Just in time for entertaining season, here's our biggest source list yet for eco-tabletop — whether you're shopping for gifts or for yourself. This long list is divided into three parts: 1) dishes made from mindful materials, 2) servingware that's fair trade, and 3) vintage tabletop ripe for re-use.
All of the products in this online shop are made from naturally biodegradable materials like wood, wool, hemp, and cotton. For instance, these Grenware Bowls ($8) are made from grain husks, and they're designed to be used for about 5 years before being composted.
Pigeon Toe Ceramics
Based in Portland, Oregon, this studio creates everything by hand. Dishes are "thrown on the wheel and carefully nursed to their finished state," and they work exclusively with durable, long-wearing porcelain.
Their Sausalito, California factory is one of very few mid-century American potteries still in existence. Their clay is fired once (rather than twice) longer at lower temperatures, a process that uses less energy than standard ceramic firing.
Their inventory consists of products that are "biodegradable, nontoxic, organic, recycled, recyclable, repurposed or renewable." They have a huge selection of tabletop, including recycled glasses, bamboo bowls, and cutting boards made from fast-growing, renewable woods.
Their products are BPA-free #5 polypropylene and they have a number of porcelain pieces as well. The selection includes plates, bowls, placemats — much of it designed for children, but with several "crossover" pieces that can work for adults, too.
All Green Things
Owner Tanya Peel owns and operates this shop and e-commerce site in Woodland Hills, California. The web selection includes recycled glass tabletop, French market bags, vintage lighting, and lots of green housekeeping supplies.
This shop sells dinnerware and serving pieces made from organically grown bamboo, food safe water-based adhesives, natural oils, and lacquers derived from cashew trees. Shop here for bamboo bowls, trays, picnicware, and cutting boards.
Life Without Plastic
This online store provides alternatives to plastic, including housewares made from aluminum, wood, ceramic, and glass. Their tabletop selection consists mainly of dishes made from wood and stainless steel.
Brook Farm General Store
Based out of Brooklyn, this online and brick-and-mortar store focuses on products that are utilitarian, durable, and timeless. Shop here for wooden bowls, recycled glassware, and ceramic pieces.
This Brooklyn store purchases its inventory "from companies that use sustainable, organic, renewable, recycled, locally manufactured, or non-toxic materials." Their tabletop collection includes handmade ceramics and hand-carved wooden bowls.
Fair Trade Products
Three Potato Four
Janet Morales & Stu Eli collect vintage pieces and sell them through this charming web shop. In addition to colorful vintage dining collections, they carry a number of upcycled items, like stylishly numbered glasses and jars.
High Street Market
Interior designer Kelly Galvin Robson has a good eye for classic vintage tabletop. Styles tend to be traditional, with a focus on durable materials like porcelain and glass. This is a great resource for flea market style online.
Based in Canada, this Etsy shop is run by Daniel and Valeria, who mix traditional and modern pieces in a catalog of beautifully styled and well edited objects. (The photos also offer some good ideas for repurposed objects and centerpieces.) Shop here for unique pitchers, platters, and bowls.
The Brown Elephant
The Howard Brown Health Center operates four resale shops throughout Chicago, and they're some of the best thrift shops around for tabletop. A couple of the shops also have great stylists who highlight the cream of the crop, making the budget shopping experience even better.
This Los Angeles store evolved from a Craigslist seller into a brick-and-mortar store and, now, a web shop with a great tabletop selection. Apartment Therapy blogger Abby writes, "It's like having your own personal stylist with an eye for the unique and the unexpected."
This Chicago store specializes in ultra-durable restaurant china and place settings made for diners, brasseries, and cafes. They have a great selection of vintage pieces and flea market finds, all available for purchase online.
Located in Atlanta, this shop has a very specific vintage French-country-style look, and they're a good resource for unique servingware and table linens. Shop here for cafe wine glasses, bistro dishes, and cool candelabras.
H is for Home
Based out of London, this web shop focuses on "one off, handmade, and vintage items for the home." The selection is colorful, fun, and oh so retro — great for browsing and inspiration if you love cheery seventies style.
Kabinett & Kammer
Sean Scherer owns and operates this Catskills shop, which is part natural history museum, part home decor store. In addition to vintage dishes, glasses, and serving pieces, you'll find shells and labware if you're looking for unique centerpiece ideas.
Photo: Tabletop Collection from Canvas