This article was updated and republished on March 29, 2022.
Sustainability has become a hot topic lately, with 60% of Americans now saying climate change is a major concern — a 16% increase from 2009.¹ But what does sustainability mean, exactly, and how can you make it part of your lifestyle?
Sustainability essentially means a person or business meets their own needs without polluting the earth or depleting its natural resources, thus impeding on the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The practice can be applied to anything from eco-conscious manufacturing and an environmentally friendly supply chain to buying green cleaning products and recycling or composting at home.
Beyond the basic definition, sustainability can also mean goods are produced ethically. Which is to say, paying fair wages, supporting local farmers or artisans, and improving the economy.
Though much of the responsibility lies on businesses and the government, working toward global sustainability is still somewhat of a grassroots effort. With that said, there's a lot you can do right at home to help the planet today.
Ahead, tips for reducing waste, guidance on living a sustainable lifestyle and eco-friendly products for every room in your home.
Eco-Friendly Products for a Healthy Household
Sustainable household products are good for the environment because they're typically made with renewable or recyclable materials. Conversely, non-renewable resources don't grow back quickly and are generally hard to replenish, while non-recyclable items often end up in landfills.
Eco-friendly alternatives don't just benefit the environment. They're also good for your health. In most cases, green home products are naturally sourced and formulated without potentially harmful substances, making them gentler on your skin and unlikely to pollute the air you breathe.
So, where should you start? There are several sustainable swaps you can make in virtually every room of your home. Find suggestions and insights for the bedroom, bathroom, laundry room and kitchen below.
Eco-Friendly Products for the Bedroom
From bedding and window coverings to rugs and decorative accents, nearly everything in your bedroom can be replaced with a sustainable alternative. Here's what to consider.
Sustainable Bed Sheets
What makes sheets sustainable? For one, they're typically woven from renewable materials, like organic cotton and European flax fibers. Cotton plants naturally replenish themselves less than a year after they’re harvested, and flax plants can grow as quickly as two inches per day.²
Various types of sustainable cotton sheets include brilliantly buttery brushed cotton, crisp and cool percale and silky-smooth sateen. Flax fibers are loomed into linen, a deluxe textile with laid-back elegance.
When it comes to the best organic bed sheets, you should look to ultra-cozy Oeko-Tex and GOTS-Certified organic cotton for guaranteed ethical manufacturing processes.
High-quality bedding doesn't just feel nice against your skin. Since you don't need to replace luxury sheets as often as low-quality linens, they're also sustainable because you'll end up with less waste.
Not sure which material to get? Check out our Guide to Bed Sheets: Choose the Right Fabric and Style for Your Bed.
Naturally sourced comforters (aka duvets) often have cotton shells and down fill. Down comes from the exceedingly soft and lightweight undercoats of geese and ducks. It's considered a sustainable product because it grows back in as little as six weeks.
The down-filled bedding inserts you'll find at Parachute are ethically sourced from humanely treated fowl. In addition to being an eco-conscious material, down is naturally breathable, moisture-wicking, insulating and resistant to mildew and dust.
Take a look at our Down vs. Down Alternative Comparison Guide for more insight.
Sustainable Duvet Cover
Similar to sheets, sustainable duvet covers are woven from renewable plant fibers, namely organic cotton and flax linen. To take your eco-friendly lifestyle a step further, you might consider buying products made from organic cotton, which is sourced from crops grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
Our Guide to Duvets and Duvet Covers can help you narrow down your options.
Eco-friendly bed pillows are made with sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, ethically grown flax, recycled microfiber or humanely sourced down. In many instances, you can also count on eco bedding brands to use a fair supply chain and environmentally conscious manufacturing practices.
Not sure what type of pillow to get? See our Pillow Guide: How to Choose the Right Pillow.
When it comes to sustainable pillowcases, breathable fabrics like organic cotton, linen and natural silk³ are ideal. Since they promote airflow and wick away moisture, you're less likely to sweat or overheat while you doze.
These guides offer more detailed information to help you choose a pillowcase:
Pillowcase and Sham Guide: How to Choose the Best Options for Your Bedroom
Best Organic Pillowcases: What to Look For
Guide to Silk Pillowcases: Why Sleep on a Silk Pillowcase?
Organic Baby Bedding
It's crucial for baby bedding to be breathable to minimize the risk of suffocation.⁴ That’s why linen and cotton are top choices — extra points if it's organic. Kiddos under the age of two are particularly sensitive to chemically treated textiles, as their skin is 20% thinner than an adult's.⁵
For a deeper dive into this topic, check out our baby sleep guides:
Newborn Sleeping Habits: Sleepytime Tips for Your Baby
Baby Pillow and Blanket Guide: When Can Newborns Sleep With a Pillow and Blanket?
What to Know About Organic Bedding
Why organic? Instead of extracting water from the earth and depleting the natural resource, organic farming usually relies on rainwater. The crops are also unlikely to disrupt biodiversity and have a notably minimal impact on climate change.
Bedding made from organically grown cotton is typically free of chemical softeners, synthetic dyes, GMOs and other potentially harmful substances. Besides being better for the environment, sustainable bedding may reduce your chance of developing a skin rash, an allergic reaction or respiratory issues.
Find out more about organic bedding in our article, Are Organic Sheets Worth It? What to Look for in Organic Bedding.
Natural Woven Baskets
Woven baskets are considered eco-friendly products because they're often handmade by artisans with jute, sisal or other renewable plant fibers. Baskets are great catch-alls for the bedroom, offering a place to toss extra pillows, blankets, slippers, you name it.
For useful basket storage tips, explore the Basket Decor & Storage Ideas Around the House guide.
Wool Area Rug
Like natural down, wool is a sustainable animal-sourced textile because the fleeces of sheep regrow exceptionally fast. Placing a hand-woven wool area rug underneath your bed will add warmth and sound absorption while tying together the rest of your decor.
Looking for more inspiration? These 17 Rug Styling Ideas will help get your wheels turning.
Window coverings can really make or break a room. Linen curtains are among the best eco-friendly products for bedrooms, as they're long-lasting, timeless and sustainably sourced. Also keep the black curtain rod in mind as a stylish curtain hardware option.
What else do you need for your sleeping quarters? Take a look at these 27 Bedroom Essentials for Creating a Relaxing At-Home Oasis.
Canvas Dog Bed
If you want your dog to sleep sustainably but would prefer to not to share your bed, consider a Canvas Dog Bed made from pet-friendly fabrics and not containing toxic chemicals like bromine found in cheaper dog bed materials.
Fast fashion is characterized by cheap, trendy and generally low-quality apparel. Since it doesn't last long (or goes out of style quickly), it contributes to more waste. By investing in well-made, versatile, long-lasting pieces, you can live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Organic Jogger Set
Jogger sets are the perfect wear-anywhere ensemble — well, almost anywhere. You can rock your organic cotton sweatpants and matching organic crewneck pullover while working from home, running errands or hanging out on the weekend.
Whether you're partial to oversized sleep shirts, pajama pants, nightgowns or PJ sets, cotton or linen are your best options. Not only are the fabrics eco-friendly, but they're also breathable, which is crucial for sleeping.
Naturally Sourced Bathrobes
Naturally sourced textiles are also ideal for bathrobes. When you browse the collection from Parachute, you'll find linen, cloud cotton, waffle weave, classic Turkish cotton, and organic cotton robes.
Learn more about the best bathrobe fabrics in the Guide to Cozy Loungewear and Bathrobes and via our Choose Your Robe Quiz.
When buying house shoes, booties or indoor clogs, look for eco-friendly materials like shearling (wool) or cotton. Not only do sustainable slippers make your feet feel good, but you can also feel good about wearing them.
Get more details about the organic loungewear collection in our article, Best Organic Cotton Clothing: What to Look for in Sustainable Clothes
Eco-Friendly Products for the Bathroom
There are lots of opportunities to make your bathroom more sustainable too. Think organic toiletries, biodegradable grooming essentials, ethically sourced bath linens and other eco-friendly products.
Sustainable Shampoo and Conditioner
What makes shampoo and conditioner sustainable? A few things. For one, the container can be recyclable, made from recycled materials or biodegradable. Some brands forgo the container altogether by way of brilliantly designed shampoo bars. Additionally, the formulas are typically septic-safe, biodegradable or otherwise earth-friendly.
Organic Body Soap
Organic body soap isn't just good for the planet. Lathering up with an earth-sourced formula chock full of natural butters, plant oils and botanicals is an incredibly luxurious experience.
Hydrating Hand Soap
Treat yourself (and the environment) to some sustainable hand soap. Look for formulas with purifying earth-sourced surfactants and naturally moisturizing plant oils — even better if it comes in bar form or a recycled glass pump bottle.
You might also consider getting biodegradable toothbrushes. The handles of these environmentally safe products are often made of bamboo, corn or wood, all of which decompose quickly.
Organic & Ethically Made Towels
Like bedding, sustainable towels are typically sourced from plant fibers and produced with practices that meet ethical and social standards. Look for high-quality weaves that'll last several years, like Mediterranean-inspired fouta, classic Turkish cotton, GOTS certified organic cotton, or waffle towels.
For additional guidance, read our articles:
Best Organic Bath Towels: What to Look for in Eco-Friendly Towels
What Are the Best Towel Materials and What Sizes Should You Buy?
Linen Shower Curtain
Upgrading to a linen shower curtain isn't a bad idea either. Not only is the material sourced from sustainable crops, but it's also machine washable and supremely durable, so you won't have to replace it any time soon.
See our Guide to Shower Curtains for tips on selecting materials, sizes and colors.
There are lots of eco-friendly products designed to help you minimize your water use. For instance, a water-saving showerhead can cut your consumption in half while saving you money on utility costs.
See our Organic and Sustainable Bathroom Essentials and Bathroom Interior Design Ideas guides for more tips.
Safe, Eco-Friendly Products for the Laundry Room
What about the laundry room? There are many excellent eco-friendly products for this space. Here's what you should know.
Natural Laundry Detergent
Some of the best sustainable home products are cleaning products, and laundry detergent is no exception. Natural formulas are ideal, as they're free of dyes, synthetic cleaning agents, optical brighteners and other artificial additives.
Plant-based detergents call on naturally derived surfactants and enzymes to tackle dirt and stains without fading or deteriorating your clothes. What's more, biodegradable formulas are septic-safe and dissolve notably fast, even on cold cycles.
The benefits don't end there. Learn more in our article, Why Use a Natural Laundry Detergent? Your Questions Answered.
Natural Linen Spray
If you buy unscented laundry detergent to save your loved ones from skin sensitivities but love a nice scent, you can always add a few spritzes of plant-based linen spray. The 100% natural Linen Mist Spray from Parachute flaunts a light, refreshing fragrance of lavender, sage, geranium and peppermint.
Wool Dryer Balls
Looking for ways to cut down on your household energy use or alternative products to replace your chemical fabric softener? Get this: Wool dryer balls can cut tumble-drying time in half while fluffing up your linens.
For more info, see our article, Do Dryer Balls Really Work? Everything You Need to Know About Wool Dryer Balls.
To take your laundry room sustainability up a notch, get a clothes-drying rack. Hang-drying your garments and bedding instead of tossing them in the dryer will reduce your energy use and save on electricity costs. Not only that, but air-drying is also easier on your fabrics.
Canvas Laundry Hamper
Instead of a plastic basket, you might think about getting a more sustainable option, like a Canvas Laundry Hamper made of pre-shrunk cotton. When you remove the insert from the frame, it's washable, durable and ethically produced.
For more ideas, check out our article, Laundry Room Accessories 101: Laundry Essentials You Need for Clean Living.
Eco-Friendly Products for the Kitchen
Don't overlook the kitchen when giving your home a sustainability makeover. From cookware and hand towels to cleaning products and table linens, there are myriad eco-friendly things you can get for the heart of the home.
Fouta Kitchen Towels
Loomed from 100% long-staple Turkish cotton grown in the Aegean Region of the Mediterranean, fouta towels are among the choicest eco-friendly products for the kitchen. The fabric's impressive absorbency is great for drying dishes, and the traditional flat weave makes it a perfect reusable replacement for paper towels.
For more insight into this eco-conscious fabric, read our article, What Is Turkish Cotton?
Help your clothes last longer with a lightweight Linen Apron from Parachute. The practical yet sophisticated design is understated and gender-neutral, with convenient front pockets and ties around the neck and waist.
Reusable Food Storage Bags
Reusable food storage bags are an excellent choice for sustainable homes. Instead of reaching for single-use plastic baggies, you can stash snacks, leftovers and pre-portioned meals in these washable, leak-proof pouches.
In the market for products that are good for the environment? Designated recycling bins are vital, but if you already have those, you might want to get a compost bin too. Whether you fertilize your garden with the decomposed scraps or have your waste management provider pick them up, composting is an excellent way to make your household greener.
Sustainable Table Linens
Impress your guests with an eco-friendly tablecloth and reusable cloth napkins. Linen is ideal for table linens, as it's made from sustainably sourced flax, plus it's machine washable and one of the longest-lasting textiles.
When it comes to sustainable plates, bowls, mugs and serving platters, the more durable, the better. The artisan-made ceramic dinnerware collection from Parachute is crafted from fired clay, making it all the more resilient and long-lasting.
See what went into this collab in our article, Parachute x Jono Pandolfi: Behind the Design.
Reusable straws are not only eco-friendly but also totally chic. They come in various materials, including stainless steel and silicone, and are typically dishwasher-safe.
Jute Dining Room Rug
Jute area rugs are a prime choice for dining rooms. The natural color variance of the plant fibers helps conceal stains, and the flat weave is easy to vacuum. Braided jute rugs are also typically handmade by artisans and surprisingly long-lasting.
Learn more about this all-star material in our blog, What Is a Jute Rug? Jute Rug Decor and Care Tips.
Plant-Based Cleaning Spray
You're wise to keep a plant-based cleaning spray on hand as well. From distilled white vinegar and soap bark to corn and coconut enzymes, many all-purpose green formulas boast impressive cleaning power without depositing harsh chemicals onto your surfaces.
Where to Buy Eco-Friendly Products for Your Home
Parachute is committed to being your resource for sustainable home goods and ethically made living essentials. When you browse the site, you'll find GOTS and Oeko-Tex certified bedding and towels, down inserts that meet the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), organic textiles, natural laundry products, artisan-made decorative pieces and eco-friendly loungewear.
Shop the collections today!
Best Organic Bathrobes: What to Look for in Sustainable Robes
How to Recycle, Donate, or Re-Use Old Towels & Sheets
Waffle Weave Fabric Guide: What Are the Best Waffle Weave Products?
What Is Long-Staple Egyptian Cotton?
What is Jersey Cotton Clothing? Why You Need It For Maximum Comfort
Best Lightweight Bedding: Naturally Cooling Bedding Materials to Know
The 14 Best Plants for Bedrooms
Parachute Guide to Design and Decor Ideas for Your Home
How to Create an Interior Design Mood Board