Sometimes the best intentions never see the light of day because, well, starting can be hard. Being a more eco-conscious shopper is something 99.99 percent of people would probably say they want, but pulling the trigger and making a change? It can feel daunting.
The good news? Adopting a shopping stance that’s better for the environment can be easy—and doesn’t require you to forgo trends or pretty pieces that make you happy. Inspired by Sperry’s Bionic range, a collection made with materials recycled from plastic trash recovered from marine environments, we decided to round up some of the easiest ways to reframe your retail habits.
Sperry Bionic Boat Shoe
The issue of plastic pollution in our oceans has attracted a lot of attention (reference the neat nationwide obsession with forgoing plastic drinking straws). Happily, plenty of brands whose ethos is connected to the water have found ways to make the most of a bad situation by using reclaimed plastic to create special fabrics.
When creating its Bionic collection—and launching its overall sustainability platform, Look Good. Do Good.—Sperry partnered with Waterkeeper Alliance, a non-profit focused on maintaining ocean health. The styles in the Bionic range are made with material spun from plastic recovered from marine and coastal environments.
Vitamin A Bikini
Others are looking to recycle old fabric into something new: Madewell has turned shoppers’ old denim into housing insulation used by Habitat for Humanity. Swimwear retailer Everything But Water has made a point to support green labels, like the above suit that’s made from recycled nylon.
Amur Silk Dress
While recycling is fantastic, new materials can also be utilized with a conscious mindset that greatly reduces the traditional footprint. Consider all parts of a garment’s journey, from where and how the fabric is harvested to the dyes that are being used to color it. Eco-minded label Amur only uses natural or regenerated fabrics and prints digitally, since it uses less water and energy than traditional methods.
Odette New York Hoops
Along with shopping retailers like Sperry who have pledged to make eco-minded changes in their business practices, consider supporting fledgling artisanal brands. Jewelry is the ideal category to shop small: It’s easy to find artists who are crafting special pieces using recycled materials or remnants. With a relatively small amount being made, you’re also likely to end up with earrings or a bracelet that feel utterly unique.