Earth Month is upon us! You’ve probably seen many “save-the-earth” slogans gracing your social media accounts — sustainability is having a moment. We all know that though Earth Day and Earth Month only come around once a year, it’s important to shop sustainably as often as you can for the benefit of the ecosystem and our descendants. But let’s face it: though most of us know that this is the right path forward, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Take me, for example. A little under a year ago, working as a fashion blogger for Frangipani Boutique in Miami, I learned more about sustainable and ethical designing and manufacturing, and I made a vow to shop with the values “sustainable” and “ethical” for at least the next year. That led me to some pretty hefty hauls at Everlane, researching as many brands as possible on the search engine “Good On You” and actually reading the fine print about a brand when browsing online. I’m proud to say that (disregarding a few essentials here and there) I was able to maintain over 75 percent percent of purchases at brands that are working to make their products sustainably and with ethical labor practices. But in order to get there, it took some serious commitment on my part.
Enter Goldune. It’s the hot-off-the-presses sustainable shopping site that you didn’t know you needed (I only wish I had discovered it sooner). Founded by former Food52 innovator Azora Zoe Paknad, Goldune aims to create an inclusive “non-judgmental, bright and joyful welcome wagon to sustainability,” Paknad explained during my interview with her. Built out of a “genuine need” for inclusivity and simplicity in the sustainability space, Paknad sought to “steer clear of the granola, all-or-nothing, zero-waste culture that’s become so dominant in the sustainability world.” She then created a platform that is colorful, vibrant, prioritizes women and BIOPIC-owned businesses (most of which are also small businesses), and is just really fun to browse!
On Goldune’s website, consumers can find products that have been carefully curated by Paknad and her team with sustainability on the brain. And get this: Goldune will tell you about the brand that manufactures each product they sell and how their items qualify as sustainable, but they won’t give you a label of “good” or “bad” — Goldune’s not about the binary approach. Instead, they use a “Sustainability Spectrum,” where Goldune honestly rates where each brand currently is on their sustainable journey, which makes researching your potential buys that much easier. On the spectrum it’s between “Super Sustainable” and “Getting Better” (though for reference, “Getting Better” is pretty good already). There’s also a section on each product page labeled “End of Life,” so you can be confident that your new purchase will find its way back into the ecosystem in an environmentally friendly way (and you’ll know about it, too!).
For those of you who want to take the plunge into sustainable shopping, Goldune is the place to start. And even if shopping sustainably has never crossed your mind, you’re probably going to want to start after scrolling through my curated list of Goldune’s most unique and affordable product offerings. The perfect Earth Month purchase awaits!
- Plastic-Free Pop-Up Sponge Pack
Goldune is making it pretty easy to switch out regular products with sustainable ones. Take this compostable plastic-free sponge made from plants and shipped in biodegradable packaging. It’s almost at the “Super Sustainable” mark and it is perfectly sized so as not to take up too much under-sink space. Oh, and you get nine sponges with each purchase.
Goldune, $18, shop now
- Plastic-Free Hair Bands
Say goodbye to the days of itchy hair ties with another easy switch to sustainable living — hair bands. These are just like the Scunci ones you know and love, except without all the plastic. They’re also made from natural rubber and organic cotton, making them fully compostable. Sign me up.
Goldune, $15, shop now
- Supershroom Immunity Powder
Meet your new best friend in fighting off the common cold.hough I am most certainly not a doctor, I can say that Goldmine, a women-owned brand, makes one hell of a mushroom supplement powder. This Supershroom immune-boosting powder mixes right into any drink of choice, or even oatmeal, to serve up some delicious, certified organic, supercharged immune support. It features a blend of four immune-boosting mushrooms such as reishi, turkey tail and maitake, and also has some ginger and lucuma for “easy drinking.” Try it in Azora Zoe’s favorite matcha lemonade recipe (I knew I wasn’t the only one who swore by those — true story, a matcha lemonade once revived me from a terrible case of the flu!).
Goldune, $28, shop now
- Nail Polish Bundle in Spicy
Okay, these have got to be the coolest thing I’ve seen in a minute. With bamboo caps (instead of plastic), these nail polishes from black woman-owned Habit Cosmetics are 10-free (created without 10 of the most common chemicals found in nail polishes), cruelty-free and vegan. And they come in some seriously cool colors. From Scorpio Rising to Tabou and Kitten, one of these berry shades will be the perfect accessory to your next WFH look.
Goldune, $45, shop now
- Surya Shampoo Bar
Think of how much plastic we would save if everyone swapped their shampoo and conditioner bottles for a shampoo bar like this one. When purchasing a bar like this, you’re not swapping quality for eco-friendliness. You can have the best of both worlds, as this bar is infused with soothing calendula and manufactured without surfactants or silicones. Plus, it’s said to replace two bottles of shampoo (and it’s zero-waste, too!).
Goldune, $24.50, shop now
- Seagull Cooler
Not only is this cooler pretty inexpensive as far as coolers go, but it’s also super aesthetic. From the beach to the mountains to the yoga mat, this cooler will travel in style, and keep things cold. As everything else on this list, it’s sustainable! Made from “supernatural paper” (an improvement on traditional paper, made with resources from responsibly managed rainforests) and water (of which 93 percent returns to the ecosystem), this cooler’s carbon footprint is as low as it gets. This design will be restocked in August, but in the meantime, check out the Dolphin Cooler Grocery Bag from the same manufacturer, Out of the Woods.
Goldune, $25, shop now
- Plastic-Neutral Iron Supplement
Iron-deficient? Same, dude. But that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is that Goldune carries supplements from the plastic-neutral company Natalist. What does it mean to be plastic-neutral? Well, there’s not really a good way to get around the plastic bottles that supplements come in, but there is a way to remove as much plastic from the ecosystem as Natalist generates. So if you’re going to have plastics in your life, they might as well be plastic-*neutral*. Always consult your doctor before trying a new supplement, but if Natalists’ offerings look right for you, you can feel confident in adding another sustainable switch into your daily routine!
Goldune, $18, shop now
- Pitted Deodorant
100 percent compostable deodorant without the fuss, but with a coconut oil and shea butter formula and the clean scent of fir — this deodorant proves you can have it all. Say less.
Goldune, $22, shop now
- Reusable Cotton Facial Rounds
As a habitual toner-user, I realized long ago that I could not keep using disposable cotton rounds after every time I wash my face. Even I (a sustainable amateur at the time) could tell that those were no good, so I bought a pack of reusable, washable cotton rounds on Amazon (I know, I know) and I have never looked back. I will personally vouch for this product, and you all need it. Plus, you can get them with or without an aesthetic-y jar, so your skincare collection need not lose its carefully curated vibe.
Goldune, $30, shop now
- Reusable and Compostable Round Sponge Cloths
As Goldune put it, this product lies “somewhere between a reusable paper towel and a sponge,” which makes it practical and versatile. It’s also biodegradable and reusable, so you can throw them in the wash and reuse them for about six months before putting them in the compost bin. Talk about zero-waste. Plus, they’re adorable and perfect for summer!
Goldune, $24, shop now
- Bamboo Bento Box in Coral
Just ‘cause WFH is the new normal does *not* mean you can’t still have a vibey lunch set-up. Make the most of your lunch break with this adorable Bento box made of bamboo (set to biodegrade in two to three years) and made by a manufacturer whose production methods use low amounts of water and energy. So, if you’re tired of eating in your workspace, April is the perfect time to catch some rays while eating al fresco out of your new favorite container.
Goldune, $24, shop now
- Charcoal-Infused Bamboo Toothbrush
Not only are these toothbrushes biodegradable, but they are also adorable. Here’s yet another example of not sacrificing vibe for sustainability, and I’m not mad about it. Plus, these toothbrushes’ fibers are infused with Binchotan charcoal, a kind of Japanese charcoal made from Oak that is praised for its purifying, odor-absorbing and natural antibacterial qualities.
Goldune, $14, shop now
- Regeneratively Grown Fresh Mint Looseleaf Tea
One of Goldune’s newest additions is the women and BIPOC-owned brand Alaya Tea, which makes regenerative, zero-waste loose leaf teas. What does that mean? Thankfully, Goldune outlines it all. Regenerative agriculture is a practice that returns nutrients and nourishment to the soil as it’s harvested, and zero-waste means that the packaging is completely biodegradable, which is impressive for a resealable pouch containing perishable tea leaves. But with a bio-based zipper, compostable Indigo ink and water-based adhesives, the impossible is no longer. Also, mint tea has great benefits for digestion and is the perfect soothing nighttime ritual to freshen breath and help you find your ~chill~.
Goldune, $18, shop now
I hope you enjoyed perusing thirteen of my most unique and affordable picks from Goldune’s website. Be sure to check out all their offerings, including a new “pop-in” called The Shelf, which features sustainable bulk snacks and baking mixes, and the other key part of Goldune, Planet G. Planet G is a new Facebook group meant for connecting consumers so they can talk openly about sustainability and the environment. In creating Planet G, the question on Paknad’s mind was how to make consumers “feel seen and heard, so that engaging with climate is as pleasant and immersive as possible.” It’s important to note that the team at Goldune can’t take credit for the idea, though, because it was “[Goldune’s] community [who] requested a closed group to be able to talk and connect with each other freely, and they followed up about it over and over again!” Paknad explained. As I see it, you know something’s gotta be good when consumers engage with it in such a personal, proactive way. With an approach that leads with “warmth and positivity, rather than shame-based marketing tactics or deprivation or scarcity mindsets,” and features a simple, streamlined shopping process, it’s no wonder the members of Goldune’s ever-growing community are so excited to meet each other and share in the experience.
Although I certainly wish Goldune was around when I made my vow to shop sustainably a little over a year ago, I’m sure glad it’s here now. So let’s make 2021 the year where we start buying responsibly — and what better time to begin than during Earth Month?