAT
Allie Kushnir - Organic Line - OBVIOUSLY check out our collection of organic cotton canvas bags and utensil wraps.
Lee Coren - Vegan, lovely designs. She is conscientious and concerned with her social and environmental impact, but perhaps still has a little ways to go. She mentions making an effort to source more sustainable materials, but PVC leather (polyvinylchloride, highly toxic) is still a main element to her collection. She’s still on the list for now because of her vegan commitment and her focus on addressing her impact.
Clyde’s Rebirth/The Shudio - Handmade jewelry sold online and at the beautiful Chicago shop, The Shudio. Her designs are modern, eco friendly, and crafted from vintage and recycled materials.
Bayou with Love - ($$$) Eco-friendly, socially conscious jewelry made in the USA. The designs are simple, beautiful and, amazingly, are made using “e-waste”, as in gold and silver from old, discarded electronics!