Design

10 Sustainable Filipino Brands for Men

Wooden razors and bamboo bikes are just some of the sustainable brands made for the eco-conscious man.
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/ @ cosimoleathersmiths @thebamboocompany
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Local sustainable brands have joined the green movement aiming to address the global plastic crisis, because, in case you haven’t heard, the planet is dying.

The Philippines, one of the biggest contributors to the plastic pollution of the ocean, produces up to 1.88 million metric tons of plastic waste per year. While some of the plastic you use is labeled as biodegradable, majority of plastic waste is non-biodegradable and can take centuries to degrade. Plastic bottles, for instance, can take 450 years to degrade.

There have been arguments saying buying metal straws or using eco-bags at the grocery store won’t do much to save the world, and they may have a point. The global plastic crisis has reached an extreme level due to the lack of foresight of both the government and private sector on the impact of unlimited plastic production. So what can one metal straw or one wooden tumbler do to stop global plastic pollution?

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The answer is a lot, but only if brands give the public an option aside from plastic. And by the looks of things, that seems to be where the market is going. More and more brands, ranging from huge corporations to small enterprises, are joining the sustainability movement because they know that sustainability is no longer just a trend anymore—it’s a lifestyle that can solve the global plastic problem by helping people opt out of plastic altogether.

Here, 10 local sustainable brands for the eco-conscious man.

1| The Bamboo Company

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With a mission to safeguard Philippine oceans by reducing plastic waste, The Bamboo Company (TBC) makes all of its products out of, you guessed it, bamboo. TBC offers everything from wooden phone cases to bamboo watches, but we’re putting the spotlight on its Lakbawayan Labahamboo razor. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an outrageous two billion plastic razors are thrown out every year. Unlike disposable plastic razors, this closed-comb razor has a head that can be unscrewed from the handle so you can replace the metal blade without throwing the razor out altogether.

2| Kawayan

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Kawayan has been gaining traction on social media for a while now, and it’s not surprising to see why. Its bamboo watches are elegantly designed. Consider the Kiona Kawayan Watch, which has adjustable steel-reinforced bamboo straps, 3 ATM splash water resistance, and a Japanese Miyota 2035 movement. The prices are affordable, too, especially since you get to contribute to the brand’s sustainability initiative with one purchase.

3| Cosimo

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Upcycling is the new recycling. Cosimo takes genuine leather jackets and transforms them into bespoke leather bags. It carefully chooses, inspects, and conditions the jacket it will use and then makes a bag according to the material. Says the company: “We take inspiration from the jacket for the design of the bag. We take the parts, the unique elements and work them into the design.”

4| Siklo Pilipinas

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Since 2012, this “eco-ethical lifestyle” brand has upcycled over 17 tons of inner tubes from discarded tires. From old tires, Siklo Pilipinas fashions durable work and travel bags that are all made by hand. As each bag is upcycled, no bag is identical, but they all share the same waterproof properties of the tires they were made from. Made with the adventurous backpacker in mind, Siklo products are perfect for hikers, bikers, surfers, and the like. However, the sustainable brand also offers backpacks, tote bags, and sling bags for everyday use.

5| Jacinto and Lirio

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Aside from repurposing recycled plants to craft plant leather journals, Jacinto and Lirio supports communities in Laguna and Rizal that are affected by water hyacinth infestations. To address this issue, Jacinto and Lirio has helped them earn livelihood from the very thing that was taking it away from them in the first place. The social enterprise has repurposed over 179,101 water hyacinth stalks since its start.

6| Alon

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These wooden bowties from Alon by Zack&Zurich carry a dapper charm you just can’t find in regular bowties. Perfect for wedding and special occasions, these bowties complete an outfit and help the environment all at once. The company also sells sunglasses and prescription glasses made from wood, helping you opt out of typical plastic frames.

7| Junk Not!

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Like its name suggests, Junk Not takes regular plastic waste and transforms it into furniture using the “principle of innovative repurpose, re-use, and upcycle of plastic waste.” The sustainable brand hopes to promote green living by showing the public the value that can be found in supposed junk. As a social enterprise, Junk Not also works closely with the women of Barangay Alas-as, San Nicolas, Batangas, all of whom have found steady work under Junk Not’s wing.

8| Ecohomeart

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Proving that there is art in sustainability, Ecohomeart’s interior designer Noel Tañada combines design and environmental responsibility to create functional pieces of handmade furniture. Each piece is made from recycled bamboo and water hyacinths, both of which offer a level of sturdiness ideal for furniture design. Tañada has also dabbled in creating solar-powered lamps made from upcycled hyacinth and abaca.

9| The Old Wood PH

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Instead of letting unwanted and unused wood decompose, The Old Wood PH turns takes the scrap materials and transforms them into sleek pieces of furniture. The long-lasting, custom-made pieces, which range from console tables to 12-seater dining tables, are sure to elicit compliments from guests; the eco-friendly backstory is a good conversation starter.

10| Bambike Revolution Cycles

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If you’ve been to Intramuros lately, then you’ve probably seen tourists cruising around the old city on wooden bikes. Bambike Revolution Cycles started out with the goal of supporting the local farming communities of Tarlac that harvest the bamboo used for its bikes. Aside from the tourists of Intramuros, you could join the likes of U.S. President Barack Obama as one of the owners of these sustainable bikes.

How can consumers be sustainable?

Search for sustainable brands that offer alternatives to the things you want. Every purchase is an investment, so consider if the item you want is long-lasting and the “greenest” option out there.

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About The Author
Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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