Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Guide to Sustainable Shopping in Reykjavik, Iceland

While on travels, we generally don't do much of shopping. It's sustainable not to increase the luggage and great way of avoiding clutter at home, less is more! We focus more on experiences than stuff. I keep shopping for souvenirs limited to few for home and few for family members.

But this time, as I was traveling solo, first time away from my son since his birth, I had to buy gifts for him! I had promised him that I'll bring him puffin toys, so it was on top of my list of things to buy.
I was very clear about how this puffin toy must be, made of sustainable material, preferably wood (no plastic toys for my son anymore). It has to be educational, creative, fun learning which he will play again and again and won't become a piece of clutter soon.
Puffin puzzle from Mal Og Menning
There are so many souvenir or gifts shops on Reykjavik's main shopping street, Laugavegur street; locals call them puffin shops. But quiet contrary you can find their only stuffed puffins and few puffin magnets and key-chain, nothing more than that. I must have walked up and down the street before Mal Og Menning caught my attention. It's great shop to buy English books and really nice souvenirs. Downstairs they have a complete section for toys and there I found this beautiful wooden puffin puzzle and a wooden activity toy! I couldn't resist buying this reusable stainless steel water bottle by Eco kids too. I was sure my car lover son will love it because of so many vehicles painted on it! He was so happy, his school teacher even told me later that he told her what I got for him and what I saw in Iceland! Mal Og Menning is a hidden gem and you shouldn't miss it if you want to buy useful, good quality souvenirs.

Handmade Woolen Bag from Red Cross Shop
Reykjavik is very pricey place, but if you want to save some Kronas and on the top of it want to raise funds for charity you have options. There are at least 3 Red Cross shops and few second hand cum vintage shops. I would give my thumbs up to these shops, as it's ultimate sustainable shopping option, someone's junk can become your treasure. So you won't be surprised to know that this time I even shopped for myself on this trip! I bought this pre-loved woolen handmade bag from one of the red cross shop along with this natural shell bowl. You can see the hem on inside of the bag so I was glad to acquire this not only my first recycled fashion piece but handmade by someone with love.

You can also shop in their famous flea market Kolaportid Flea Market for pre-used items. It is held only on weekends (Sunday and Saturday) and better you carry cash here.

Aftur, Fashion Brand in Iceland
I found some great sustainable products in Reykjavik, one of them would be Aftur, this brand creates beautiful fashion out of recycled clothing. I loved one of their range made out of used cashmere, but frankly found it way too pricey! May be Icelanders may not find it very pricey, but generally I have feeling that sustainable fashion should be affordable and then only this movement can pick up and progress to next level.

Sisters Redesign- Icelandic designs are one more upcoming sustainable fashion startup.
I would also like to give heads up for handmade vegan soaps like Islenska Luxussapan and Sapusmidjan soaps made from organic Icelandic herbs.

Another interesting business I found out was Mistur, their handmade notebooks and gifts made out of recycled pallets, papers and fish skin can be great gift to buy from Iceland!

Mistur, recycled stationary

Iceland's most popular gifts are woolen products made from Icelandic sheep-wool. But I didn't buy any of it, it will be ridiculous to wear them in Dubai and would just add to clutter at my home. Not very sustainable shopping option for me. But they are great if you live in cold places, but just a reminder they can be itchy.

Eco Products at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm
Not exactly in Iceland, but when you fly to Iceland from Dubai you always need to take stop over in airports like Stockholm or Copenhagen. These airports are great places to stock up some good Eco-friendly products. For example I found a shop in Stockholm's Arlanda airport, Designtorget. There were many useful Eco-products like snack bags, wooden handle and natural bristle brushes for cleaning etc.


Þórunn Pálma said...

Nice post. Wish I could have met you, but perhaps next time :) It is very interesting to read about your experience here in Reykjavík.
Best regards

Amruta Kshemkalyani- Tavkar said...

Thank you Porunn! Keep up your good work, will definitely meet you next time! Best wishes!