Sustainable New Year
We know how difficult it is to keep resolutions as the weeks go by, so we narrowed it down to three categories (dress, dine, and clean) to encourage you to make better, more sustainable choices throughout the New Year. The key to making long-term changes to lead a more sustainable life is not to stress about being perfect, focus on simple swaps you can make in your daily life.
If the pandemic has you on a first-name basis with the Amazon Prime delivery guy, let us introduce you to a few Philly-based companies that are proponents of the “slow fashion” movement and care about the environment.
Lobo Mau which means “Big Bad Wolf” in Portuguese, was started by siblings Jordan and Nicole Haddad in their Bok Building headquarters in South Philly. There, Jordan hand-prints original textiles for super comfy, stylish attire for men and women designed by Nicole.
“It was sustainable from the start,” said Nicole who uses deadstock, organic fabrics and produces new collections in limited quantities. They opened their flagship store at 6th & Bainbridge just a few weeks before the pandemic hit. If you want to see what’s available now, visit their online store.
Tesoro Design is a female-owned leather goods company, makes fair-trade, ethically manufactured, sustainable products right here in Philly. Owner Britt Reed studied in Florence, Italy, and New York before launching her own
business in her parents’ basement in 2013.
Tesoro’s vegetable tanned leather bags, wallets belts combine European style with local manufacturing. With an eye on recycling, she also sells vintage leather jackets and coats from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. During the pandemic, she had to close her flagship store at 1533 South St and switch to online. “We believe that producing our bags in America is not only better for our communities, but also for the environment,” said Reed.
The Nesting House’s motto “Responsible retail for the next generation” says it all. Originally created by two, young moms, the concept is to make high-quality, non-toxic, sustainable products for children available at affordable prices. This includes just about everything needed for infants and children, from car seats and strollers to swaddles and toys.
“The secret sauce is we give you cash and store credit when you re-sell furniture or clothes,” said current owner Jennifer Kinda. “You can use that to purchase new or used items.”
When the pandemic hit, The Nesting House locations in South Philly and West Philly closed. The Mt. Airy location is still going strong, as is their online store.
From greenhouse gas emissions to deforestation, species extinction, and water pollution, the animal agriculture industry is a big force behind our planet’s environmental crisis. What can you do about it? Consider going vegan or make an effort to patronize local vegan and vegetarian eateries.
Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or a carnivore, you have to admire the chutzpah of restaurateur Nicole Marquis who combines 100% plant-based eateries with cocktails. Charlie was a Sinner, 131 S. 13th St., has an eclectic menu that goes from Banh Mi to Mama’s Meatballs, while Bar Bombon,133 S. 18th St, offers vegetarian Mexican fare with Margaritas. For those who don’t require a chaser with your vegan burger, try Marquis’ HipCityVeg, located at 127 S. 18th St.
Other popular plant-based eateries include The Tasty at 1401 S. 12th in South Philly (a charming 1950’s style luncheonette serving up vegan breakfasts and lunch, including cheesesteaks, burritos, and donuts) and Blackbird Pizzeria at 614 N 2nd St. in Northern Liberties.
If you’re not ready, or just don’t want to cut meat or dairy from your diet, prioritize buying local produce and supporting farm-to-table restaurants that source directly from local farms as much as possible.
Some of the best, organic cleaning products – baking soda, vinegar, cornstarch, and lemons – are probably already in your kitchen.
For carpet stains, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Leave the solution on the stain for 15 minutes. Scrub with a soap and water solution. Unclog bathtub and sink drains by mixing a half cup of baking soda with a half cup of vinegar and following up with boiling water.
Create a non-toxic wood polish by mixing 1/2 cup warm water with just a few drops of lemon oil. Mix the solution thoroughly and apply it onto a slightly damp cotton cloth. Wipe the wooden surface with the damp cloth, then finish by wiping with a dry cloth.
Cornstarch is also an excellent alternative to clean and polishing sliding windows, picture windows, bay and bow windows, fiberglass doors, and other glass surfaces. Use it to work through tough dirt and stains from rugs and carpets.
You can also reduce plastic waste by ditching those dish soap bottles. Pick up a vegan solid dish soap at Good Buy Supply or opt to refill for your cleaning essentials through Ray’s Reusables, a mobile refill station, or with a subscription to The Rounds, a local refill and delivery service for household basics.
At Solo Real Estate, we encourage you to adopt sustainable changes at your own speed. Making just one small change each week will add up to a much better year for everyone.
Looking for other ways you can be more sustainable? Check out our article on Four Ways to Minimize your Waste Footprint in Philadelphia or our list on 5 Things Philly Renters can do for the Environment.