This article is a part of CNN Underscored’s Earth Week, a weeklong focus on our planet and ways to celebrate and preserve it. We’ll be featuring tips on how to live more sustainably, products to help you spend more time in nature and exclusive deals all week, so check in every morning to see what’s new, and be sure to subscribe to the CNN Underscored newsletter to see it all.
Sometimes, everyday products our editors use don’t make it into our in-depth, long-form comparative pieces in which we vigorously test similar products head-to-head. That’s where our Editors’ Picks come in — where we highlight everyday products we personally stand by and use on a daily basis, and think you should too.
Knowing what is and isn’t an eco-friendly product can be hard at times. It’s easy to get lost in a brand’s marketing lingo and buy something that seems “green” but isn’t actually much better for the earth.
That’s why we asked our editors to round up their favorite products that are actually eco-friendly in one way or another. Whether the products are made from recycled materials, use ethically sourced ingredients, can be composted or will just help you reduce your waste, here are our editors’ favorite sustainable products.
I bought these on a whim not knowing anything about the brand, but once I looked it up, I became a huge fan. Bangs isn’t just another shoe brand. On top of the adorable embroidery designs, the shoes are made from 100% vegan, ethically sourced materials, and the workers are paid fair wages and the brand is transparent about it. If that wasn’t awesome enough, Bangs also uses 20% of net profits to invest in entrepreneurs around the world. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
After researching and reporting on sustainable fashion brands, two of the experts I talked to recommended Outerknown. I had never heard of it before, but I finally got around to trying some of Outerknown’s clothes and I am beyond impressed. My favorite piece so far is its famous Blanket Shirt, which is a heavy flannel made from 100% organic cotton. It feels incredibly well made, extremely cozy and by far my favorite flannel. Plus, readers can get 20% off sitewide at Outerknown with code CNNEARTH. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor
Swimwear is a huge culprit when it comes to sustainability. I’ve seen so many people buy a bikini for a trip only to throw it out afterward because the elastic wears out too quickly or the colors fade. If you want to skip poorly made fast fashion, I recommend checking out Zonarch. The brand’s swimwear is made in the USA out of 100% postconsumer waste, has ethical manufacturing and pays fair wages. The brand’s site is completely transparent about its rigorous labor and environmental standards as well. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
Lo & Sons is transforming damaged and returned products into unique, durable and versatile tote bags that are perfect for your daily commute or traveling. These bags in particular are 100% handmade and hand-numbered. My other favorite product is the brand’s do-it-all tote, the Catalina Supreme, which is made from recycled plastic bottles and plant-based cactus “leather.” It even has a suitcase handle, so gone are the days of juggling multiple bags — it’s saved my shoulder and sanity. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
What could be more sustainable than plants? If you lack a green thumb like I do, I’d love to introduce you to Moss Ball Kokedamas from the brand Kazumi Garden. These gorgeous handmade living works of art add a pop of color to your home and also make great gifts. The plants are locally sourced, and the moss is sustainably obtained and never toxic. They are incredibly easy to care for and can last years. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
I’ve been on a mission to swap out my normal drugstore toothpaste for an all-natural version that still fights against cavities but is gentle on my teeth — and the environment. Before’s toothpaste checks all of those boxes. The brand is also on a sustainable mission with the first plant-based tubes and donations toward environmental initiatives. Want to try it out? CNN Underscored readers can exclusively save 50% off one tube with the code CNN50 — making it only $5! — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
I adore Rumpl’s puffy blankets because they’re so warm and cozy. The designs are great and they’re made with a tear-resistant material that makes it the perfect blanket to take to the backyard, camp, the park or anywhere else. Oh, and each Original Puffy is made from 60 recycled plastic bottles. Don't forget to use code CNNEARTH to get 15% off any order over $99. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor
It’s hard to realize how much plastic you use in your daily life until you start cutting it out. Blueland has been a fantastic cleaning alternative for my household that has drastically reduced my waste. I especially love the brand’s Clean Essentials Kit, which features everything you need to keep all the surfaces in your home clean. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t state my love for Blueland’s laundry and dishwasher tablets as well. Now's a great time to stock up since you can score 20% off sitewide with code CNNEARTH. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor
Trying to find hair care products that are sustainable, not tested on animals, affordable and actually work can seem like a huge task. Thankfully, my search stopped when I came across Function of Beauty. You can get salon-worthy hair for less than 10 bucks and feel good about your purchase because the products are 96% naturally derived. I love that the brand offers customization depending on your type of hair and if you want to add shine, length, strength, anti-frizz or curl definition. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
I recently swapped out all of my chemical-filled cleaning products for Branch Basics’ nontoxic cleaners and am so happy I finally made the switch. One bottle of concentrate replaces your all-purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, hand soap, laundry detergent and glass cleaner. The bottle is huge, and while the price may be a lot at first glance, it lasts for ages. It works on every single type of mess around your home — I’ve even removed pen from my favorite dress with it. If you’re unsure, I definitely recommend trying the $5 trial kit. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
Pockets? Check. Comfortable? Check. Built-in bra and shorts? Check. Stylish? Check. Organic cotton and fair trade? Check. Pact, dubbed “Earth’s Favorite” clothing, is my newfound favorite apparel company after a very well-placed targeted Instagram ad piqued my interest. Pact is transparent about where material comes from as well as the brand’s sustainability efforts. If for some reason none of that matters to you, Pact’s clothes are incredibly versatile and well made. Plus, the prices are much lower than most organic and fair trade brands out there. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
You could ask just about everyone in my life and they’ll agree that I’ve given them a spiel about how terrible palm oil is for the environment. I was so excited to come across Palmless and the brand’s no-bull approach to saving the rainforest. This multiuse palm oil alternative is incredibly nourishing for hair, face and body. It smells incredible and instantly quenches dry skin. Plus, for every bottle purchased one tree is planted in Indonesia, a place where the palm oil industry has done serious damage. In honor of Earth Month, the brand is doubling donation efforts through its ongoing partnership with One Tree Planted. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
Compression socks have become a staple in my life. Whether on long flights or just sitting at my desk all day, they are a great addition to help minimize swelling and improve circulation. Comrad’s recycled cotton versions are just as amazing as the brand’s regular socks. They’re super comfortable and come in a variety of colors. I definitely recommend them for anyone who stands or sits all day. — Lindsey Smith, associate editor
Klean Kanteen is doing something really cool in the drinkware space by creating more and more products with certified 90% postconsumer recycled steel. This insulated mug is one of those products, and I’ve been loving how hot it keeps my morning coffee — not to mention its gorgeous looks. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor
My new go-to work bag, this cute Baggu piece is roomy enough to fit my 13-inch laptop, charger, compact umbrella and more. It’s made out of recycled nylon that feels durable enough to carry my essentials and withstand the daily strains of toting it around the city. The strap is also adjustable and long enough that I can even wear it crossbody. The black color was great for winter, and now I’m considering picking up the Taupe or Avocado because I love the style so much. — Sophie Shaw, associate beauty editor
How many times have you been at the beach and stumbled on a gross little floating Band-Aid? Probably too many. Unlike other adhesive bandages, WoolAids are made with merino wool rather than plastic. Not only will a WoolAid biodegrade in four months, but while it’s on, the skin and wound underneath can breathe and thus stay dry rather than getting that unpleasant soggy feeling. They also come in colors like blue and gray instead of attempting to match any kind of “flesh” tone, and stay on forever — I had one on my pinky toe (a notoriously slippery bandage spot) that did not budge for days, even across hiking, hot tubs and a downhill Zorb adventure. — Rena Behar, copy editor
Allbirds has been a popular and innovative brand in the eco-friendly shoe scene for years now, and for good reason too. The brand makes sneakers that are much better for the earth than traditional kicks, plus they’re super comfortable and look good too. I got a pair of Tree Dashers last year and wear them when I go for runs or when I just want a plush, cozy sneaker to walk around town in. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor
More and more outdoors brands are putting a focus on sustainability, and I think Ibex is doing a great job. The brand focuses around the amazing properties of merino wool, which is naturally biodegradable, is Climate Neutral certified and has a close relationship with its entire supply chain to ensure safe and fair working conditions. This hoodie is made from 100% merino wool and is our favorite layer to wear on shoulder season hikes. It’s lightweight, it provides decent warmth when it needs to, but it isn’t too hot, so you can actually wear it when the sun is out too. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor
Avoiding plastic is tough, especially with all the soaps, cleansers, skin and hair care that compromise my daily routine. In an effort to cut back, I swapped my plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles for these bars. These last me just as long as the bottles and cost about the same. Plus, this way I know I'm getting every ounce if product possible, down to the very final suds, and I keep unnecessary plastic out of my bins. — Jillian Tracy, editorial coordinator
I’ve been enjoying Nomadix’s lightweight, ultra-absorbent and quick-drying towels for a while, but the one I’ve fallen the most in love with is the Bandana Towel. It’s super tiny and can be folded down so small it could easily fit in your pocket. I love keeping it on hand to use during workouts or on hikes to wipe sweat away. The best thing about it? It’s made from 88% postconsumer recycled polyester. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor
I’m not always a fan of the way sustainable sneakers look, but this one is a glaring exception. I’m super into its streetwear-inspired silhouette, and even more into the fact that it’s made from 100% plant-based materials. I’ve been wearing these as my daily sneaker for weeks and love the way they look and feel. Plus, you can get 20% off your pair or anything else at Unless Collective when you use code CNNEARTH. — Kai Burkhardt, sustainability and outdoors editor