Home  >  Magazine  >  Issue 27 : Mar/Apr 2009  > Columns  >  Eco Corner  >  Choices for Sustainable Lifestyles


Eco Corner

By Jacob Reiner

Choices for Sustainable Lifestyles


Scarpa Hurricane Boot
Still debating about the impact skiing has on the environment? Scarpa has made it a bit easier to hit the slopes for some spring skiing with a clear conscience. Working with materials engineers at Arkema, they have designed a more ecologically friendly boot, the Scarpa Hurricane. The shell, strap band and tongue of the boot use Pebax Rnew, a high-tech thermoplastic elastomer derived from more than 80% renewable raw
materials, mostly a type of vegetable oil. Greenwash? Maybe. But at least they are trying.


Eat Organic Panties

Having trouble convincing a loved one to spend that extra 10% on organic food? These sexy panties may help change his or her mind.

Emblazoned with “Eat Organic” in a very strategic location and made with 96% organic cotton. Designer Christi York of Bueno Design has created a line of funky “boy-cut” women’s underwear using low-impact dyes which are safer for the skin and eco-friendly.  Non-organic cotton uses nearly one-third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for every one pound of cotton harvested. Fight back and feel good about yourself. And look good doing it. Available online.


JAL Biofuel

Japan Airlines (JAL) will conduct a demonstration flight using sustainable bio-fuels in its jet engines. The JAL Boeing 747-300 aircraft will be powered by a mix of traditional jet fuel (kerosene) and a combination of biofuels derived from Camelina (similar to flax oil), Jatropha (cited by Goldman Sachs as a leading candidate for future bio-diesel production) and Algae.

The alternative fuels are being provided by Sustainable Oils,Inc., Terasol Energy and Sapphire Energy. JAL’s goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 2010 to 20% of 1990 levels, and claims to have already reached 16% of that goal. JAL CEO Haruka Nishimatsu adds, “Our participation in the search for a viable second generation biofuel is a clear signal to everyone of our strong commitment to increasing the environmental sustainability of the JAL Group and the airline industry.”


Recycled Fair Trade Bags

Recycled is the new chic. These colorful and stylish bags by Trashebolsas will fit right in on a corner in Ginza or a café in Harajuku.

Former Tokyo resident Jan Harris and partner Kay Miranda have created a program in the Philippines training local women to sew a variety of bags using huge, discarded, multi-colored, billboard tarpaulins. Her team provides training, waste management education, fair-trade wages and micro loans to assist unskilled people in setting up their own workshops. Profits from sale of the bags are reinvested into local conservation projects such as one to clean up Nagpuso Waterfall. The beautiful bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from shopping totes to messenger bags. Jan and her team are looking for shops in Japan to help retail the bags and support the project. Please take a look at the catalog online and contact them for more info.

WEBLINK: www.trashebolsas.com

The K2 Zero

So you think i t i s hard being an eco consumer ? Tr y being an eco manufacturer. The guys at K2 are doing their best to reduce waste and materials used in constructing their snowboards. The newly developed Hybrilight Construction eliminates 100% of ABS plastics.

Improved fiberglass technology is 35% stronger, allowing less use of material and reducing CO2, Ox and NOx emissions by up to 90%. Wood cores are made from sustainably harvested Aspen and Bamboo which regrow from the undisturbed root systems, reducing erosion. They have also reduced plastic packaging use by 85%, and inks and solvent use is down by 94%. The steel edge has been reduced by 25%. Basically, they put their heads together and built a better board, with the lightest and most advanced construction techniques to date. Kudos, guys.