Sustainable Living: Five Eco-Friendly Businesses in Philadelphia

When a business is sustainable, its practices demonstrate how to make a profit while also promoting, addressing and being conscious of environmental issues.

Here are a few businesses that focus their mission not only on making money but remaining environmentally sound.

Moon + Arrow

754 S. 4th St.

Originating as a handmade jewelry line five years ago, Moon + Arrow (pictured above) has grown into an eco-friendly boutique. The store, located on Philly’s Fabric Row in Queen Village, offers everything from accessories, fragrances, oils and home decor to jewelry and other vintage clothes and crafts curated by local artists.

Owner Chelsea Pearce began with a pop-up stand, selling jewelry and other items made by her, her friends and other makers. That grew into the huge, present-day store, which carries various sustainably-focused fashions and products.

Monique Peterson, a jeweler at Moon + Arrow, said Pearce strongly focuses on researching and ordering either all sustainable supplies from deadstock or finding recycled vintage items to make the store’s jewelry.

“We’re just always trying to make sure everything is coming from a sustainable, eco-friendly, ethical source,” Peterson said. “It takes a lot of researching.”


Philly AIDS Thrift

710 S. 5th St.

Numerous neighborhoods in Philly are known to have a wide variety of thrift shops where you can find a great deal of vintage clothes and preserved retro items. As one of the city’s largest thrift stores, Philly AIDS Thrift has a plethora of sustainable goods for sale.

Manager and co-founder Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou opened the store more than 10 years ago. It has since grown into a giant, two-story selection of all types of recycled products, especially clothes. The shop accepts all donations, ranging from clothes, accessories, jewelry, furniture, home appliances and décor to old magazines, books, artwork, toys and more.

Profits are then circulated into various fundraisers  for the LGBT community and other local organizations. The staff along with numerous volunteers (pictured above) assures all donated items are separated, organized, fairly priced and given a proper home in the store and eventually to customers. Philly AIDS Thrift’s upholds a motto that says as long as there are no damages or dangers, all items can be recycled and one man’s trash can always be another man’s treasure.


City Planter
814 N. 4th Street

Philly is notorious for replacing old industrial areas and open spaces into interesting stores and helpful resources. Located in Northern Liberties, City Planter (pictured above) was once an old warehouse that has been converted into a gardening sanctuary that advocates for greener city homes.

City Planter specializes in helping city residents liven up their homes with all forms of sustainable and environmental décor. This neighborhood garden nursery holds everything from premature seeds, soils and pottery to design your own home-made garden, to planted flowers, succulents, cacti, terrariums and flourishing plants of all shapes and sizes.

City Planter even provides customers with individual gardeners t o help craft their home into a custom eco-friendly, green and healthy environment.


Bario Neal Jewelry
700 S. 6th Street

Bario Neal, located in Bella Vista, is an environmentally friendly jewelry store that specializes in wedding bands and engagement rings. All of the metal used in its jewelry is recycled material.

The shop was established by Anna Bario and Page Neal in 2007. Bario Neal also uses fairmined gold, which is extracted by small-scale miners under strict environmental and labor guidelines.  All of its gems and diamonds are traced back to the mine they come from.

“We only buy our gems from four or five small companies,” employee Sara Reckahn (pictured above) said. “Some of them are actually individuals we work with who travel to mines all over the world and collect material.”


United by Blue
144 N. 2nd Street

United by Blue, located in Old City, is half cafe, half retail store, with a focus on outdoor lifestyle. United by Blue has two Philadelphia locations, with one opening in New York within the next month. For each product sold, the business removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways around the world.

“The whole retail and cafe end of things is run as sustainably as possible,” store manager Miles Butler said. “We use materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester, and our sales team does a good job of pushing our mission and making sure the people we’re trying to work with understand what our business motto is.”

-Text and images by Alexa Zizzi and Daniel Newhart. 

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