5 Earth-friendly Moroccan Swaps
I am a big proponent of the mantra that "every day is Earth day."
While the vast majority of environmental damage is done by corporations rather than individuals, I still believe that choices on an individual scale have an impact-- especially on our immediate surroundings. We are all responsible for our little corners of the world. In the words of journalist Jason Mark: "To take a measure of personal responsibility for climate change doesn’t have to distract from your political activism—if anything, it amplifies it."
So, how does environmentalism intersect with Moroccan home decor? We've identified five earth-friendly Moroccan styles that can quench your thirst for great, ethically-produced designs while also minimizing your personal environmental footprint.
1. Market baskets
It's common knowledge at this point that single-use plastics are best avoided whenever possible. According to Nature's Path, "The U.N. Environment reports just nine per cent of the world’s nine billion tonnes of plastic has been recycled. Most of our plastic ends up in landfills, our oceans and waterways, and the environment. Plastics do not biodegrade. Instead they slowly break down into smaller pieces of plastic called microplastics."
One single-use plastic that many struggle to completely eliminate is the plastic grocery bag. Although some cities and countries have moved to ban them (including Morocco), they are still ubiquitous in many areas-- and oh my goodness is it convenient to grab when you've left your reusable bags at home or in the car.
One Moroccan swap for single-use plastic grocery bags is the market basket. These baskets are made from tightly-woven palms and are durable enough to carry heavier groceries (I have personally tested this theory numerous times!). Additionally, they're easy to clean if life happens and you spill something on them-- just use soapy water, a scrub brush, and then leave them out to dry.
Market baskets last for a long time. Once they've reached the end of their lifespan, you can detach the leather handles, cut up the body of the basket, and add it to your compost bin.
2. Vintage rugs
An ethically-sourced vintage rug may be hard to find, but, if possible, these are easier on the environment!
According to the New York Times, "Landfilling of carpets is still our biggest challenge. The E.P.A. estimates that every year, about 5 billion pounds of carpeting go into landfills. That’s 1 to 2 percent of the total U.S. landfill contribution, or 17 pounds of carpeting per person."
With constantly changing styles and inexpensive, mass-produced rugs readily available for each season, it's easy to feel like it's "normal" to switch up your rugs every few years. Investing in a high-quality, ethically-sourced vintage rug might make you feel like you don't need to! These family heirlooms are made to last. When taken care of, their vibrant colors and intricate designs continue to shine for decades. When buying a vintage rug, you're giving new life to an existing rug rather than using new materials to create a rug. Additionally, their styles seem to withstand the test of time-- from classic neutrals to colorful statements, any room will shine with a vintage Moroccan rug front-and-center.
3. Upcycled Poufs & Pillows
Similarly to vintage rugs, up-cycled poufs and pillows give a second (or third, or fourth) life to existing rugs. Older rugs that have worn spots or holes and are no longer being used as rugs are cut up, sewn back together, and create truly unique accents for your home. I personally love that no two up-cycled poufs and pillows are exactly the same-- there is a stylistic continuity when they're made from the same rug that connects each individual piece while highlighting their uniqueness.
Maslouhi doesn't currently have any upcycled poufs in stock, but our friend Andi at Shop Lucky Collective sure does!
4. Boucherouite-style anything
What happens to all of the scraps of fabric that are accumulated from old clothes, blankets, and even old rugs? They're woven into fabric that is known as "boucherouite." This fabric can be used as rugs, pillows, and poufs. This style stands out with its funky, colorful aesthetic; the rugs brighten up spaces and are perfect for high-traffic areas, kid and pet-friendly homes, and for people who tend to spill their coffee (I'm looking at myself here).
We recommend buying boucherouite rugs from our friends at Saida Berber House.
5. Re-using items to stuff poufs
One of our favorite things about Moroccan poufs is how they can act as a mini-storage unit. In small living spaces in particular-- or old homes without ample closet space-- poufs both add seating while being able to contain old clothes, towels, blankets, or basically any other malleable item that you don't want out in the open. If you'd rather just keep your pouf stuffed rather than re-opening it to get clothes out, consider it an ideal receptacle for cloth items that are no longer useable in your home. Some ideas are:
- Old clothes
- Old towels
- Washcloths and other linens that have holes or stains
- Yellowing/ moldy pillowcases (wash before putting them in the pouf!)
- Throw pillows that you no longer use
- Old blankets