Walking into the locally owned Carbon Environmental Boutique is a breath of fresh air — literally. Located on High Street (one of Edmonton’s shopping gems), Carbon’s 100 per cent wind-powered store is filled with thousands of sustainable, ethical and non-toxic products. For seven years, Allison MacLean, Carbon’s owner and operator, has been hunting down unique, environmentally friendly items for your body and your home, creating a department store-like spread of options.
Upon entering the store for the first time, you’ll immediately recognize that Carbon is not your average earth-friendly shop. The boutique-style space and caring, attentive staff gives Carbon a high-class feel, without the hit to your wallet. Plus, the selection of items goes far beyond the average consumer’s expectations.
To explain the extent of Carbon’s selection, I’m going to exercise your imagination. Picture this: Every morning, you wake up with a purified air-filled yawn on a Canadian-made, organic wool and cotton mattress. You hit the alarm on your water-powered clock, before peeling yourself out of your silky organic cotton sheets (freshly washed in lavender-scented, non-toxic laundry detergent, of course). You jump into a hot shower infused with the aromas of locally crafted wild rose soap, then slip into your eco-friendly spa slippers and robe. Your feet slide over your bamboo floors as you head to the kitchen, stopping to pause and admire your new Mexican clay accent wall. You brew a pot of locally roasted Catfish Coffee using water from your countertop water filter, then get to frying eggs in your favourite cast iron pan. On your way out the door, you remember to grab the locally printed birthday card and bottle of Evoolution mushroom and sage olive oil you picked up for your friend.
Sound like a dream? It doesn’t have to be! Carbon carries every item mentioned above, letting you make that morning routine a reality in your home (minus the eggs, sorry). When you visit the store, you’ll realize the options even extend beyond the aforementioned scenario.
Some of the more unexpected items include PaperStone LEED-compliant recycled paper countertops, non-toxic paints and wood stains, natural marmoleum flooring (made from raw materials), worm-free composters, and even sustainably harvested balsa wood silkscreen art. The number of available textures and colours of wall and floor coverings is surprising, and will make any home renovator’s imagination start spinning.
While Carbon does carry the more conventional “green” products like shampoos, soaps and household cleaners, their selection really sets them apart. Local brands, such as Ada’s Soap Shop, Bro Brick and Mother Earth Essentials, cover the shelves with their full and diverse lines. You can choose between several brands of bottled cleaning products, such as rosemary-peppermint all-purpose cleaner and grapefruit-bergamot dish soap, or bring in your own bottle and take advantage of their cleaning supplies offered in bulk.
In addition to treating yourself, Carbon’s carefully selected inventory makes gift purchases a breeze. The staff know the story to every product, and help you narrow down decisions by labeling their favourite items around the store, just like your favourite old movie rental shop did. Most importantly, you know you can trust you’re making conscientious purchases at Carbon because of the extensive research completed before any item reaches the shelf.