How to have a Zero Waste Coffee Routine

Continuing our coffee series from our last blog post, 5 fair trade coffee brands from the coffee lover in your life, we wanted to cover our absolute FAVORITE way to make coffee. This method brews the smoothest, richest cup of coffee and as a perk – its 100% zero waste!

Depending on how your make coffee, its likely you’ll have some waste produced. Whether its a coffee filter, or k-cup, there are many ways for your morning cup-o-joe to produce items destined for the trash can.

However, there is a convenient, tasty way to switch to a zero waste method! Introducing the Moka Pot. If you havent heard of these babies before, we highly encourage you to check out their amazon page with over 13,000 reviews.

Moka Pot

How it works

The Moka pot produces one of the smoothest brews with strong, rich, and velvety finish. To brew your coffee, you simply: fill the bottom chamber up with water below the steam valve line, insert the metal filter, fill the middle chamber up with coffee, screw the top chamber on and place the whole pot on the stove.

After 5-10 mins on medium heat, the moka pot will have pulled the water from the bottom chamber through the filter middle chamber and produced a strong cup of coffee in the top. All you need to do at this point is pour and enjoy!

Why We Love It

We love this pot for two reasons – the first is the coffee is really good! This process creates a stronger and smoother brew than your typical drip coffee. The coffee brewed from this is pretty strong, so we like to add some warmed and/or frothed milk of your choice to create a latte.

However, if you’re into a dark espresso vibe, drink it straight out of the pot! No added milk required.

The second reason we love it is this method produces zero waste for your trash bin. No more coffee filters or k-cups. The Moka pot can simply be washed and reused as often as you like.

Interested in more coffee content? Check out this blog post on 5 fair trade coffee brands from the coffee lover in your life.

Why You Should be Using this All Natural Shampoo Bar

All natural shampoo bars are possibly something that you’ve never heard of, or havent considered making the switch from your favorite brand that you’re currently using.

Shampoo Bars are the latest fad trending on Tiktok, Pinterest, and other social media sites – but for good reason! Today we’re exploring why these products are taking off, and our personal favorite all natural brand to use!

So, what is a shampoo bar?

Shampoo bars are essentially exactly what they sound like. Instead of having liquid shampoo, it comes in a bar form. Pretty self explanatory, but what’s not so self explanatory is WHY they’re so popular.

Why We Love this Trend

We love this new shampoo bar trend and are ready to hop on the bandwagon for a few key reasons.

First major reason – it’s a super eco-friendly way to reduce waste in your everyday shower routine! Shampoo bars by nature use way less packaging and plastic than your traditional shampoo bottle. Our favorite brand, Aspen Kay Naturals, ships their shampoo bars in a metal tin to completely eliminate plastic from their packaging.

Second reason – its super convenient for travelling! How many times have you stayed at a hotel only to find that they use provide those mini shampoo bottles in a brand that is not compatible with your hair? Shampoo bars are compact and easy to travel with. They’re great not only for regular travel, but also for camping! Just make sure if you’re showering in nature that you’re bar is made with biodegradable ingredients.

Third reason – if you pick the right bar (check out our favorite here), its a sulfate free hair care routine. Sulfates are harsh on hair and can strip hair of the natural oils that protect them (yuck). Switching to a sulfate free bar can strengthen your hair and make it healthier.

Enter Aspen Kay Naturals

Aspen Kay Naturals has one of our favorite shampoo bars on the market. Its affordable (1 bar will cost $13.99 or you can get a 2 pack for $23.99). They come in natural scents such as citrus and rosemary. And of course – they’re ethically sourced!

Each product from Aspen Kay Naturals is handmade in the USA. They’re a small business that offers a variety of natural, sustainable products ranging from hair care to body soap and more. Their products are vegan and cruelty free. With each shampoo bar hand made in the USA, they have a built in guaranteed a minimum wage for all workers (which is more than companies that source from developing countries can say without an additional certification).

With some shampoo bars a transition is required where you slowly wean off of your normal shampoo. However, because of the natural ingredients and impressive lather from this little bar, no transition period is required.

In addition to their shampoo bars, they offer a lot of other lovely products as well! We personally love their fugly soap bars, which takes the scrap soap from the soap making process and sells them in 1lb bags for $19.99. This is both eco friendly by reducing waste, and a bargain for you! .

Check them out and if you dont love any of their products (although we’re sure you will) they offer free returns on any product!

Why We’re Obsessed With These Fair Trade Jeans from Madewell

We’re always on the hunt for a perfect pair of jeans. We need the perfect fit, durable, high quality, perfect wash, and of course we want them to be ethically sourced.

Enter Madewell.

As you may know, at Fairly Woven we’re BIG fans of products sourced from Fair Trade suppliers (check out our blog post on what it means to be fair trade certified, if you’re curious to learn more).

A lot of brands claim they’re ethically sourced, they’re somewhat transparent about how they produce their goods, or use green buzzwords that don’t always have a ton of meaning behind them.

Madewell, however, has taken it a step further than many! They have a collection of denim that is sourced from Fair Trade suppliers, and the selection is impressive! The number of washes, silhouettes, sizes, and inseam lengths that are available speaks to the fact that they have not cut corners when putting thought into their Fair Trade denim collection.

Our favorite pair though, really hits all the marks. Their perfect vintage jean has an 11″ rise, making it super high waisted compared to other brands. The fit is somewhat loose, Madewell describes them as “these are “mom jeans”…if your mom was a ’90s supermodel”.

They’re also available in multiple washes (scroll down for the options!) and all are available in petite, regular, and tall inseam sizes!

All of these factors, combined with the fact that Madewell is well known for their high quality denim and attention to detail, puts these at the top of our list if you’re looking for Fair Trade denim!

Wash 1: Ainsworth

Wash 2: Rosabelle

Wash 3: Sumner

10 Fair Trade Gift Ideas from West Elm for the Interior Design Lover

We’re so excited for our first gift guide this holiday season! We all have people to buy for, whether its family, friends, or co-workers there’s ample amounts of shopping to be done for whatever holiday you choose to celebrate.

Throughout December, we’ll be publishing gift guides from retailers that have a wide selection of Fair Trade Certified products. Our first featured retailer is West Elm! Their products are elegant and beautiful, and when you can ensure they’re fairly sourced each item has all the makings for the perfect gift!

Want to learn more about fair trade certifications are? Check out our blog post on What it means to be Fair Trade certified!

And without further adieu – our top 10 Fair Trade items from West Elm!

Felt Stockings

These felt stockings are the perfect gift for a friend or coworker – they’re classic silhouettes that will finish any mantel off in true West Elm style. Sourced from a Fair Trade supplier in Nepal, these stockings look good and do good!

Marled Basket Weave Throw

This Marled Basket Weave throw gives us ALL the cozy vibes, which is perfect for a 2020 holiday season! Stay home and social distance from others with these beautiful throws, available in multiple colors.

Felted Mistletoe

The next item on our list is the perfect gift for a friend, or someone special! This adorable felted mistletoe is a charming addition to any Christmas decor! Available for $13, this is a perfect way to show someone how you care for them this holiday season.

Spun Metal Standing Planter

The perfect gift for a plant-person in your life! Available in multiple sizes, this classic planter is sure to go with a wide variety of interior d├ęcor. Fill it with a beautiful plant and give it to your green thumbed friend!

Felted PomPom Mobile

Got someone in your life who’s expecting? This felted pompom mobile is made from a fair trade facility in Nepal, and could not be any cuter. Its the perfect gift for someone who’s expecting new life in 2021!

Fishes Eddy Gilded Cafe Mirror Tray

Got a friend who’s a fan of cocktails, but short on space? This mirror tray is so versatile it can be used for a number of things, but our personal favorite is using it as a mini bar cart!

Round Lush Velvet Pillows

Who doesn’t love a good throw pillow? These Lush Velvet pillows come in a wide range of colors, making it easy to pair to your person’s existing decor!

Pixel Steps Rug

The Pixel Steps Rug from West Elm is a great gift for someone, or for yourself! Its bright, fun, and handwoven from a Fair Trade facility, so it checks all the boxes for the perfect addition to any home!

Felt Penguin Ornament

An easy gift to show your loved ones your thinking of them this season is an ornament. When you can find an adorable ornament that does good in the world, its all the better! This felt penguin ornament is cute as can be, and sourced from a fair trade facility in Nepal its a great addition to your holiday list!

Mid Century Bar Cart

Got a cocktail whiz on your list? Or maybe shopping for something for yourself? This Mid Century style Bar Cart is beautiful, and sourced from a fair trade supplier so you can feel good about this addition to someones home!

What Does It Mean to be Fair Trade Certified

Fair Trade, Explained

Our first on a many post series of buzzwords in the sustainability industry – what does it mean to be Fair Trade certified? Its much more than just an environmental certification, but really an all encompassing label that helps ensure companies are operating with ethical standards in place.

You’ve probably seen companies that offer either a selection of products that are fair trade certified or have a business model based on only sourcing from fair trade suppliers across the globe. Some of the more common industries to find fair trade products include coffee and chocolate, although you can find fair trade products across many different industries besides these two.

If a company has a fair trade certification, it means that they’ve gone through the process to gain a certification from an independent organizations such as Fair Trade America or Fair Trade Certified. These independent organizations help evaluate the company requesting the certification to ensure that the Fair Trade standards and core principals are being followed.

So what are these standards anyways?

The goal of Fair Trade organizations are to ensure that certain standards are being met by companies that will bear the Fair Trade label on their products. Standards that are evaluated include economic, social, and environmental factors.

Economic Standards

Economic standards set for Fair Trade include ensuring that companies are paying their workers a fair living wage. Companies are evaluated not only on how they pay their own employees but also how they work with their suppliers and vendors.

Companies need to demonstrate that they’re treating all parties associated with their company in a fair way that will drive economic development across their supply chain. Companies with a fair trade certification should not be exploiting any partners they work with.

Traceability is very important in evaluating economic impact. Fair trade companies are concerned with maintaining traceability throughout their supply chain to ensure their impact is positive from beginning to end.

Environment

Fair trade companies should be focused on acting responsibly in terms of environmental impact. The goal is to minimize overall impact to the planet.

A fair trade company must ensure that the production of their products are produced in an ethical and responsible way. This includes not only their in house operations, but any suppliers that the company works with also.

Examples of responsible environmental sourcing for Fair Trade companies include evaluating pesticide usage, minimizing usage of harmful chemicals, minimizing waste produced from products, and ensuring protection of natural resources.

Social

The third major pillar of standards for a Fair Trade company is the set of social standards they must comply with. Fair Trade companies have zero tolerance for child labor. They ensure that factories and work environments are maintained well and safe for employees to work in.

Fair trade companies also look at worker rights – and often ensure that their employees have opportunities like employment contracts, which helps ensure a fair agreement is in place between the employer and employee. Often employees at fair trade companies have the right to organize and request changes for employers to make such as enhanced work environments, benefits like on site child care, and more.

As with the first two categories, social standards apply not only to the company itself, but also to suppliers the company works with.

So, why should you buy fair trade products?

In short, when you buy fair trade products you’re ensuring that your goods are purchased from a company that has gone through a set of rigourous standards and been verified by an independent organization that has given their stamp of approval.

This is a step further than some companies that might position themselves as sustainable or ethical, simply because we have another source of verification, rather than a company just proclaiming that they are sustainable because they’ve looked at their processes themselves.

Remember – all Fair Trade certified companies are verified by an external organization unrelated to their company. This extra layer of verification is there to assure consumers that the company has thoroughly evaluated not only their own internal processes, but also their partners throughout their supply chain to ensure that their products are helping to make the world a better place.