February shopping: nice and eco does it

February shopping: nice and eco does it

From rugs to teacups via a clever table, a handy-pack of one-handed kitchen towels, a paper breadboard and tiny clay tealight holders to raise money for India's Dalit people, our February guide to sustainable retail therapy covers all bases

By Coco Piras
Pavan rug by Habitat is woven in India from recycled jute fibres and yarns

Habitat has some new eco friendly homeswares, including the circular Pavan rug, made in India from recycled jute yarn and waste fabric. Dia 200cm, £120.

Note: click on the images in the article to see them in larger format with product information.

We've found lots to wax lyrical about. On a practical note, if you've not yet used award-winning Ora kitchen towel, give it a try - we did and we like it. The sheets of bio-degradable paper are circular, the pack is conical, packaging is minimal and crucially, you can grab a sheet with one hand. Ora's now brought out two pack holders, in lime green or white, which are dishwasher proof; and there's a handy half-size £1 travel pack. Find Ora at Tesco stores.

Organic cotton remains hard to come by for homewares, so it was great to come across organic and ethical brand Bennett & Bates at a recent home interiors show. They use organic cotton from India for their gorgeous table linens, available in soft muted colourways and subtle patterns. Check out the reversible table runners...

For the sewing queen bee, adorn your creations with organic cotton/silk/bamboo silk ribbons dyed using plant, not synthetic dyes, from Lancaster & Cornish. Ribbons are sold on wooden spools in 3m lengths and in a choice of widths. Ribbons from £12.


The conical packs of biodegradable Ora kitchen towel can now be placed in washable holders, £4, green or white, from Tesco
Bold and pretty stacking grass baskets woven in Swaziland, £68 for set of 3 at Porcupine Rocks
Deepti mini clay pots containing scented tea lights, £13 for 3, made in India for Dalit.co.uk to raise money for the Dalit people of India, still deemed to be untouchable
Organic cotton from India is used in tableware made by Kent-based Bennett & Bates. Thaksin reversible table runner 40x90cm at £44.90
Bamboo silk ribbon, dyed using plant dyes, from organic fabric brand Lancaster & Cornish, 3m lengths on wooden spools, 2/3/5.5cm widths. lancasterandcornish.com
Layers of recycled paper packaging make the material for this grooved breadboard from Cornwall's innovative Ashortwalk. £34.95. www.ashortwalk.com
Reno table from Furl can be a coffee table, a desk and an 8-seater dining table. From £895, www.furl.co.uk
Reno - Furl's 3 tables in one..here it's in 8-seating dining mode. furl.co.uk
Ora circular paper towels now come in a handy 50-sheet travel pack, £1 a Tesco. Used towels can be composted
Linen mix napkins in from Toghal, which specialises in textile prints from Africa, £33 for four. www.toghal.com

Need a new bread board? We like the grooved Eco Boards from Cornwall's eco inventors Ashortwalk. They're are made from a tough material that itself is made in the US from layers of recycled paper packaging bonded with bio-resins.

Help the Dalit people

For scented candles in utterly charming tiny clay pots, look to Dalit Goods, the 'retail' side of the charity Life Association, founded in the UK in the mid '90s to help improve conditions for India's Dalit people. The Dalits are the 'untouchable' caste in India and they remain oppressed and impoverished. Money raised from the sale of Dalit products - which include clay pot candles, miniature wedding favour tealights, natural soaps, spices and shaving kits - goes to building schools, improving housing and employment for vulnerable communities. 

Not a charity but a business that keeps British weaving very much alive is Bristol-based The British Blanket Company. It offers a wide array of wool blankets and throws in many colours and styles, all woven in the UK. Reasonable prices too -  the recycled wool blanket is a snip at £24.

We love the nature-inspired illustrations and designs of Louise Wilkinson. Her cups and saucers, hand decorated in Stoke, offer a welcome change to drinking from mugs all the time!. www.louisewilkinson.co.uk
Need blankets? choose of a great selection of made in Britain wool blankets, from £34, at The British Blanket Company
Fun Sardine linen tableware, hand-printed in Italy, from Allora, www.allorashop.com
Vintage ivy bio degradable bamboo tableware, from £5.95 at Ethical Superstore. Perfect for picnics or eating on the go
Roar + Rabbit ash wood and glass terrariums, £59 or £79 at West Elm
Solid wood, hand-turned lamp bases, £80 at Natajaq

Flexible furniture for small spaces from Furl

If you feel you can't have people over to dinner because your kitchen's not big enough for a table, check out flexible furniture specialist Furl. They off the wonderful Revo table that can be a coffee tbale, raised up to be a desk and opened out into an 8-seater dining table. Revo is made in Italy, has a recyclable steel base and the top can be made in glass or a wood composite material. From £895


Colourful woven grass baskets from African countries are a great way of putting some vibrancy into a room - and they're useful containers too. We love the set of three red and black stackable baskets, woven in Swaziland and available from London's Porcupine Rocks - which describes itself as an African interiors atelier.

For joyful 100 per cent linen table cloths, runners, placemats and cushions, see Allora Shop. The company offers products handmade in Italy using hand-printed/hand-painted linens. The new Sardines collection is fun, bringing a splash of coastal Italy to your kitchen. Runners £65.

For wonderful prints inspired by original textiles from African countries, look to Toghal. We like their linen mix blue napkin bundle, £33 for four, which offers Congolese designs. 

For jolly and jaunty upcycled furniture and lighting, visit Humblesticks - if you're after a full height mirror, the mid-century teal Rainy Day mirror is pretty, H79cm, £120. 

Colourful splurge map by art pause, available from notonthehighstreet
Rainy Day, mid century mirror upcycled by Humblesticks using teal paint and raindrop stencils. £120, h79cmxw36cm. humblesticks.co.uk

And because Deco's crazy for maps, can we draw your attention to the Paint Splash world map by Art Pause. A choice of colourways and sizes is available. From £10.99 for a print on 260g paper.

Last but not least...for small scale gardening, Roar+Rabbit's ash wood and glass terrariums for West Elm are tempting, prices from £59; and for solid turned wood lamp bases that are made in Britain, look to Natajaq, which offers bases made in a choice of woods, from £80.