7 functional home gifts that put Mother Earth first

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      With global temperatures continuing to rise and natural habitats increasingly threatened, climate change remains at the forefront of many Vancouverites’ minds—regardless of the beliefs of a certain ill-qualified president-elect south of the border.

      It’s no surprise, then, that so many local businesses are hopping on the eco-friendly train. Help your friends and family reduce their carbon footprint at home this holiday—and for years to come—with these environmentally minded finds, many of them made by hand in the city.


      Teecycle Depot

      Pillow fight

      Abandoned textiles receive new life in local designer Ellie Robinson’s accessories and décor objects. Dubbing her business Teecycle Depot, the zero-waste advocate creates storage roll-ups, reusable makeup rounds, and delightful ice-cream cozies—tailored to fit snugly over Earnest Ice Cream’s pints—using preloved dishcloth yarn, ribbon, jersey sweatshirts, and more.

      For the home, check out Robinson’s upcycled T-shirt pillows (from $20), which feature graphics from vintage band and logo Ts, polyfibre filling, and the occasional hand-stitched appliqué.

      Find them on Etsy.


      Better Living

      Bubble up

      Get the most out of your all-natural and toxin-free cleaners with Better Living’s foam dispenser ($20). This sleek little number saves up to 70 percent of soap by combining water and air with your favourite liquid lather to produce a frothy substance that gets the job done.

      Available in minimalist shades of black, white, and grey, the device blends seamlessly with all sorts of décor schemes. Its compact shape will look right at home in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry spaces, too.

      Find it at the Soap Dispensary (3718 Main Street).



      Feeling blue

      Any self-respecting Vancouverite should own a bike rack. But those looking to up their green cred—while still showing off their tricked-out Brodie Remus—will love Killwood’s Bika ($399), a locally crafted storage unit that uses B.C. lumber devastated by the pine beetle epidemic.

      The modest, wall-mounted rack boasts characteristic blue streaks—a result of the blue-stain fungus introduced by the bugs—plus space for books, locks, and keys.

      Working with a tighter budget? Killwood also produces the Botto ($22), an upcycled-wood bottle opener set with a rare-earth magnet that latches onto caps.

      Find them online.


      Alisa Yao

      Snack smart

      Ditching the plastic is easy if it means we get to pull out Alisa Yao’s reusable snack bags (from $6.81) at lunch hour.

      The local design student upcycles discarded cotton and burlap—some of which she infuses with water-resistant beeswax—into on-the-go sacks equipped with drawstring closures and transparent windows that allow you to peep at the contents. (So simple yet so ingenious.)

      Fill a few with your recipients’ favourite bulk treats and consider your stocking-stuffer game sorted.

      Find them on Etsy.



      Green goddess

      Experienced gardeners and self-described black thumbs alike will appreciate the Vancouver-based GrowOya’s terracotta Oya (from $22). Shaped like a giant, bulbous vase, the highly efficient watering device distributes moisture to your plants only when they need it.

      Simply bury the vessel in your garden, fill it with water every five to 10 days, and watch your veggies, blooms, and other crops thrive. This ancient form of irrigation eliminates surface evaporation by up to 70 percent while saving you two precious resources: water and time.

      Find them at Greenworks Building Supply (79 West 3rd Avenue).


      Love My Local

      On the table

      British Columbia is known for its clean energy and great wine, so it makes sense for the province to be immortalized in an eco-friendly charcuterie board, right?

      Handcrafted in Vancouver, Love My Local’s B.C. cheese board ($89.87) features a gorgeous wood grain thanks to its renewable-bamboo construction and organic coating of nut-free oils, beeswax, and bamboo extract.

      Break it out at your next wine-and-cheese night alongside a couple of Okanagan bottles and revel in the green-with-envy glances from your guests.

      Find it on Etsy.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.