Do Less Harm: THE DIRECTORY

The Directory Do Less Harm

This is  a directory of companies that are genuinely trying to Do Less Harm. It’s probably not in the format that it will end up in but it’s a start. I wanted you to see what companies are doing to reduce their harmful impact on the planet so that you, when you shop, will know what questions to ask and can base your purchasing decisions, not just on the colour and size of the new item you want, but also perhaps on what will happen to the old one if they take it away or what packaging it will arrive in.

I hope you will tell me more companies using the contact sheet below – and I will then add them to the list. And that you will tell me what else you want to know, what information is missing so that we can make it a really useful directory that helps everyone.

It also functions as a sort of sustainability round-up so you can see what companies are doing as sometimes they don’t talk about it and I thought it would be useful to have everything in one place so you can see what is going on behind the scenes.

Now I’m not going to get into shouting at companies who aren’t doing everything – this is, after all about Doing Less Harm on the way to doing None – but I will flag up, for example, one thing they are doing well which might interest you. So if there is an organic range among other non-organic things you will find it here. It’s up to you to judge at that point if they are doing enough to earn your money, or if you would rather go elsewhere if that particular thing isn’t a priority for you. As I said in the first post it’s almost impossible to do no harm – against every carbon neutral factory in Brazil making plastic from sugar cane pulp, is the question of transporting it to the UK – so this is your resource to help you decide what you can do. It seems to me that it’s about choosing your priorities in many cases as we can’t, yet, have it all.

A final disclaimer: I can only go by what companies tell me. I don’t have the power to audit or dispute so ask your own questions and carry out your own due diligence and please remember to tell me so I can add them to this list. And when reading this directory be aware that sometimes it’s as much about what is said as what is not said.

 

FLOORS

WOOD FLOORING

ArkOne

Ark One is a brand new, challenger brand to the flooring industry. Set up by a team of professionals with two decades’ experience, it specialises in luxury wood flooring that is 100 per cent sustainable. As wood specialists, Ark One takes environmental impact incredibly seriously, sourcing only from responsibly managed, actively replenished forests and ensuring that every single product is part of a natural cycle. Every element of the tree is used in the production process – either as part of the final product, or by being transformed into wood pellets to be used as an economical fuel source. It also uses only natural oils and glues in its flooring, meaning no nasty formaldehydes and the like makes its way into your home.

The collections are made especially for Ark One by factories in Austria and Italy, and so confident is Ark One in its product, that it can track every single piece of wood back to the original tree.

Ted Todd

If a supplier can’t prove its origin or that it’s been sourced in accordance with company policy then Ted Todd won’t deal with them. The firm has been FSC compliant since 1997 (before it was a mainstream issue) and the majority (but not all so check before you buy) of their products are either FSC or PEFC certified.

The company also warns that a company can be FSC certified without selling FSC products so, again, check everything.

They also have a collection of both reclaimed and antique wooden flooring.

The Bamboo Flooring Company

Bamboo grows rapidly and can be harvested every five years (compared with 15-20 for most hardwoods). This makes bamboo flooring extremely eco-friendly and also sustainable as it re-generates and continues to grow, rather than needing to be replanted like trees. Bamboo is one of the hardest natural materials available for flooring making it an attractive alternative to hardwood floors, not only because of its extreme durability, but also because of its low cost and eco-friendliness. Some types of bamboo flooring are over twice as hard as Oak, making them popular with both commercial and domestic properties. Most of our flooring products and matching mouldings are available with 100% FSC certification, which means that every business involved in the chain of production of the flooring product (forest owner, farmer, manufacturer and seller) shares the FSC values and ideals of addressing the exploitation and mismanagement of forests, whilst promoting the social biodiversity and ecological value of them through long term forestry management plans. Regular checks are carried out to ensure that these values and ideals are upheld

CARPET UNDERLAY

SpringBond

Eco-engineered carpet underlay made from recycled plastic bottles and other single use plastics. Each roll uses up to 180 bottles and the average homeowner could have up to 900 recycled bottles under their carpets. The manufacturer Texfelt makes 85 per cent of its underlay from recyled bottles and single use plastics. The underlay is 11mm deep which, they claim makes it soft, comfortable and helps with acoustics and sound-proofing between floors. It is fully recyclable at the end of its life and contains no PU foam so no VOCs. It is designed and made in Yorkshire and has partnered with Plastic Oceans.

Available via carpet retailers or retailers can request it for you from their wholesaler on overnight delivery.

CARPET

Sedna Carpet

Sedna® broadloom carpet by Associated Weavers is made with ECONYL® regenerated nylon; a yarn made from recycled waste material such as old carpets and abandoned fishing nets collected from the bottom of the sea. Sedna® thus helps to save thousands of beautiful sea creatures like sea turtles, dolphins and seals will no longer get stuck in this life-threatening waste (which otherwise traps and kills more than 100,000 sea animals each year).

Sedna® carpet has an ECO FusionBac textile back, made from 100 per cent recycled PET plastic bottles.

Associated Weavers is also an Associate Partner Member of Healthy Seas, a non-profit organization that collects the ghost fishing nets from the seas.

RUGS

Armadillo & Co

An Australian company (also available in the UK and US) selling rugs made from natural and recycled materials using Fair Trade practices. Proceeds from each sale are donated to The Armadillo & Co Foundation, building a brighter future for children in the company’s weavers’ villages.

Claire Gaudion

We are a very small business making rugs, textiles and cushions and doing our best to work responsibly for people, place and planet. We are committed to working responsibly and with respect for our plant, the people and communities we work with, as well as traditions and crafts we employ in our products.
We small-batch produce and make to order to ensure we make only what we need and minimise waste.
We’re making good decisions about what our products are made from – including organic linen fabrics and re-cycled plastic bottle rugs.
We care about ethical and fair working conditions and all our rugs are endorsed by Care and Fair.
We are working to eliminate all plastic packaging – we have already stopped using plastic packaging for all of our accessories, and instead wrap our cushions and throws in recycled paper and boxes.

Rug Artisan

Bespoke handmade rugs.

Only naturally occurring fibres are used – wool and silk are the main yarns that are used, followed by jute and hemp. Apart from having a number of benefits all of these materials are entirely biodegradable and completely recyclable. Another yarn used is the Pet yarn which is a recycled product made out of waste plastic material.

The dying process involves the use of vegetable and synthetic colours. “We use vegetable dye colours wherever we can use to minimise the use of artificial colours but it is still a challenge as not many shades are available in supply line. Our sourcing and ethical trading managers make sure that we use artificial colours with least chromium content in it. As we know these artificial colours have a high content of chromium which can have an adverse impact on the environment. To counter this we work with Industrial water waste management system called Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) which neutralises and separates chromium based substances in the form of a precipitate. The government allots sites to dump this harmful waste however these facilities are not easily available everywhere. The final waste is then recycled to make bricks and is used in the low risk construction industry.

Every rug is handmade on wooden looms, hence keeping the carbon footprint at a negative and at the same time providing essential employment and a livelihood to the local artisans who have had this skill passed down through the generations.

For the latexing process, we avoid the use of synthetic adhesives and the cotton cloth used to provide the backing is handmade. The various other finishing process employ the use of handheld tools with a minimum use of electricity. Every process is entirely manual and carried out by highly skilled locals.

All these processes are carried out in the same vicinity and the rugs are ferried about with the help of electric rickshaws, which are battery-operated low-emission vehicles introduced by the government to tackle environmental issues and diminishing natural resources.

We have not only partnered with Goodweave in an effort to eradicate all forms of child labour in the industry but have also pledged to donate a portion of our annual sales towards the development and welfare of our invaluable artisans.

Weaver Green

Tash and Barney make rugs (and blankets and cushions) from plastic bottles. It took seven years to perfect the technique and to create a textile, that not only has the look and feel of wool, but is also machine washable, stain resistant, environmentally friendly and suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Each rug uses about 3000 bottles and they are moth-resistant, stain-resistant and hard-wearing.

 

WALLS 

PAINT

Dulux

The company is embracing science and nature in its bid to do less harm. Much of its recent science is based on biomimicry – the study of the way nature repels water and dirt (like on the surface of Lotus leaves and the inside of pitcher plants) and recreating it in paint with materials that are more sustainable.  The professional Diamond paint ranges and EasyCare both use biomimicry.  They are also testing a new paint that neutralises diesel emissions to work towards a clean air paint.

Since 2009, Dulux UK has reduced the carbon footprint of its operations by 37 per cent, water usage has been reduced by 24 per cent since 2010 and waste output by 42 per cent since 2011. All the electricity to run Dulux facilities is purchased from green sources such as wind and solar farms while the business runs efficiency programs across manufacturing, store and office sites to reduce overall energy usage. The new manufacturing site at Ashington has its own rain water harvesting units.

At Dulux reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paint is a major initiative. VOCs are the main ingredients in paint that help the product flow out post application so brush marks disappear and an even finish is achieved.
VOCs evaporate away from paint into the air even at room temperature. Although the impact of the VOCs from paint on atmospheric pollution is very small (less than 2 per cent of the total amount of VOCs emitted), we know they contribute to indoor air pollution.
Dulux trim and woodcare ranges contain the highest levels of VOCs but the company is working to produce high quality, low VOC, water-based alternatives across these products to help drive the switch away from solvent-based.

Half of the products Dulux sells are in plastic containers and the rest are metal cans. Even though they can all be recycled, local recycling in the UK isn’t equipped to handle a paint can, unless it is 100 per cent empty – an almost impossible task.
Dulux is working to tackle this on different fronts:

1) Using the minimum amount of plastic in packaging by making paint containers as lightweight as possible, the amount of plastic going to waste is as small as it can be. Over recent years, we have added 25 per cent recycled content into Dulux 2.5l and 5l containers.
2) Using every last drop in the can. For the last 25 years Dulux has been encouraging people to pass on their leftover paint rather than store it in their garage through sponsorship of Community RePaint. This scheme collects
and redistributes leftover paint to those in social need. In 2018, Community RePaint distributed
more than 300,000 litres of paint to individuals and community projects, helping Dulux positively
colour lives across the UK.
Before starting a DIY job, the popular Dulux Visualizer app helps people calculate the right amount of paint needed for their jobs.
3) Working with others: We’re working with the British Coatings Federation on their Paintcare initiative which investigates
how to develop one industry-wide paint container recycling system across the UK.

Earthborn

Founded in 2002 to provide environmentally-friendly designer breathable paints. Awarded the first UK licence of the EU Ecolabel for indoor paints and varnishes. Some of the paints contain Casein so aren’t vegan but a full list of ingredients is on the tin.

You might find this useful to read:

“Natural’ and ‘organic’ are words that have been borrowed from the food industry. In the paint industry however, these terms have no legal meaning and can be misleading. ‘Natural’ is often used as shorthand hand for ‘healthy, wholesome and eco’. However many traditional, natural ingredients in paint can also be hazardous. Think about lead and turpentine (derived from trees) which are either banned or controlled because of the harmful effect on health and the environment. When people ask for ‘natural’ they usually mean healthy and eco-friendly, and those are the criteria we use at Earthborn when formulating our paints.

“We would advise to be suspicious of any paint claiming to be a natural paint as there is no such thing as a liquid natural paint in a tin. All paints by necessity contain some synthetic chemicals (for instance water-based paints require a preservative to keep them fresh).

In the chemical industry, ‘organic’ refers to the chemistry of carbon-based matter or in other words, living or once-living matter.  As such the petrochemical industry is the world’s largest organic chemical industry. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are carcinogenic and harmful to the environment, which is why their use in paint is strictly controlled by legislation.  Away from the food industry ‘organic’ can have the opposite meaning to what people may think.

There is no legal requirement for paint labels to include a full list of ingredients. At Earthborn, however, we believe consumers should be able to make informed choices, so all our products carry a full declaration of ingredients (except our sample pots, because the labels are too small). If you have any specific questions about our ingredients, call us on 01928 734171.

Edward Bulmer

Edward is an active eco-campaigner who chairs one of the UK’s most forward thinking foundations on sustainable living. For the past 10 years he has been working with specialist paint manufacturers to develop paints which are both safer and healthier by returning to non-toxic paint formulations. Both mainstream and premium plastic (acrylic) paints are largely made from petro chemicals derived from refined crude oil.

His paints include a full list of ingredients on each tin -“you can reference our list of synthetic ingredients if you want to understand them”.

Natural paints are made from raw materials such as plant extracts, chalk, earth minerals and linseed. They are non toxic and where possible have full organic or equivalent certification. Paints are breathable so moisture and mould is not trapped in surfaces. It is also important that a building can breathe to expel toxic fumes.

Our base paint manufacturer is COneutral. The production process does not create vast quantities of toxic waste. Every ton of synthetic paint creates 30 tonnes of toxic waste.

“Low VOCs in paint is the law, it should not be a marketing claim.  We say don’t always believe what you read. There is no such things as no VOCs, you create VOCs when you fry bacon and eggs! The VOC rating for our emulsion is less than 0.2% and that is amongst the lowest VOC rating of any paint sold in the world.  There is no such thing as VOC FREE paint.”

Farrow & Ball

The first paint company to move to entirely water-based products in 2010. Now all paints are classed as minimal or low VOC (volatile organic compounds). Safe for childrens’ toys and not tested on animals. All Vegan apart from the two distemper finishes, which contain an ingredient derived from leather offcuts and acid casein from milk.

From their website:

  • Recycle 100 per centof the dry waste from the Dorset factory
  • Recycle 97 per cent of our liquid waste at our own water treatment facility, and working to get this to 100 per cent
  • Create cardboard packaging with 75 per cent recycled material, a figure that’s increasing all the time
  • Working with FSC® certified printers, who use FSC® certified paper, to produce our printed pieces, from colour cards and brochures to postcards and letters
  • Complying with the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) across all of our UK sites, and being audited by the Environmental Agency to ensure our compliance.

Frenchic Paint

Chalk and mineral paint for walls and furniture. All the ingredients are written on the can. An all-natural, eco-friendly paint that requires no stirring, shaking or the addition of water. No VOC’s, toxins or solvents and  virtually no smell. EN:71-3 certified, meaning it is safe to paint children’s toys and nursery furniture. The Al Fresco range is for outdoors, including uPVC.

Graphenstone

This Spanish paint company has recently opened a factory in Norfolk. The 72 colours in the range absorb CO2 “turning your house into a tree”. Over the course of a year three 15L tins can absorb 10kg of CO2 – the same as an adult tree weighing 250kg. They say:  Our paint is a lime based product with graphene technology. These are paints free from VOC’S, carcinogens or toxic substances which also reduce CO2. Due to a natural process, when the lime is carbonating, it absorbs CO2 from the ambient air and cleans the air that you breathe. Read more here.

Lakeland Paints

Organic, VOC-free, non-toxic odourless paints in 180 colours.

There are no heavy metals (the paints are VEGAN) nor are there synthetics or plasticisers or any plastics. There are no pesticides, herbicides or toxins. The company also guarantees that there will be no yellowing of the colours. The packaging is 100 per cent recycled or recyclable.

Little Greene and sister company Paint & Paper Library

All Little Greene water-based paints are low odour. The most environmentally-friendly paints are  tough and washable Intelligent Matt Emulsion, Intelligent Eggshell, and also the Absolute Matt Emulsion and Intelligent Gloss have all been certified as Child Safe under BS EN 71-3: 2013 (also known as the Toy Paint Regulations).

All Paint & Paper Library paints are made by traditional methods, using the highest quality eco-friendly ingredients to meet and exceed the current regulations on VOC solvent content.

For both companies: are manufactured in the UK with minimal impact on the environment. Low carbon footprint, achieved through a number of environmentally-conscious factors: home-based manufacture, reduced transport emissions, minimal VOCs, the use of naturally-occurring minerals, negligible odour and the paint coverage, meaning fewer cans to deliver and fewer lorries on the roads.

Not tested on animals and free from all animal derivatives such as tallow, casein, milk and beeswax. Tested  to international performance specifications, namely BS EN13300. Little Greene is being actively vigilant to ensure the environmentally-friendly nature of its products. The company is currently carrying out an audit of all its stockists, to ascertain and verify the exact components of all the raw materials supplied. Once the data has been verified, the company intends to apply for the VeganDesign.org badge, which it could then display on all its packaging.

The water-based paints far exceed all legislation on VOCs and the oil-based paints have been formulated to use naturally-occurring vegetable oils.

Packaging, including the metal cans, contains over 50 per cent recycled materials and can be recycled again upon disposal.

The roof of Little Greene’s new premises in Manchester is fitted with photo-voltaic panels producing enough energy to make the head office, warehouse & laboratories on the Manchester site carbon neutral. The area surrounding the building has also been planted with a wildflower meadow.

Painthouse

A relatively new company, whose paints are near zero VOC, have almost no smell, are non-toxic and safe for nurseries and pets. The paint dries within 30 minutes and is wipeable. It can also be used on both walls and woodwork reducing the need to buy different types of paint. The packaging uses no plastic and minimal cardboard. There are 72 colours in the range and everything is made to order so there is no unsold paint filling up warehouses.

Mylands

The oldest family-run paint company in the UK, Mylands makes water-based low VOC paints that are virtually solvent-free, quick drying and odourless. Colour is created from natural earth pigments and they claim the depth of colour is such that you will use less. They recycle all cardboard and paper packaging as well as waste solvent. The polybuckets used for industrial orders for the film studios are manufactured using recycled plastic.

WALLPAPER

Print Pattern Archive

This archive of 50,000 antique fabric swatches and wallpaper books is about to launch its first collection of papers. Production is FSC certificated, to promote responsible management of the world’s forests, the printing on the wallpaper is produced with water-based inks (better for the environment) and the machinery uses renewable energy. The company will also plant a tree (with the help of treesponsibility) for every roll of wallpaper sold.

“We use minimal packaging and branding. All the packaging is recycled and it is zero plastic, aside from the one fine sleeve to protect the roll from moisture. We are looking to change this to corn-husk. All our labels are produced on recycled paper. The envelopes for our samples are recycled and un-bleached.

 

RADIATORS

Bisque

Bisque offers an eco-friendly Aluminium range. Each radiator is made from what is essentially old coke cans. Aluminium as a material is incredibly energy efficient – it can heat up and cool down far quicker than a traditional radiator (in around 15 minutes) – making it great for kitchens where there are often quick changes in temperatures. It also allows for a far slimmer profile, is more lightweight, and uses less water.

Vasco

Has won a number of design awards for their 100 per cent recycled, energy efficient, aluminium radiators; including the Red Dot Design Award and the Ecodesign PRO award, which specifically praised VASCO for showing the way forward in sustainability within the heating industry.

The production of raw aluminium is both expensive and damaging to the environment and VASCO not only produce their radiators from recycled aluminium, but also ensures their finished product can be smelted down and re-used.

VASCO was the first manufacturer to move towards a 100 per cent sustainable product with the guarantee of optimum recycling without the loss of quality. All VASCO’s aluminium radiators, such as Bryce, Beams and ONI are produced using 100 per cent recycled material which can be anything from aluminium drinks cans to scrap.

• Aluminium conserves energy.
• Four times better heat conduction than steel
• Faster reaction to temperature fluctuations
• Pressed profile aluminium radiator allows for very low water content: up to 1/5th of a traditional radiator
• 100% recyclable
• An aluminium radiator of similar size and weight to a steel radiator will give approximately 50% more heat output.
• Aluminium is 3 times lighter than steel it is much easier to place on internal walls.

 

KITCHENS

Howdens

The largest supplier of trade kitchens and joinery in the UK. You must have a trade account to shop there but most builders and installers will have one.

100 per cent of their internally manufactured timber products are made from FSC certified materials, 97 per cent of their manufacturing waste is recycled or re-used. 12,000 tonnes of sawdust was converted to energy at their two sites, over 160,000 pallets repaired in 2017, making a total of 1.5 million. The transport fleet is lowering its carbon reduction and they are working towards ensuring 100 per cent of the packaging used in the manufacturing is from recycled sources.

Shere Kitchens

Based in Guildford, this company tries to do something positive for each kitchen it creates. For every one made, they plant an elm tree – when these were wiped out following Dutch Elm Disease so was a rare butterfly. We are planting a specific disease resistant elm at our local nature reserve where they have a few separate populations of the White-Letter Hairstreak butterfly. The idea is that the trees provide stepping stones between the butterfly populations to help connect them so that they can flourish.

We are using our off-cuts to make bug homes. We made our first bug home for our local organic vineyard and invited some local school children to help fill it, to learn about the importance of bugs and re-using materials.

We’re moving towards buying more timber from local saw mills – which has the added benefit that we can go down there and choose which pieces we like. Our cabinetry is wrapped in blankets when we transport it from our workshop to our clients homes.

Used Kitchen Exchange

Used Kitchen Exchange offer ex-display and approved used kitchens for sale. Working at the top of waste hierarchy, UKE actively promotes the sale and reuse of pre-owned kitchens, preventing waste by stopping kitchens entering landfill and reducing a new kitchen’s eco-footprint. UKE brings affordable, pre-owned kitchens to market for ethically motivated and cost-conscious buyers with measurable social value.
With their 1500th kitchen being sold in 2019 the equivalent of 1800 tons of landfill has been prevented and a carbon saving of 9,000 tonnes, supporting the UN SDG goals 12 & 13, Paris Accord and DEFRA.

There’s lots of advice on the site as to how to go about either selling yours or buying another one.

Zero Kitchens

Family-run business making kitchens from ECOboard, a by product of agricultural waste. We have a 100 per cent plastic free kitchen plus a range made from reclaimed wood. We use Lakeland paints and Osmo oil to finish our doors.

ECOboard is manufactured from agrifibre (agricultural by-product such as straw, tomato vines, cotton stalks and any other seasonal crop waste) that is milled to form flakes. The flakes are then mixed with a specially designed formaldehyde-free resin (formaldehyde being used in the production of a great deal of widely used MDF) and compressed under high temperature to form a stable homogeneous panel. It has the same strength and fire resilience of MDF and chipboard, so will last just as long. ECOBoard panels have a moisture resistance that is superior to standard MDF and chipboard, and therefore are more suitable for wet environment applications in kitchens and bathrooms. The carcass legs are constructed using totally recycled plastic which can be recycled at the end of the life of the kitchen.

 

FABRIC AND SOFT FURNISHINGS

Be For Change

Be For Change creates products out of materials that it diverted from waste at industrial level. Currently working mostly with leather, its products are high-end, made in England and made to last. Repairs are free and it offers a take back service at the end of life. Products currently include leather shoes, bags and plant holders.

Fibreguard

FibreGuard fabrics are OEKO-TEX certified. If a product is labeled as ‘OEKO-TEX® certified’ it means that it is completely free from harmful chemicals and safe for human use.
All factors of the production of the fabric comes into question, and this includes the dye that’s used, the threads the fabric is sewn with, the lining used, any print patterns, and accessories such as tassels and buttons.
Introduced in 1992, the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is a worldwide standard by which fabrics are tested and judged free of harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health.
If a product is labeled as ‘OEKO-TEX® certified’ it means that it is completely free from harmful chemicals and safe for human use.

Claire Gaudion

Rugs, fabrics and cushions. See RUGS for details.

Haines Collection

All fabrics on the online shop have been left over from designers, makers, and manufacturers. I currently have textiles from Osbourne and Little, Christopher Farr, Jane Churchill and many more – all selling for less than half the retail price. Some are seconds. Each design is marked by what is available and what Jules, the owner, would recommend using it for.

Leander Woodbridge

A shop on Etsy to provide interior designers, consumers and curtain makers with her own designs of bleached, organic fabrics and soft-furnishings, cushion inners with either recycled microfibre inners or responsibly farmed duck feathers and a haberdashery for ethical and responsible curtain supplies.

Maria Sigma

Textile design and production reflecting her dedication to Zero Waste design. “I strive to decrease to the minimum yarn waste and unnecessary cuts, carbon footprints, the use of machinery, water and electric energy. By adhering to a Zero Waste philosophy, I aspire to make hand-weaving an even more sustainable craft. I exclusively use natural un-dyed materials and consider the environmental impact at every stage of the design and making process, as well as within the daily work environment and studio space.

Wool is a natural insulator, multi-climatic, easy care and long-life, non-allergic and odour resistant material as well as  renewable and biodegradable, which makes it the ideal raw-material for human and environment-friendly textiles. Because wool is a living, breathing ‘smart’ fibre, it improves the air in enclosed spaces, improves sleep, provides comfort and ensures safety. Moisture on the skin is wicked away and no man-made fibre has the ability to regulate the body’s temperature in all weather conditions like wool does naturally.

Mkira

A collection of fabrics and furniture all of which has been inspired by nature and crafted using age old traditions. The materials used within the collection are sustainably sourced from around the British Isles. The collection includes; daybeds, headboards, cushions, throws, fabrics, lampshades, footstools and shelving. All the pieces are created using raw, natural materials such as British linens and tweed from Donegal.

FURNITURE

BANBAYU

UK-based luxury fairtrade interiors brand. Sustainably sourced directly from the artisans who make them, ethically produced and responsibly transported.
Each item is handcrafted, inspired by its native country and all materials are verified for cultural and ecological sustainability.
Having seen first hand the impact of unsustainable manufacturing and unruly suppliers taking advantage of local artists, the founders ensure every item is made with ecologically sustainable materials and an ethically verified manufacturing process.
For every piece sold, Banbayu donates money back to charities in local communities across the world and makes sure the original artists receive their fair share.

IKEA

The company that everyone loves to shout at scores 10/10 from the Ethical Consumer on wood sourcing and is working with the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) to promote responsible forestry, better cotton cultivation, and to address climate change. IKEA and WWF work together to increase the availability of FSC-certified wood and to tackle problems such as illegal logging. We cooperate in projects in important wood sourcing regions such as Russia and China, Bulgaria, Romania, and Vietnam.

The co-operation, started in 2002, has contributed to doubling the certified forest areas in China and helped Russia become the world’s second largest country by certified forest areas.

This is their page on sustainability everyday.

This is their statement on zero-waste.

MADE.COM

Specially-trained “quality guardians” regularly visit the manufacturers, wherever they are in the world, to check the quality of the materials and where they’re being sourced from.

  1. All our wood is responsibly sourced. We never use illegally-felled wood or wood from endangered species of trees.
  2. All our manufacturers provide a healthy working environment for their staff and meet our high safety standards.
  3. We reduce wastage as well as costs by ordering large quantities of products at a time.
  4. We keep transportation emissions to a minimum by designing many of our products to be transported efficiently, this allows us to minimise our carbon footprint.

Mater Design

Furniture design company dedicated to sustainability, craftsmanship and ethics.

Mater combines exclusive high-end furniture and lighting, with working methods that support people, local craft traditions and the environment. The aesthetic of Mater has clear references to Scandinavian minimalism and the designs are all made with sustainably or ethically sourced materials.

Designed for both commercial and residential use, Mater strive to avoid and minimise any adverse impact on society, by following ethical and sustainable production criteria and creating products that will both stand the test of time and inspire the consumer to cherish and savour them.

This on Mango Wood might be useful: Mango wood is, fundamentally, the byproduct of an already thriving industry of the mango fruit. A big part of the Mater collection is made of the fast-growing mango fruit tree that is felled when the tree stops to bear fruit, and a new tree planted. The mango tree is replanted every 7-15 years, which continues a sustainable lifecycle. Harvesting wood that was previously burnt or left to break down naturally not only provides extra income to the farmers, but provides sustainable furniture.

Muck N Brass

I have written about Zoe many times on these pages and she deserves inclusion here. Muck N Brass design and make furniture and lamps and homewares, whilst consciously working with manufactures and suppliers, who are equally committed to leaving a lighter footprint on our plant. As well as saving furniture and homewares within our projects, We recycle all of our own packaging and when we need to restock, we always use 100 per cent bio-degradable bubble wrap and bio-degradable packing tape.
Muck N Brass take old, skip worthy items and completely luxecycles them to become a statement piece for any home.
Further more, We also offer all our clients a buy-it-back service and also a re-design service, for when our clients want to re-decorate but keep their piece.

Myakka

Founded 20 years ago in Somerset, Myakka make handcrafted sustainable produced furniture and accessories that are made from recycled bone/leather/wood/silk/wool and they research their producers so only deal with producers that pay fair wages, don’t use child labour (for rugs in particular this is an issue) and they have community benefits.

“Since 1999, fair trade has been at the heart of everything we do – from the suppliers we’ve built partnerships with, to the communities we’re part of. All our wood is sustainable and we’re proud to be a BAFTS member since 2006 and holder of the Ethical Award since 2009.”

Stedsans

Sourcing and refurbishing mid-century sofas and chairs using 100 per cent wool as much as possible. Wool is naturally fire-retardant so it needs no further chemical treatment for domestic use. They offer reupholstery  using natural materials only, with seat cushion interiors which are a blend of latex, coir, flax, hair and wool. Fabric remnants are given to local schools and makers for companies such as Aerende (see below).

Owner Penny Oliver said: “Finding an alternative to foam cushions was the biggest challenge as natural latex is really expensive.  I managed to find an upholstery company who can supply me with seat cushion interiors which are made from a coil sprung cushion padded with flock, latex rubber horsehair and wool. I can’t yet offer this on all my pieces as it’s much more expensive and I’m a new business, but I would like to aim towards using these on all my pieces as I get more established and hopefully more buy in from my customers.”

Delivery – I have to make sure my furniture is protected and arrives safely. I use reusable sofa bags wherever possible and am only able to do this as my courier agreed to return them to me so they can be used again. I’ve asked my supplier about other recycled packaging options and understand a biodegradable pallet shrink wrap is in development which would be fantastic.

SWOON EDITIONS

The vast majority of our timber products are made from mango wood, all of which is sustainably sourced from India. It is usual to cut down/harvest mango wood for furniture and construction as old, rotting mango wood releases large amounts of carbon dioxide. Mango wood is also simillar to endangered teak so is a better choice.

Swoon also encourages the anti-fast furniture movement to eliminate stock wastage: “We run test batches of every product and use sales data to react to demand to predict saleability and avoid overproduction and waste as one, often overlooked, issue is the high number of furniture items that end up in landfill and which are not properly disposed of due to excess stock and pieces of short term quality.”

 

SOFAS

ECO SOFA

EcoSofa is part of the Trent Upholsteries family. Handcrafting and restoring upholstered furniture in our Nottingham workshop since 1953. For our EcoSofa collections, we collaborated with Nottingham Trent University.

Together, we’ve developed eco-friendly pieces using FSC  timber and a range of natural materials with no toxic chemicals.  As well as being better for the environment, they help control humidity, temperature, sound and allergens, creating a healthier, more comfortable home.

MAKER&SON

Family-run Sussex-based Sofa and Chair manufacturers. “We only use 100 per cent natural materials in all we make. We will never use plastics, polyurethane foams, velcro or staples. Our furniture is more sustainable, lasts longer and is far better for the environment than much of what you can buy on the high street. The feathers and down we use in our cushions are sourced ethically and are a by-product of the European meat industry.”

LOVE YOUR HOME

All wood is FSC certified. The company is carbon neutral and works with Forest Carbon to plant new trees in the UK to offset 100 per cent of their carbon dioxide emissions. The showroom is powered by wind supplied by Green Energy.  The branded pool car is electric – if they offer to collect you from the local train station it will be in this car.

 

 

THE HIGH STREET

H&M

Conscious/sustainable materials in H&M HOME products: Organic Cotton, Recycled Polyester and Recycled Cotton and Recycled Denim. 100 per cent of cotton products will come from sustainable sources by 2020. A mix of BCI Better Cotton. Initiative/organic & recycled cotton.  Conscious products (ie sustainable materials) – the exact share of the total assortment can vary over time, but we aim to increase our Conscious products each season.

H&M HOME and H&M offer a “transparency layer” sharing extended and detailed information about each product: “For the majority of products, customers can now access information such as production country, supplier names, factory names and addresses as well as the number of workers in the factories. In addition, customers can find out more about the materials used to make a specific product. Customers can also access this information when shopping in our physical stores by using the H&M app to scan the price tag on a product to see its details.”

JOHN LEWIS

Has collated a sustainability edit across clothes, homewares and beauty.

Has produced a detailed report into Corporate Responsibility. Highlights include:

We divert 99 per cent of our operational waste from landfill and are aiming for 100 per cent by end 2020/21

Wherever possible, our shops look for local organisations that we can donate surplus food to and our distribution centres donate food to Company Shop.

All John Lewis & Partners carrier bags are made from 70 per cent recycled plastic. Click & Collect boxes contain recycled content and we’re working on improving box sizes and filler packing in order to reduce waste further. We also turn plastics from our operations into plastic delivery bags, which contain 45 per cent recycled material

In 2017, we also introduced a plastic clothes hanger recycling process. Previously, we were sending all our discarded garment hangers to landfill. Our warehousing Partners identified the opportunity to change this and worked with our hanger supplier to create a closed-loop solution, diverting nearly three million hangers from landfill.

We’re at the start of our journey and so far, we’ve mostly focused on product reuse which helps extend the life of our products, while providing our customers with a way of disposing of their products responsibly.

In 2018, we collected over 66,000 of our customers’ mattresses, with 100% of waste diverted from landfill.

Through our appliance disposal service, we collect customer Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) which is reused or recycled where possible.

In 2013, we began collecting and reprocessing carpet offcuts generated by our fitters and creating new underlay from it.

In 2018, Our sofa reuse scheme saw 6,500 items collected from customers homes, then reused or recycled by charities, helping over 1900 households.

MARKS & SPENCER

Their sustainability report is here.

Introduced fabric bags to a number of bedding ranges, reducing plastic packaging and allowing the customer to feel the product as well as take home a useful, reusable bag. Also begun to rollout cardboard wrap-bands on additional lines, further reducing the amount of plastic used. The initial phase will see us remove a net total of 8 tonnes of plastic – equivalent to 8 football pitches or 19000 King Sized beds covered in plastic – this will be rolled out further.

All M&S wooden furniture is made from materials that help to protect forests and communities.

The Multi Weave Rug is woven from recycled cotton leftover from the manufacturing of other M&S rugs.

All of cushion inners and seat pads are made from recycled polyester, sourced from used plastic bottles.

FRENCH CONNECTION

Has added, and is adding more products made from recycled denim, rugs from recycled plastic bottles.

ZARA

In terms of fashion: by 2020 Zara will aim to produce zero discharge of hazardous chemicals for all products at every stage of the supply chain and all collections will use sustainable cotton, linen and recycled polyester by 2025. Sustainable viscose by 2023. Committed to producing zero landfill waste from its logistic centres and headquarters by 2023 and 80 per cent clean energy by 2025.

The Dow Jones Sustainability Index named Inditex, owner of Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull& Bear, most sustainable retailer in 2018 for the second year in a row.

In a statement the company said that all its collections, including Zara Home, will be made from sustainable fabrics before 2025. It is the first high street store to make such a commitment according to WWD. Inditex claims to be the opposite of fast fashion: “We make our own patterns, work with our own factories, keep low levels of inventory, have local sourcing and manufacturing and don’t have promotions in stores.”

From The Guardian: Since 2015 it has collected more than 34,000 tonnes of used stock, after it installed clothes banks in more than 800 stores in 24 regions. A service picking up used clothes from customers’ homes has proved effective in Spain, Beijing and Shanghai and will be extended to London, Paris and New York.

The company has partnered with charities, such as the Red Cross, on redistributing the used stock and is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to find feasible ways of fibre recycling. It has committed to disposing of unused items responsibly and has promised that its factories will no longer discharge hazardous chemicals at any stage of the supply chain by 2020.

Single use plastic bags have gone – all bags are 100 per cent recycled as are the cardboard online boxes.

From next year you will be able to drop off any unwanted garments (not just from Zara) in containers in any of its stores in the world and Zara is working with Oxfam, The Red Cross, Caritas and The Salvation Army for re-sale and recycling.

 

HOMEWARES AND ACCESSORIES

Aerende

Journalist Emily Mathieson set up her “life-affirming” homewares store to provide products for the home made in the UK by people facing social challenges. Find everything from linen tea towels sewn by refugee women to rapeseed wax candles and organic denim aprons. She doesn’t want to be global to keep air miles down and remains committed to sourcing only within the UK.

Ian Snow

Homewares and accessories sourced globally with an emphaisis on Fair Trade, handmade and sent with plastic free packaging using second hand boxes wherever possible. Their Devon farm is sustainable and products are shipped in not flown in. If something arrives damaged it is mended.

Before we order any piece, we find out if it can be made from recycled or upcycled materials. And if it can’t? We look to make sure it can be made from sustainably sourced materials like jute, wool, bamboo, and wood. At the moment, we use cotton in some of our pieces. We want to reduce the environmental impact this has, so we’re looking to become members of the Better Cotton Initiative. We’re also phasing out acrylic, glitter and sequins in all our pieces.”

Lind DNA

Danish company making products including place mats, coffee tables, stools and mouse mats from recycled leather. They aim for zero waste by working in a way that involves reusing resources to decrease the total environmental impact. The leather is remnants of furniture, bag or shoe productions which are mixed with natural rubber from trees. The result is a durable quality of 80 per cent core leather and 20 per cent natural rubber, which is dyed and embossed in decorative patterns. The zero-waste strategy is based on a waste prevention policy, proactive reuse and separate collection of waste at source to guarantee quality recycling.

 

BEDDING

cottonsafenaturalmattress.co.uk

A mattress company based in Devon aiming to use local materials as much as possible. They produce VEGAN mattresses with no glues, solvents or other harmful chemicals. They also use a special fabric that is naturally fire retardant.

  • We are NOT anti man-made fibres in our bed mattresses but we only use polyester as it is tried and tested with a low carbon footprint. Also, because of its low off-gassing it is cleared by GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) for use in organic mattresses. Polyester is also the perfect choice, especially when mixed with cotton, for people who care about not using animal fibres.

Cottonsafe® Natural Mattress is a Licensee of the British Wool Marketing Board who are raising awareness among consumers about the unique benefits offered by the fibre.

The anti-static and dust free properties of this combination of natural materials also help increase its hypoallergenic properties allowing for a natural night’s sleep.

Dreams

Offers a take away and disposal service (starting at £25 for a single mattress) in which nothing goes to landfill. All recyclable materials are re-used and anything else is turned into green energy. They will provide a green bag for your old mattress prior to delivery so they can remove it on the same day that the new one is brought.

Once remoed from your home they separate all the different materials and compact them into large bales to help save space when taken  to other recycling destinations. Metal springs are sent to a metal recycling plant where they are melted down into new light iron products. Polyester padding is used by the fibre blending industry and can be used in various things, such as pet cushions. The foam is used in either energy from waste generation or it can be cleaned and used to make carpet underlay. It’s difficult to recycle mattress covers due to hygiene, so they are turned into fuel as an alternative to fossil fuels, creating green energy and heat.

Harrison Spinks

Mattress and bed makers

Announced in July 2019 that all new mattresses will be foam and glue-free.  the 179-year-old family-run business bought a farm in 2009 to grow natural materials for its mattress fillings. The company has three Queen’s Awards, including one for Sustainable Development, rears sheep and grows hemp to create natural mattress fillings and owns a sustainable forest which provides wood for its divans.  The Leeds-based company, which employs more than 600 people, makes its own spring wire as well as constructing the machines which produces the springs.

Now with seven weaving looms at its Leeds headquarters, the company produces its own mattress tick for the sleeping surface, using botanically-sourced viscose; the tick is inherently fire retardant and requires no chemical treatment to meet UK flame retardant regulations.

“Because of the dangers of foam and the negative effect it has on the environment we use sustainable fillings and grow nearly 800 tonnes of natural fibre fillings for our mattresses each year. By farming our own materials and manufacturing our own components we have been able to save more than 1,300 tonnes of CO2 every year.  Later this year (2019) we will launch a fully sustainable, glue-free spring system which will be a global first so we can produce a mattress that is 100 per cent recyclable and we can help reduce some of the 7.5 million beds that end up in landfill every year. This will revolutionise the industry as we know it.

Hypnosbeds

Carbon-neutral suppliers of beds and mattresses to the Queen and Soho House Group.

The first bed maker to have successfully achieved compliance with ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. Compliant with ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) which is a structured programme of energy audits designed to lower carbon emissions by identifying energy efficiency and reduction measures. In line with this commitment, we operate our Castle Donington site on a biomass heating system as well as purchasing 100% renewable electricity for the Princes Risborough site. Involved in a variety of certified climate projects including planting trees in the UK and the Amazon plus providing clean water in Uganda.

All mattresses and beds are recyclable ensuring they never need to go to landfill. Pioneered the development of a disposal and recycling service for your old beds and mattresses (just ask your retailer about this innovative service which involves the de-construction of your old beds and mattresses, creating recycled raw materials for re-use in other industries). Materials sourced from around the world, including wool, horse hair, cotton and latex in our handcrafted beds. All these natural fibres are 100% biodegradable, recyclable at the end of their life and free of harmful and allergy-related chemicals – we do not use synthetic, chemical-based foams or memory foams in our beds.

Naturalmat

UK-made beds and mattresses made from organic materials including coir, bamboo, wool, latex, cashmere and mohair.

Rise & Fall

The factory runs on wind power, using dyes and chemicals that are Oeko-Tex and GOTS certified, and where 99 per cent of the water used is recycled and the packaging is plastic-free apart from the labels (which they are working on). £3 from every sheet set sale goes to Centrepoint, the homelessness charity.

Made.com

The company will produce its first sustainability report in September 2019 when it will also launch its first collection of organic cotton bedding and towels, organic linen and bedding made from off cuts that would otherwise be thrown away.

 

 

OUTSIDE

Trex Composite Decking

Made from 95% recycled wood fibres and plastic and has a 25 year warranty so you won’t need to replace it.

RECLAIMED, SALVAGE AND SECOND HAND

IRELAND

On The Square Emporium

Vintage, antique and upcycling furniture store near the Titanic area of Belfast. (A3, 17 heron road BT3, 9LE)
We are 12,000sq ft of a treasure trove. We ship through the UK and Ireland!

 

RESOURCES

All of these places will offer help and information. In addition buying old, second hand, vintage or antique furniture or items for the home that you can repurpose all saves stuff from landfill and waste. I wrote this post on the best salvage and reclamation yards some time ago and it still holds true.

A CIRCLE BACK

Works with a range of independent businesses that all give back to the world in someway by being eco friendly, sustainable, ethical and/or having a social impact. Homeware and accessories from cushions to ceramic soap dishes. A Circle Back’s ethos is that we should be thinking of full circle living; what we purchase should be giving back to more people, recycled, plastic free, zero waste packaging is always used. A Circle Back wants to make sure they’re also a source of information & positive encouragement on climate change, sustainable switches, plastic free living and more. You can also shop by VALUES – including eco friendly, sustainable and social impact.

BLUE PATCH

Promotes sustainable UK businesses including various interiors-based companies. The website lists how each company is cutting carbon, reducing waste and helping the environment.

BUYMEONCE: online store set up to find and sell the best of everything so you only need to buy it once. Campaigning for a law to force manufacturers to indicate product lifespan before purchase and working to challenge the throwaway culture.

CANOPY PLANET: company working with the forestry industry’s biggest consumers to provide business solutions to protect the forests.

ETHICAL CONSUMER: you need to subscribe to have the full details but there is lots of helpful advice here – particularly the score sheet with regard to timber sourcing where Ikea came top, followed by B&Q and Marks & Spencer.

GOODINTERIORS.CO.UK: blog exploring ethical and sustainable interior design including fixtures and fittings and decorating materials.

HARTH: a platform that allows you to rent vintage, new and nearly new furniture for your home and for you to upload your own to be rented out to others.

MATERIALISE INTERIORS

The first interior designer in the UK to be certified VEGAN. Chloe is based in Brighton but offers services by remote control if you’re not in that area.

MODERN SHOWS

A series of regular shows for all mid-century modern and modern vintage furniture. Keep an eye on the website to find out the new shows and pop ups.

MORE THIS LESS THAT: a sourcebook of ethical brands. Lots of fashion and beauty products including plastic-free razors for example. Invaluable.

PETA: Vegan Homeware Awards

SOIL ASSOCIATION

Their  report on organic fashion and textiles might be useful reading.

SUSZI SAUNDERS, winner of PETA’s vegan home award 2018, has created a vegan-friendly and cruelty-free home. Contact her via instagram for advice and information.

THE MAKER STATION: a co-working space in west London where they restore old furniture instead of it being taken to the dump and they then find new homes for it.

In MANCHESTER M20Refills will deliver glass jars for all household products – from washing up liquid to shampoo and conditioner.

VEGAN DESIGN ORG

VeganDesign.org is an online membership-based community made up of companies, small and large from all over the world seeking to reach compassionate & health driven customers. VeganDesign.org offers continual education, a badge, business and marketing tools to help our members grow and stand out. We are a very strong, connected business council, passionate about animal & human rights, working with one another.

 

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3 Comments

  • Reply Jenn 5th November 2019 at 4:49 pm

    This is great. Bookmarking, thank you.

  • Reply Rachel Hayward-Price 30th July 2019 at 9:15 am

    Brouns & Co (Recently changed their name from Oricalcum). They’ve got better credentials than the other paints mentioned. Linseed paint – https://www.linseedpaint.com/

  • Reply Claudia 30th July 2019 at 8:34 am

    Paint is a really tricky one as even lots of the ones that say they’re eco friendly are made with petrochemical stuff and there’s no rules about listing ingredients on the tin. You definitely want Edward Bulmer on there as his are all natural. I interviewed him for ES which is how I know this stuff!

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