What a Product is Made of Makes a Difference

When it comes to thoughtful consumerism, knowing what the product you are purchasing is made of is important. The type of material has a direct connection to whether or not the product can be considered eco-friendly. There are a lot of sustainable materials that are used to make home goods and decor and that you can feel good about having in your home. 


Often referred to as the “golden fiber” due to its color and cost-effectiveness, jute is a natural fiber derived from plants native to the Indian subcontinent. The long, soft and shiny fibers obtained from the Corchorus Olitorius and Corchorus Capsularis plants are spun into coarse, strong thread and often used to make baskets, rugs, and rope. These plants grow year-round and grow without needing too much water or any chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The low maintenance and fast maturity for these plants cause them to have a very low carbon footprint. As well as these plants have a high carbon dioxide assimilation rate, thus counteracting the greenhouse effect!

Jute is highly durable, reusable and recyclable and is a great eco-friendly material to use and have in the home!


Native to the tropical jungles of Asia, Malaysia, and China, rattan is a climbing vine-like palm often used in the production of wicker baskets and furniture. The rattan palm has solid stems that vary from 1 to 2 inches in diameter and can grow as long as 200 to 500 feet. The outer bark of rattan is used for canning while the inner reed-like section is used to weave wicker products. As a material rattan is lightweight and can withstand extreme conditions of temperature and humidity. As well as it is naturally resistant to insects. 

Rattan is a sustainable material because it is easily renewable and the impact of its source is considered negligible on the environment. Unlike other woods, when harvested, the surrounding forest is not harmed nor chopped down. In order to grow, rattan requires surrounding trees to climb and survive. Rattan is considered a fast growing plant, with the ability to grow 2 cm per day and reaching full maturity in about 2 years. Once harvested, rattan is considered one the most durable, long lasting materials.


Not to be confused with seaweed, seagrass is a rooted plant grown specifically in salt water and has the ability to produce flowers. Seagrass is grown all over the world, but is most largely abundant in Vietnam as a result of having access to a lot of tropical ocean area and marshy waterways. A large amount of the seagrass used for manufacturing of home decor is farmed to be cut and processed specifically for weaving. The growing of seagrass requires minimal resources for its growth and it reaches maturing at a fast rate, making it an eco-friendly resource.

Water Hyacinth

Water Hyacinth, is a plant that grows and floats on freshwater. This plant used to be a great nuisance as it overgrew on the waterways around Vietnam, making it difficult for water travel and for other marine life. Today the plant is cut and dried and then hand woven into baskets and other home decor products. The cutting of the water hyacinth helps ease the environmental burden on these waterways by clearing the way for other river-life. Finding this alternative use for water hyacinth has ultimately improved the health of waterway ecosystems. 

Before purchasing a product, take the time to look at what it is made of. Natural resources are a great alternative to plastic and knowing how those materials were sourced and their impact on the environment, can help you feel good about having them in your home.

What you purchase has an impact, so make a thoughtful choice.