Chances are, you've heard about the environmental ills of the world since your first Earth Day in kindergarten. Since you already recycle your plastic bottles and turn off the bathroom faucet while you brush your teeth, you might be wondering what other easy, fun things you can do to show your love for your mother -- Earth that is.
One easy way is to follow the three R's -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (just like the Jack Johnson song!). When you need something new, keep them in mind. Look for stuff made from recycled materials like rubber or PET plastic bottles, reused components like reworked leather or vintage fabrics, and reduce by choosing products with less packaging or ones that are made closer to your home. Here are some easy-to-find things to get you started:
Some of our favorite stores are going green this Spring. H&M has put together a collection of organic cotton dresses, tops and pants that come in the season's hottest colors. When cotton is grown it uses a lot of pesticides and other chemicals. In fact, cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world! Pesticides and herbicides can pollute local water and soil, so looking for organic cotton, which is grown without all the nasties, is a smart way to go.
There's a lot of organic denim (jeans material is mostly cotton) out there too. Check out Levi's trendy light gray (such a cool alternative to white) low-rise jeans or cropped denim trucker jacket, which is mixed with a bit of spandex for comfort.
If your backpack is getting worn out from carrying all those textbooks, make your replacement one that gets the lugging job done with a little style. These recycled rubber and hemp stuff-slingers from Abundant Earth are cute and very tough; hemp is an ultra-strong fabric. It also needs little water and no pesticides to grow. This backpack's hemp fiber is reinforced with vulcanized, recycled rubber, so you'll get years of wear out of it.
For an alt-stylish option, take a look at Mountainsmith's recycled fiber hiking bag -- perfect if you're not into the backpack look, but still need room for graphing calculators, pens and notebooks.
Need a new pair of kicks? Try Simple's ecoSneaks on for size. They're made for both chicks and guys, and are fashioned from low-impact stuff like recycled car tires (for the soles), hemp and recycled plastic soda bottles.
Terra Plana and Ethletic, left to right.
If you're more into the retro look, the all-black low tops from Ethletic are sooo 80's, and are made from latex taken from sustainably grown trees. Need a little flash? The Escape from Terra Plana has a sweet camo sole and is made from 99% recycled materials. For every pair sold, the company will donate money to Climate Care to help off set the carbon produced in the manufacture and transportation of the shoes.
Check out this funky iPhone case made from recycled denim. Or, you can make your own with fun leftover fabric you have sitting around (like that favorite hoodie you can't bear to throw out?). Try the instructions here and get your creative juices flowing.
Making your own stuff, or coming up with new ideas for old stuff that would otherwise get thrown away (look what you can do with your old sweaters!), is the most planet-friendly way to go. It can be a fun after-classes project to get into with your friends. Make something original instead of watching the same old scenes from your favorite movie, and you'll have down-time and flex your artistic brain muscles!
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