Accessorizing With a Conscience

spotted-diy-suitcasesYou recycle. You pick up trash on the sidewalk. You make every effort to tread a bit lighter on this earth. But what can you do when it comes to decorating your home? For home accessories, there are plenty of sustainable and recycled products that will satisfy your inner decorator and support your eco-conscious lifestyle.

Etsy, my favorite go-to website for handmade crafts and accessories, is a marketplace where thousands of individual sellers offer up their creative goods.

One seller on Etsy makes beautiful frames that are salvaged from wood siding found after Hurricane Katrina. Completely rustic and organic, some of the frames still have rusty staples and nails in them. Instead of going to a landfill to sit out the rest of eternity, these frames can hang on your wall and show off your family pictures, or be used as a mirror.

Other searches on Etsy for salvaged products produce incredible handmade goods such as pillows made from beautiful fabric samples that would have otherwise ended up in the trash. Stuffed with eco-friendly fiber made from corn, they are also hypoallergenic.

In addition, sellers make repurposed wood bowls and sell old vintage suitcases that can be stacked and used as an occasional table. With so many creative and quirky re-imagined products on this website, it is easy to be friendly to the earth and chic at the same time.

object_utils.display_object_2Viva Terra is another website that sells handcrafted furniture and accessories with a commitment to pure ingredients, and a philosophy of ecological friendliness and harmony with nature.

One of my favorite products is a doormat made from recycled flip-flops that were found in a factory and destined for the dump. They are a rugged and colorful way to welcome guests and no one would mind wiping their feet on these! Other doormats for sale on the site are made from recycled plastic; all those water bottles that end up in landfills are being turned into colorful and indestructible products for the home.

If you’re looking for something to hang on your walls, there is a mirror made from empty oil drums, crafted by Haitian artists; it’s way to re-imagine waste in a manner that also promotes sustainability around the world and supports international artists.

Another favorite of mine on the website is a wall clock made out of siding from old Thai fishing boats. Slightly weathered with soft pastel colors, this clock looks great hanging on a kitchen or office wall.  These old fishing boats are also made into mirrors which are perfect for the kids’ bathroom or a hallway. They add a rustic and chic touch to any wall in your home. Keeping these decaying ships out of the ocean is a great thing, and re-using them in your home is even better.

If you’re looking for accessories that are even quirkier and a bit cheeky, you can turn to Uncommon Goods, a website that sells products with an environmentally friendly and socially responsible mission. Each item is handcrafted by artists and designers, and offers a unique way to reuse materials and keep them out of landfills.

Some standout products include items made from recycled scrap metals. A bowl made from recycled tools forged together, such as hammers and screwdrivers,  can be a surprising and amusing centerpiece for any table. These scrap pieces are also made into a fireside basket to hold anything from firewood to magazines, or it can stand on its own as a piece of art.

object_utils.display_objectOne artist at Uncommon Goods will repurpose your old vinyl records. If your LPs are sitting around collecting dust, instead of sending them to the landfill, the artist will turn them into a mirror – a great way to preserve your earliest musical memories. Or, he will make that Marvin Gaye or Sergio Franchi 33rpm into a bowl which can serve up popcorn at your next movie night. I can’t think of a more creative and earth-friendly way to reuse those old records.

There are hundreds of websites offering home accessories that allow us to be more environmentally friendly when it comes to decorating. Keeping old flip flops out of the trash and re-imagining them with a new purpose in the home is the best way to accessorize with a conscience.

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