We all know that recycling waste to reduce the pollution caused by plastic and other non-biodegradable materials is one important step forward. But where do you start if you want to buy environmentally-friendly homewares? Well, with this guide, in which we explore eco-friendly materials, recycled or reclaimed pieces and upcycling techniques. It's a huge bonus that all these buys are as beautiful as they are eco-friendly.
1. A rug made from recycled plastic bottles
Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Who would've thought that recycled plastic bottles could produce a beautiful, tufty yarn for a luxurious indoor rug? The Solitaire Daria rug (opens in new tab) proves that choosing recycled materials needn't mean a compromise on style or quality.
More recycled plastic rugs:
2. Recycled glass vases with style and substance
Glass is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet – to the point where it can be recycled almost endlessly, without any loss of quality. The recycled glass vases (opens in new tab) from Garden Trading come in a wide range of elegant shapes and colours – there's bound to be at least one among them that'll look good in your hallway or kitchen.
More recycled glass vases:
3. A reclaimed storage unit made from old buildings
Would you believe it, these good-looking and useful Papa storage shelves (opens in new tab) from Loaf are made from pine that has been reclaimed from old buildings? And the baskets? Why, recycled plastic, of course.
More reclaimed wood shelving:
4. A fab recycled tote for all your shopping
Ditch leather handbags in favour of these gorgeous – and hardwearing – tote bags (opens in new tab) from Weaver Green. Each bag is made from approximately 150 plastic bottles; they feel like wool and come in a variety of stylish graphic patterns and trendy colours.
More tote bags made from recycled plastic:
5. A recycled glass cake dome to display your bakes
Ideal for displaying your baking achievements, or your favourite cheeses, the recycled glass cake dome (opens in new tab) from Nkuku comes with a sustainably sourced mango wood base.
6. A recycled throw to snuggle up with on the sofa
Judging by the look and feel of the gorgeous Brockworth throw (opens in new tab) from Garden Trading, you'd never guess that this is another recycled plastic product. It will look fab as part of a grey bedroom design scheme.
Prefer wool? There are plenty of recycled wool throws out there:
7. A reclaimed industrial dining table
Fans of industrial-style kitchens will love this imposing salvaged timber industrial reclaimed dining table (opens in new tab) from Home Barn. It comes in three different lengths – 6ft, 7ft, or 8ft – and is manufactured from reclaimed pine.
More reclaimed dining tables:
8. Recycled baskets for boho storage
More recycled baskets:
9. A reclaimed pendant light with an industrial edge
Would you like a piece of history in your kitchen? One that looks super-chic and takes the 'reduce, reuse, recycle' mantra to a whole new level? The XL Walsall MOD pendant lights (opens in new tab) from Skinflint have been salvaged from a munitions factory in Worcestershire; they are very pricey, but also unique and gorgeous.
Want a more affordable option? Here are more vintage pendant lights:
10. A scented candle housed in a recycled wine bottle
Buying scented candles offers lots of opportunities for buying sustainably and ethically, with many natural and handmade options on the market. The wine bottle candle (opens in new tab) from Upcycle Studio takes it up a notch – it comes in a recycled wine bottle for packaging. Can't get much more sustainable than that!
More eco-friendly scented candles:
11. A reclaimed chest of drawers with vintage design
Worried by how sustainable your furniture really is? Go for reclaimed – as the large reclaimed pine chest (opens in new tab) from Out There Interiors proves, it can look great, especially if you like a boho/vintage interior style.
12. A chopping board made from leftover wood (but you wouldn't know it)
We love the stylish 'Klip' Oven wooden chopping board (opens in new tab) from Wearth. It looks and feels lovely, but is made from leftover wood from a workshop. Zero waste, and a perfect kitchen accessory.
More reclaimed and recycled chopping boards: