Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards 2021: Homes Winners

sustainability awards 2021

From single-use plastic to exorbitant water usage, often it's the small, everyday choices made by individual households that can lead to big changes in the way we impact upon the planet.

Recognising that sustainability starts at home, the trailblazing winners in the Homes category of the Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards are helping to make those crucial decisions infinitely easier – from delivering clever eco-friendly clothes washing options, to the next generation of sustainable cleaning products.

Here are the Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards Homes winners...

Marie Claire UK Sustainability Awards Homes winners

Best for Carbon Footprint

Winner: Oxwash

Best Carbon Footprint Initiative Winner: Oxwash

Oxwash is building the world's first, truly net-zero commercial laundry solution. How? By re-engineering the laundry process from the ground up. Pioneering ambient temperature washing to dramatically reduce the energy required to heat vast amounts of water to the standard 60-degrees celsius, the company champions Ozone technology to enable it to achieve NHS-grade disinfection at low temperatures.

By lowering the temperature of the laundry process, Oxwash is able to use renewable energy sources to power both the thermal and mechanical requirements of its washing machines. Sustainability is a consideration at all levels of Oxwash's business: from actively working to tackle the challenge of quick clothes-drying without resorting to natural gas, to using electric cargo bikes for all of its logistics. Determined to reach its net zero aim by 2023, Oxwash's radical outlook and actionable goals impressed the Sustainability Awards judges.

Kristen Kammerer, founder and CEO of Gen E, says: "An all-round environmentally-friendly business model, addressing multiple environmental issues with laundry (logistics, energy, water-use, microfibres, and clothing wear and tear). That they are relying on renewable energy across their various Scope emissions, and not 'settling' for offsets makes them eco-leaders."

Highly commended: smol laundry capsules

Best Eco-friendly Cleaning Brand – Home

Winner: Spruce

Best Eco-Friendly Cleaning Brand – Home Winner: Spruce

Dubbed the Jo Malone of cleaning products by customers (they really do smell that good), Spruce was developed with the knowledge that we're exposed to more than 300 toxic chemicals every day, ranging from cleaning formulas to plastics in our food. While traditional cleaning products aren’t exactly renowned for their eco-credentials (harsh chemicals and single-use plastics being the main offenders) Spruce’s products are free from harmful chemicals, artificial dyes and fragrances, palm oil and petroleum.

What's more, its packaging is made from recyclable aluminium that can be refilled time and time again. (Spruce will even deliver refills straight through your letterbox.) Praising the brand's work towards a B Corp certification, Sustainability Awards judge Jessie Macneil-Brown says: “What a great story behind the products, and I love the careful consideration of using aluminium packaging. Great to see the team aiming for B Corp certification which is a great sign of sustainability credentials – this certification is not easy to achieve.”

Best Eco-friendly Cleaning Brand – Motors

Winner: Wekleen

Best Eco-Friendly Cleaning Brand – Motors Winner: Wekleen®

Wekleen® is a waterless and non-toxic scooter, bike and car multi-purpose cleaner that's cruelty-free, and made entirely from sustainable materials. Boycotting the typical motors cleaning fare of unnecessary amounts of water, toxins, and single-use plastic, this clever cleaner is out to change the way you prepare for a safer post-pandemic commute.

Launched first in the capital, Wekleen® is the first consumer product launched by Bleu Bond, the B Corp selected by Mayor of London's Better Futures program as a circular, low-carbon start-up last Earth Day. Recognising that the need to self-clean is now an integral part of people's commute, the brand hopes to encourage people and businesses to lower their water consumption, and subsequently protect aquatic life.

Alice Moore, Global Purpose-led Brand Building Director and Sustainability Awards judge says: "The majority of environmental impact often sits in the consumer usage phase, and as this targets removal of a large source of household water consumption, I believe this will have a huge impact."

Best Eco-friendly Decorating Brand

Winner: Graphenstone

Best Eco-Friendly Decorating Brand Winner: Graphenstone

A trailblazer in the paint industry, Norfolk-based Graphenstone offers the world's most certified eco paint. In fact, three full 15-litre pots of Graphenstone paint on your wall will absorb as much CO2 as a tree. The only paint in the UK to contain Graphene – a non-toxic pure carbon and the strongest material known to science – the brand's Ecosphere range meets the Cradle to Cradle Gold Standard in sustainability.

Where many of the paints dominating the UK decorating market are made with polluting acrylics, plastics and oils, Graphenstone's products are made from natural elements – and that goes for its packaging too, which is made from 100% recycled materials.

The collection already offers more than 1,000 colours and there's exciting collaborations with some of the industry's brightest creatives hinted to be in the pipeline. Need we say more?

Best Progress Towards Circularity

Winner: Circular&Co. Circular Cup

Best Progress Towards Circularity Winner: Circular&Co. Circular Cup

Labelled "a brilliant idea to tackle the increasingly pressing issue of coffee cup waste" by Sustainability Awards judge Busola Evans, Circular&Co. is on a mission to educate and inspire people about welcoming circularity into our everyday lives.

Launched in 2018, its Circular Cup is the world's first reusable cup made from single-use paper cups. Designed with both practicality and circularity in mind, this sleek, sustainable travel mug is 100% leakproof, designed for ten years' use and is 100% recyclable.

It also boasts a unique push-lid mechanism to minimise spills (white clothes, rejoice), offers one-hand opening, and 360-degree drinking. Though production initially began in China, the brand has since moved its operations to Cornwall. Now made within 30 miles of the brand's head office (having created 15 new jobs in the past 12 months as a result), Circular Cup uses local waste from single-use paper cups and recycled ice-cream tubs.

Best Re-commerce

Best Re-Commerce Winner: The Vintage Art Gallery

The Vintage Art Gallery is a re-commerce business selling unique vintage paintings. Just eight months old, the gallery is a self-described "rescue home for art", sourcing charming vintage paintings from auction houses, flea markets and antiques fairs, and finding them a deserving home – using recycled packaging, of course.

While there are countless vintage traders on social media – and even quite a few mass market 'vintage style' platforms, too – what's unique about The Vintage Art Gallery is that it's the only online gallery space dedicated solely to genuinely vintage, pre-loved paintings that don't necessarily have a known history or an artist's signature.

While the paintings sold aren't quite Old Masters, they are eclectic, utterly unique and just what we could all use after a year of staring at the same four walls.

Best Sustainable Design and Use of Materials

Winner: Bower Collective

Best Sustainable Design And Use Of Materials Winner: Bower Collective

Bower Collective is on a mission to eliminate plastic waste and create a more sustainable world. A treasure trove of minimum-waste home and personal-care products – from fabric conditioner to toothpaste – the company boasts a unique closed-loop packaging system that allows customers to decant their products, then send the packaging back in a pre-paid envelope.

Now with a community of more than 80,000 customers, Bower Collective is truly shaking up how we shop for our homes and ourselves. With a recent Life Cycle Analysis showing that its system is 90% more carbon efficient than single-use packaging, creating a sustainable (and chic) home has never been easier thanks to its fuss-free, simple products that are as good for people as they are the planet.

Marie Claire UK have determined the award winners in accordance with the judging criteria and with the information provided by the entrants. All information provided by the winning brands are published in good faith.

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.