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16 beautiful home products for eco-friendly living

At the recent Green Living Show in Toronto, sustainably produced home furnishings filled acres of showroom space, while mass-market retailers and appliance makers are touting their eco-cred. Think of this turnaround as the dawning of a new domestic green zone

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Sure, many Canadian housewares are still manufactured in developing economies with laxer environmental standards than ours, but the tide appears to be turning when it comes to the wider availability of eco-friendly goods. At the recent Green Living Show in Toronto, sustainably produced home furnishings filled acres of showroom space, while mass-market retailers and appliance makers are touting their eco-cred. Here, a selection of highlights NICE THREADS The fact that Threadcount Inc.'s - 100-per-cent eco-laundered - linen comes from faraway Belgium is offset by the fact that it's biodegradable, has rapidly renewing cotton crops as its source and doesn't contain nasty stuff like formaldehyde. Feel better? 100% Eco Laundered Linen, $248 a yard through www.threadcountinc.com.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT In the innovative, low-carbon-footprint packaging department, the repurposed (unused) food carton that serves as a whimsical shade for the aptly named Take Away Light is also the container its components (including a bulb and power cord) come in. Now would this be an example of thinking inside or outside the box? Take Away Light, $53 through www.uptoyoutoronto.ca.

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SITTING PRETTY Who knew recycled cardboard fibre could look so good? Apparently, YUP co-founders Ian Jackson and VJ Bala, whose pleather- and microsuede-covered furniture made here in Canada of new and recycled corrugated board could launch a whole new upmarket decor category: high fibre. Chocolate pleather armchair, $379, orange microsuede cube, $49.99 through www.yupinc.ca.

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FLOOR SHOW Some companies can't see the forest for the trees, but Ontario-based Moncer Specialty Flooring isn't one of them. Manufactured in environmentally conscious plants, its handsome hardwood floorboards are made with wood from sustainable forests and featured softwood cores so less hardwood is used. They are also put together with formaldehyde-free adhesive. $10 to $40 per square foot through www.moncer.com.

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STEAM PLAYER In addition to being ultrasleek, LG's super-thorough steam dishwashers have Energy Star status, meaning that they exceed the U.S. Department of Energy's standards for energy consumption by at least 25 per cent. And that's not all: Besides conserving power, they also cut down on domestic noise pollution: This model, LDF7932, is among the quietest in its class, having a built-in food disposer of 50 decibels. $1,500 at Future Shop (www.futureshop.ca).

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TODAY'S PAPER Made of layered recycled paper that has been saturated with proprietary resins and selected natural pigments, heat-resistant, FSC-certified PaperStone is as dense as wood and as hard as marble, making it an ideal material for kitchen countertops. Any surface cuts or marring of the non-porous surface can be sanded or rubbed out with an abrasive pad and then retreated. Its strength also enables innovative cantilevered designs. $12 to $60 per squre foot through www.paperstoneproducts.com.

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WATER-WISE Like a beautiful man or woman who gardens or sews, Kohler's Cruette pull-down faucet, new to Canada, combines good looks with eco-practicality, blending sculptural form with a standard-exceeding aerator that saves water without sacrificing performance. And it's ergonomic to boot. Cruette pull-down faucet, $293 at retailers nationwide (visit www.kohler.ca for locations).

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GRILL SEEKING Created for healthy, eco-friendly cooking, this innovative GreenPan cast-iron grill pan showcases patented non-stick technology centred on a natural, mineral-based coating. Made with upcycled materials, it's also manufactured using environmentally responsible techniques, resulting in 60 per cent less CO2 emissions. A stainless-steel rack and lid are included. $130 at Williams-Sonoma (www.williams-sonoma.ca).

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FAUX BOIRE Moulded to fool the eye but not the hand, this funky replica of those plastic fast-food vendor cups may look disposable but is in fact longer-lasting: It's made of glass instead of landfill fodder. Kinda want to crush it in your hand, don't you? Replica Disposable Cup, $30 each through www.uptoyoutoronto.com.

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PASSING THE BOTTLE Already included in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art, Tord Boontje and Emma Woffenden's elegant tranSglass collection of vases, carafes and tumblers for L.A.-based Artecnica may start out as wine bottles, but they emerge from the recycling process as one-of-a-kind objets. And over the past several years, they've been made in Guatemala, where young people are trained in the art of glassmaking. Visit www.artecnica.com for retailers across Canada.

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TRAY CHIC Bamboo serving trays are nice, but IKEA's bright-red Stacking tray made from recycled plastic offers considerably more pop. And it's as lightweight as it is good-looking - the largest of the two available sizes weighs in at less than a pound. $2.99 to 4.99 through www.ikea.ca.

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CARD SHARP Not only is Artistry Cards committed to producing its work on recycled paper and to using a printing process that cuts down on waste, but head designer Swati Bhagat is also keen on making its wares look good, too. Case in point: The pretty Honey Bee and Fern Frond designs shown here take their inspiration from the environment they are meant to help protect. $4.50 each through www.artistrycards.com.

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RAINBOW BRIGHT Made in Canada by Jonesy, this cheery notebook sporting a soy-ink rainbow cover design measures only five by seven inches, but holds 100 recycled-paper pages. A biodegradable sleeve keeps it stylishly contained. And there are no raffia ties in sight. $7 through www.jonesy.ca.

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