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12 Sustainable Small Businesses To Support Without The Guilt


It can be difficult to find sustainable brands that really practice what they preach. With all the greenwashing noise out there, it can be hard to know which brands are truly acting environmentally consciously. And then there is the issue of wanting to shop but not wanting to add to the pollution caused from mass consumption. We get it–it can be hard for us shopaholics who still want to be sustainable.

That’s why we’ve created this list of 12 sustainable small businesses that are doing great things for the environment. Whether they are selling eco-friendly products or using sustainable packaging, these are some brands you can do some sustainable shopping at without the guilt.

1. Loop

Sustainable brands–A screenshot of Loop’s homepage with text reading, “Come and discover the better goods” and an image of a landscape with mountains, water, and trees.
A screenshot of Loop’s homepage.

With a variety of products from reusable coffee filters to plant-based phone cases, Loop truly makes it simple for customers to live a sustainable lifestyle. This Asia-Pacific brand specializes in zero-waste products in a variety of categories, from Beauty and Personal Care to Pets. Who says your furry friends can’t be more sustainable too?

With a clever name playing on the concept of a closed-loop or circular economy, this sustainable brand encourages customers to consume consciously. If you’re not sure how you can start being more environmentally conscious on a daily basis, Loop is a great starting point .

2. Ocean and Main

Sustainable brands–A screenshot of ocean+main’s sustainability page with an image of a person wearing a traditional Asian hat and text beside it explaining their Zero Plastic policy.
A screenshot of ocean+main’s sustainability page.

Calling all shoppers who love fashion and sustainability. ocean+main is here to show you that you don’t have to choose just one. This ethical fashion brand is inspired by their love of the ocean–being in it, around it, and most importantly, saving it. This is why they’ve implemented sustainability into every aspect of their business from production to packaging.

ocean+main is a LA based brand that lives by several sustainability principles including zero plastic, locally made, artisan made, using recycled water, no dyes, and more. They’ve also been recognized for their efforts and have been awarded the re/make Our World Certification, a rigorous test that ensures a brand’s labor and sustainability claims have been vetted and are not simply greenwashing. They’ve also earned the Positive Luxury Certification, a thorough test that ensures a brand is doing good in social, environmental, philanthropic, and innovative ways. If you’re looking for a new caftan or dress for your next beach vacation, ocean+main has got you covered.

3. Ecoslay

Sustainable brands–A screenshot of Ecoslay’s homepage showing four women smiling and text reading. “Slay your look, not the planet. Welcome to the family.”
A screenshot of Ecoslay’s homepage.

When it comes to haircare, chances are you want the best ingredients for you. Ecoslay takes care of that with their homemade to order, plant-based hair products. This Black woman-owned business shows a strong environmental purpose with messages like “Slay Your Look, Not the Planet” and values such as “Respect the Environment”.

But they also walk the walk. Ecoslay offers a recycling program where customers can collectively earn flash sales. Customers can either email the brand and let them know they’ve recycled their packaging, or they can let Ecoslay know that their recycling facility doesn’t accept the packaging and get a prepaid return label to mail the packaging back to Ecoslay who will recycle it for them. Once customers reach 500 properly-recycled emptied, they are rewarded with a flash sale. We think that’s a great way to motivate your customers with meaningful rewards.

4. The Bare Home

Sustainable brands–A screenshot of The Bare Home’s at-home refill stations product page showing four different types of refillable soaps.
A screenshot of The Bare Home’s at-home refill stations product page.

While living a minimalist lifestyle and consuming less is an option for some things, there are certain products that you just can’t avoid purchasing on a regular basis. For the essentials like cleaning products, there are brands you can purchase from that make the process as sustainable as possible. One of those brands is The Bare Home.

This natural, eco-clean brand offers a variety of environmentally friendly soaps, detergents, and home accessories. They also offer at-home refill stations for a variety of their soaps and cleaners, which are a great way to reduce waste from plastic bottles. So while we haven’t found a way to eliminate the need to clean altogether (unfortunately), we have found a way to make it more sustainable every step of the way: The Bare Home.

5.  The Sustainable Book Club

Sustainable brands–A screenshot of The Sustainable Book Club’s subscription box page showing The Original Sustainable Book Box, The Vintage Box, and The Theatre Box with pictures of each.
A screenshot of The Sustainable Book Club’s subscription box page.

It’s all in the name here, folks. This UK-based book subscription service offers customers the chance to find some great vintage reads and sustainable treats for a cozy afternoon of reading. The Sustainable Book Club offers a variety of different themed boxes on a subscription basis or just as a one-time purchase, with all books being second-hand.

If you’re looking for something pre-1960s, their Vintage Box is for you. If you’re more into the treats, their Sustainable Box is full of ethically sourced goodies. No matter what you’re into, bookworms can’t go wrong with a box of pre-loved gems from this sustainable brand.

6. Cheekbone Beauty

Sustainable brands–A screenshot of Cheekbone Beauty’s homepage showing a person with pink lipstick on and text reading, “Indigenous Roots. Sustainable by Nature”.
A screenshot of Cheekbone Beauty’s homepage.

Cheekbone Beauty is a brand that has a different way of looking at beauty. With their signature SUSTAIN line of makeup products, they aim to create high quality, cruelty-free products for maximum wearability and minimum environmental harm.

Founder, Jenn Harper, wanted to stay true to her indigenous roots by paying tribute to the community in every aspect of Cheekbone Beauty. Not only do they have a strong sustainability ethos, but they also donate to a variety of charities with both environmental and social causes, such as empowering indigenous youth. Shopping from Cheekbone Beauty will certainly make you look beautiful, but it’ll make you feel even better.

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7. Thrift+

Sustainable brands–A screenshot from Thrift+’s website explaining the benefits of second-hand shopping with an image of a rack of clothing beside the text.
A screenshot from Thrift+’s website explaining second-hand shopping.

It’s often said that the best clothes you can find are the ones already in your closet. But we get it, you outgrow things or you may want to add some new pieces to your wardrobe. This is why thrift shopping, or buying second-hand clothing is a great, sustainable option. UK-based online thrift store, Thrift+ gives customers an accessible platform to experience the thrill of thrift shopping from the comfort of their own home.

The fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters, and Thrift+ aims to combat this through offering a variety of pre-loved products from mainstream and designer brands. They also encourage their own customers to donate their old clothing to be sold. Once their items are sold, customers are rewarded with store credit or have the option to donate to their favorite charity. Thrifting is becoming more mainstream in the fashion industry thanks to brands like Thrift+ that make it easy, fun, and affordable.

8. Palm Bites

Sustainable brands–A screenshot from Palm Bites’ homepage with a hero image of their palm bites and text and icons below explaining that the products are vegan, gluten free, and kosher.
A screenshot from Palm Bites’ homepage.

When you’re trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s important to consider everything–even your snacks. Palm Bites offer gourmet chocolate covered dates as a healthy and delicious treat. By ensuring that their products are vegan, this Canadian brand is doing the environment a favor. The process of using animal byproducts can have huge negative impacts on the environment.

Not only can you feel good about supporting this sustainable brand, their gourmet Middle-eastern delicacies are 100% delicious.

9. Beeja May

Shopping for your little ones can quickly become very expensive. That’s why shopping second-hand for baby clothes, accessories, and toys is a great way to save money–and the planet. That’s exactly why Beeja May, a Canadian second-hand baby store, offers a variety of pre-loved products.

Starting out as a solution to their own struggles, this Toronto couple started this brand to make shopping second-hand more accessible for parents. Customers have the option to shop for clothes by age or brand, or to browse their selection of “Rescues” which are overstocked or returned products sold at a discount. There’s no denying that you’ll have to constantly buy new clothes for your baby–so why not try second hand for a few pieces?

10. Ocean & Co.

Sustainable brands–A screenshot from Ocean & Co’s jewelry product page showing their sea turtle and shark tracking bracelets.
A screenshot from Ocean & Co’s jewelry product page.

One of the biggest parts of sustainability is preserving wildlife, both on and off land. Ocean & Co is a conscious jewelry brand that is committed to taking better care of our oceans and educating consumers about the issue along the way through tons of value-added content about ocean pollution.

With their wide range of ocean related jewelry, apparel, and accessories, customers can rest assured knowing that a portion of their proceeds are going to Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. One of Ocean & Co’s most recent product lines includes their Sea Turtle and Shark tracking bracelets where customers get access to live GPS data from a real shark or turtle. With such a great mission and adorable products, it’s no wonder Ocean & Co is making a splash in the sustainable fashion industry.

11. La Selva Spice

Sustainable brands–A screenshot from La Selva Beach Spice’s homepage showing images of people pac
A screenshot from La Selva Beach Spice’s homepage.

Sustainability is important in every step of the way. One brand that is doing a great job on the packaging front is La Selva Beach Spice. All of their delicious spice blends are packed locally in La Selva Beach, California. This reduces the amount of waste and pollution caused from sourcing products from across the country or the ocean.

Not only do they meet the mark when it comes to producing their products, they are leveling up their sustainability in their customer packaging as well. La Selva Beach Spice uses Arka, a sustainable custom packaging provider. Not only does this enhance the unboxing experience for the customer, but it also gives the brand an eco-friendly and cost efficient shipping method.

12. The RePlace

Sustainable brands–A screenshot of The RePlace’s household products page showing a variety of products including walnut scouring pads, baguette bags, water soluble dishwasher tabs, bamboo pot scrubbers, bamboo cutlery, bamboo scrubbing brushes, and more.
A screenshot of The RePlace’s household products page.

Let’s be realistic–it’s hard to go from 100 to zero-waste real quick. Luckily, there are brands like The RePlace that recognize this and encourage their customers to do zero-waste imperfectly as long as they’re making an effort.

With a variety of products spanning categories like household, bathroom, kitchen, beauty, pet, and more, customers can start making more conscious decisions in one aspect of their life at a time. So give it a go and swap your paper towels for one of their witty sponge cloths. Or maybe you’ll ditch the plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles for their eco-friendly hair care tablets. Afterall, it’s all about progress not perfection folks.

Start making sustainable swaps

As we’ve mentioned, living a more sustainable lifestyle isn’t about perfection. There are tons of little things you can do everyday to make a positive impact on our planet.

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” Anne-Marie Bonneau

Whether you aim to buy second-hand clothing once a month or you’re ready to do a complete zero-waste renovation of your kitchen, these 12 sustainable brands are there to help without judgment. Happy sustainable shopping!

This originally appeared on Smile.io and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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