7 Eco Friendly Umbrellas To Stay Sustainable In Any Weather
If you’re shopping for an eco friendly umbrella, we’ve got you covered. Literally.
The Ancient Egyptians made history’s first umbrellas to shield against the sun with simple materials like paper or palm fronds. But today’s are a little more complicated.
Modern umbrellas often make use of nylon or polyester, synthetic fabrics which provide the perfect waterproofing.
The bad news? They’re derived from plastic.
And plastic, as you know, is incredibly durable. So durable in fact that the wind-swept brolly you threw in the trash last month will take over a century to break down.
The good news?
Sustainable umbrellas are a thing.
Take HaaschDesign, for example, creator of plastic free umbrellas in a range of bright, fun colors.
Or MiaSombrilla’s handmade and handpainted waterproof parasols you can sport at any occasion.
To read more about how we threw shade in an effort to uncover sustainable and ethical umbrellas, make like Mary Poppins and float to the end of the article.
*This post contains affiliate links
A MiaSombrilla umbrella is more than a simple accessory. It’s a handcrafted labor of love.
The timeless design will no doubt turn heads at any outdoor wedding party, festival, or vacation.
Founded to combat Arizona’s hot temperatures, MiaSombrilla’s parasols are lightweight, easy to carry, and provide a shaded escape from surprise showers and sunshine.
MiaSombrilla’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
Each MiaSombrilla parasol is made with biodegradable materials: cotton canvas, hemp, and bamboo.
After being crafted by artisans in Thailand, the parasols are hand-painted in Tucson, Arizona in an array of charming colors and patterns.
By shopping with MiaSombrilla via Etsy, customers support both Thai artisans and small business owners in the United States.
Based in Brisbane, Australia, HaaschDesign designs with the environment in mind, opting for sustainable materials and fair trade practices.
They describe their Supabrella as a meeting of form and function. Imagine a classic umbrella silhouette paired with practicality and natural materials.
Customization makes HaaschDesign unique.
You can choose one of three sizes—small, medium, or large—depending on your preference. Then select from a rainbow of colors, from classic black to sunny yellow.
HaaschDesign’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
Unlike nylon or polyester umbrellas, these plastic free umbrellas are crafted with biodegradable materials that won’t take a lifetime to break down.
HaaschDesign umbrellas feature cotton, hemp, bamboo, and wood.
We’re not sure how these materials are manufactured, but we’re reaching out to confirm.
If you’re tickled pick, HaaschDesign donates 10% of profits from pink Supabrellas to the National Breast Care Foundation to support breast cancer patients, survivors, and research.
3. YOK CORK
About Yok Cork
Yok Cork is home to a variety of cork accessories, from earrings to wallets to, of course, umbrellas.
Based in France, Yok Cork’s mission is to preserve French-Portuguese craftsmanship using ancestral and sustainable harvesting practices.
Available in four nature-inspired shades, the umbrellas feature a 100% cork exterior and a synthetic lining.
Yok Corks Ethical and Sustainability Practices
As far as principal material choice goes, Yok Cork is spot on. Cork is renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable.
It’s also naturally tough, lightweight, and water-resistan:.aA near-perfect material for umbrellas. When harvested responsibly, it also presents a renewable alternative to leather.
Yok Cork aims to bring awareness to the wildlife dependent on Portuguese cork forests and the thousands of people employed by the cork industry through their low waste umbrellas.
And when you order from this Etsy shop (as with all Etsy purchases), the shipping and packaging emissions will be completely offset.
Thought is an Australian clothing and lifestyle brand on a mission to “make small thoughtful changes to the every day.”
What does that mean for sustainable umbrellas, you ask?
It means using 100% recycled polyester, which requires up to 59% less energy and emits 32% less carbon dioxide than manufacturing virgin polyester.
It also means less $ out of your pocket being one of the most inexpensive eco friendly umbrellas on this list.
You can choose from two colorful prints: a dark, moody floral or bright, Pollock-esque paint splatter.
Thought’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
As a founding member of Common Objective, Thought has always been committed to fair working conditions, sustainable production, and animal welfare.
Thought partners exclusively with suppliers and factories that share their vision for sustainability and adhere to their strict code of conduct. As a result, their products are increasingly GOTS and Fair Trade certified.
Princezices is a purveyor of one-of-a-kind Portuguese gifts. Think handbags, scarves, small ceramics, and cork umbrellas.
Each product is carefully handmade by Taina, the shop’s owner.
And the materials for each uniquely crafted sustainable umbrella are locally sourced in Viana do Castelo, a historic city in northern Portugal.
The chic and timeless profile will keep you feeling cool and dry come rain or shine.
When you purchase an eco-friendly umbrellafromPrincezices, it not only provides a bit of environmental shade for our planet but also supports local artisans.
Princezices’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
Primarily made with cork, Princezices’s umbrellas also feature a wooden handle and metal frame.
In addition to being a natural, renewable, and biodegradable material, cork is water-resistant and eco-friendly. Its environmental impact is also comparatively low: Harvested cork trees consume three to five times more carbon dioxide than their unharvested counterparts.
Cork forests are also some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. They house hundreds of plant and animal species, including some endangered or critically endangered species. Maintaining cork forests means keeping these species safe for years to come.
Along with Etsy’s commitment to offset carbon emissions from shipping and packaging, Princezices offers free international shipping from Portugal.
UK-based Jollybrolly carries umbrellas tailored to every occasion.
Their signature style is sleek and minimal, omitting logos and loud patterns, so as not to steal attention from the main event—you.
The ECO umbrella is available in five classic colors: white, black, gray, red, and navy.
With a reputation for high-quality yet affordable eco friendly umbrellas, Jollybrolly is a one-stop shop for fashion, function, and fair prices.
Jollybrolly’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
Jollybrolly’s ECO line of sustainable umbrellas combines durable construction with environmentally friendly materials.
These “windproof” umbrellas are almost entirely recyclable.
The pole, handle, and tips are made from bamboo and the umbrella exterior from 100% recycled PET plastic.
Complete with a fiberglass frame, Jollybrolly’s low waste umbrellas are made to withstand all the elements that nature might throw your way.
IsCork is yet another sustainable cork umbrella specialist.
Like Princezices, IsCork is based in Portugal, the world’s largest supplier of cork. Portugal alone produces over half of the world’s cork and orchestrates 70% of global trade.
IsCork’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices
IsCork’s umbrellas have 100% cork exteriors and curved, wooden handles.
However, it’s unclear whether the frame is made from metal or another material, we’ll be reaching out to confirm.
Aside from umbrellas, IsCork supplies a wide variety of cork (and bamboo) accessories and household items.
They cater to all your low waste needs, from reusable tumblers for your morning coffee to bamboo lunchboxes for meals on the go.
8. BUY SECONDHAND
Besides fixing your current one, buying a secondhand umbrella when possible is always more sustainable than buying new.
If you’re in the market for an eco friendly beach umbrella or a sustainable umbrella for your patio, check your local thrift store or charity shop first.
Otherwise, there are a plethora of online thrift shops to peruse from like Poshmark, Mercari, or Depop for new-to-you clothes and accessories. These are right as rain for finding brand name or designer brollies at a steal.
Don’t underestimate eBay or Facebook Marketplace, either. At any time, these platforms provide access to rare umbrellas and vintage parasols that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Who else do you know that’s sporting an authentic Fendi umbrella circa 1970s? Or an original Victorian-era parasol still in excellent condition?
For one-of-a-kind finds, we recommend browsing eBbay’s listings for vintage umbrellas and parasols.
HOW WE FOUND THE MOST ECO FRIENDLY UMBRELLAS
How did we decide which eco-friendly parasols and umbrellas to cover in this artcile?
We applied our sustainable and ethical fashion to find the most environmentally friendly shade.
And those that have a minimal environmental impact, both during production and at the product’s end of life are prioritized. Here’s a summary of common materials that made this list.
- Bamboo: One of the fastest-growing and renewing plants on earth. It can be harvested without killing the core plant, grows using only natural rainfall, and consumes more carbon dioxide than hardwood trees.
- Organic Cotton: In short, cotton grown without added chemicals or pesticides. Organic cotton farming requires significantly less water and energy than traditional cotton.
- Cork fabric: An all-natural, renewable, and biodegradable wood-like material derived from the bark of cork trees. Cork is harvested from Quercus suber, a species of evergreen oak trees known colloquially as oak cork or simply cork trees. The cork tree’s bark is thick and spongy. Cork harvesters use knives and axes to strip the trees of bark once every nine years, which is the length of time the trees need to fully regenerate. This allows cork to be harvested indefinitely without permanent damage to the trees.
- Hemp fabric: An old and durable fiber from the cannabis plant. Production of hemp requires up to 50% less water than even organic cotton and no pesticides.
- Recycled Polyester: A petroleum plastic-based synthetic fiber. While we’d always recommend organic materials and fabrics over synthetics, this is an eco alternative requiring less energy and emitting less carbon dioxide in its production than its virgin polyester counterpart.
- Recycled PET Plastic: The most common type of plastic (including the recycled synthetic material of the same name) is PET. Plastic #1, like old single-use water bottles.
Supply chain & labor practices:
Companies should show consideration for human rights at all stages of production.
In particular, workers should be treated well and paid fair wages. C
Small business owners, like many on this list, are often unable to achieve third-party certification due to cost and administrative limitations. But this does not mean they’re not offering sustainable products.
Green business practices:
Oftentimes, local businesses are the most sustainable option available to consumers. Shopping small bolsters your local economy, and small businesses often have a substantially smaller carbon footprint than large manufacturers.
Brands and companies that are involved in a charitable endeavor or actively cultivating a thoughtful and eco-conscious community of consumers always provide the greatest shade.
Not many umbrella brands are striving for this just yet, but considering the majority are small business owners, we’re conscious that resourcing and finances can make this a challenge.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY UMBRELLAS
Let’s be honest, umbrellas are an afterthought. They only really shine when it rains. Even then, we tend to view them as lackluster necessities.
But if you think of your sustainable umbrella as a key accessory in your eco-conscious collection you can look good and feel good, stay cool or stay dry.
Just a reminder: using what you have, borrowing, thrifting, or buying secondhand is the most sustainable shade.
Have a friend who always forgets their umbrella?
Share this list with them so we can all weather the elements more responsibly.