Karl Lohnes: Eco-friendly products to make your home a little greener

A roundup of eco-consciously designed items that will help you help the Earth, from the kitchen or to the laundry room.

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Every spring I’m reminded of new growth, as the gardens start to bloom and baby birds break free into the world. It truly is magical, and for me, Earth Day is the official launch of the season. Although we should be kind to the planet every day, this annual observance on April 22 is a strong reminder that we need to look after our little spinning orb to ensure those flowers and birdies come back every year for future generations.

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As a home decor expert, I’m thrilled to see companies in my industry working to create products that are better for the Earth. As consumers, it’s our duty to ask how the products we purchase for our homes – both their materials and their manufacture – affect the planet, and how long they’ll last. I’ve sourced a few eco-consciously designed items that will help you help the Earth, whether you’re renovating your kitchen or cleaning your clothes.

Thinking ahead

When planning major home renovations, I always consider the footprint created by items that will need to be replaced in the future. Two rooms that tend to be upgraded at least every 10 to 20 years are the kitchen and bathrooms. Among my favorite products for surfacing shower walls, kitchen counters and backsplashes are manufactured quartz and engineered stone.

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Silestone by Cosentino is leading the way in cleaning up the manufacturing process of these beautiful, durable materials. Its latest surfacing products are made with HybriQ technology – a manufacturing process that relies on 99 per cent reused water and 100 per cent renewable electric energy, while also ensuring the atmosphere and local water sources aren’t being polluted.

In terms of composition, the surface cells of manufactured quartz are made with raw minerals and recycled materials (which deliver equal or better durability than regular quartz). One such collection from Silestone is called Sunlit Days, which is also a carbon-neutral collection. Good for the environment and beautiful for your home? I’ll take that as an excellent start to helping make the planet a better place.

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A more eco-friendly way to safely store food.  Ziploc Compostable Bags, $ 5 to $ 8 per box, www.ziploc.ca.
A more eco-friendly way to safely store food. Ziploc Compostable Bags, $ 5 to $ 8 per box, www.ziploc.ca.

Everyday choices

As someone who is constantly cooking and baking, I go through a lot of storage bags to freeze, store or give food away. I find them more pliable than reusable storage containers, and they take up less space in the fridge and freezer. Although their plastic bags are recyclable, Ziploc recently launched a new compostable bag. It provides the same function, but it’s fully compostable (including the zipper) in industrial composting facilities. Choosing compostable products helps reduce landfill waste and creates a valuable soil supplement. This means I can make the planet a greener (and tastier) place with every batch of baked goods.

Clean your laundry while protecting your community's waterways.  Mrs.  Meyer's Clean Day Rain Water Laundry Detergent, $ 22, www.well.ca.
Clean your laundry while protecting your community’s waterways. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Rain Water Laundry Detergent, $ 22, www.well.ca.

Weekly chores

I’m always amazed at how many cleaning products I use on a weekly basis. From washing dishes to cleaning floors or doing laundry, there are so many chemicals that go down the drain and into our waterways. A few years ago, I discovered the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products. The packaging is attractive, the product always smells amazing, and it works great for a superb clean.

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My latest crush is on their new Rain Water laundry detergent. It’s made with plant-derived ingredients and dirt- and stain-fighting enzymes, while offering up a fresh scent (floral notes hint at the wondrous smells soon to await us in the garden). With additional plant-derived ingredients like coconut or olive oil – Mrs. Meyer’s products do not contain any chlorine bleach, petroleum or parabens – I love that my laundry can be clean, smell amazing and allow me to help protect our planet’s waterways, and all the flora and fauna that live in the water, from harsh chemicals .

Do you have a decor dilemma or want more decor ideas? Follow Karl on Instagram at @karl_lohnes.

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