Functional Food and Sustainable Packages

cardboard people
This weekend was the annual gathering of ancient grains, coconut water, fair trade chocolates, protein bars, and organic pet food in Orange County, that is at least where where baobab and sea buckthorn joined acai, goji berry and chia seeds, the reigning antioxidant-rich superfoods. There was overwhelming sea of 3,000 exhibitors, displayed across the exhibit floor of enticing organic foods, healthy items and green goods at the annual Natural Products Expo West convention and conference, March 10-13, seemed like all the world eats well and lives sustainably. But then reality struck.

There are mMore than 56,000 gathered for this 31st fest, with an increased visibility on non-GMO foods and eco-packaging. With aisle after aisle of vendors from Nature’s Path to Earth Balance, from omega-rich supplements to “pure” and “smart” items, it’s clear the message was healthy and environmental. Compared to two years ago, it was hard to find a plastic bottled water booth, through other drinks overflowed from teas to brain tonics, digestive beverages to chillout elixirs.

Green Packageing container

To us, one of the big hits of this event was Seventh Generation’s new cardboard bottle for its Natural 4X Laundry Detergent. We love great designs, but green packaging is just one small part of a sustainable design and product. Designed with Ecologic Brands, it features a recyclable and compostable outer shell of recycled newspapers and cardboard and a recyclable monopolymer film pouch inside with no nylon or laminates. It reduces the plastic by 66 percent and when empty, it’s stackable. so nine times more efficient to ship.

Speedo Takes on Recycled Fashion With Student Designers

January 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Recycling, Resourcful, Sustainable Design

Speedo Recycled Fashion

After the last Olympics the governing body of the sport of swimming FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation) made a change in their rules regarding the use of body suits in their competitive swimming arena. This caused a set back for swimsuit companies, but not for Speedo, even though the Speedo LZR Racer suit worn by Olympic Gold Medalists Michael Phelps quickly became a surplus overnight. Fortunately for Speedo they collaborated with some student designers from the London College of Fashion, University College Falmouth and the University of Huddersfield have recreated spent time recreating the material into new innovative concepts in green fashion.

Speedo Recycled Fashion Project

Photo: Speedo

This wasn’t Speedo’s first time collaboration with student designers and recycling their old materials from past collections, earlier this year students at Chelsea College of Art & Design designed an amazing pavilion made with Speedo swimsuits and at London Fashion Week,  Speedo and From Somewhere premiered a spectacular ruffle dress. They have done such a great job before and we look forward to what they have planned in the near future.

Speedo Recycled Clothing

Photo: Speedo

images courtesy of Speedo source courtesy of Treehugger

L.A. Fashion Weekend: GYM Eco Fashion Show

eco fashion movement

The Green Youth Movement Presented :American Rocker Chic” Color, Patterns and the American flag. Last weekend as part of the Los Angeles Fashion Week.

The Green Initiative Humanitarian Fashion Show began with Balthaczar, which used lots of colors. This was nice to see since most of the the others shows attended this week featured mostly earth tones. One of the last designers was JoyRich. It was a very Rocker driven collection with great use of color and patterns mixed with the American Flag. They also used a lot of mismatching of vintage and recycled denim that every american rocker loves.

More information can be found at:

Volcom Jean Donation Program for the Homeless

August 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Activism, Featured, Recycling, Resourcful

Volcom Recycle Jean Program

Last year the action sports clothing label Volcom, in collaboration wiht the National Coalition for the Homeless donated over 5,000 pair of jeans to fifty different homeless shelters nation-wide in their Denim Recycle Program called, Give Jeans a Chance”. This year the brand is back with 200 more participating Volcom stores in North America and hopes of collecting 10,000+ pair of jeans. The campaign kicked off on August 1st and runs through the end of September.
We saw other Ecological brands like Factory Vintage and Cream Vintage start this type of donation drive, but it is great to see larger brands jump on the recycle band wagon as well. Volcom retailers will place the denim recycling bin in the store for clients to bring worn or used jeans in decent condtion. If you do, you will recieve a special hat, sticker or button compliments of the “Give a Jeans a Chance Campaign. You will aslo enter a contest to win a years supply of Volcom brand jeans.

Volcom Jean Recycle

image via Volcom

Volcom Jean Drive

image via Volcom

Visit a participating Give a Jeans a Chance store near you. Or better yet, if you have an extra pair of jeans and you pass a homeless person, go ahead and hand them over.

Recycled Clothing Art

July 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Recycled Clothing, Recycling, Sustainable Design

Vintage Clothing Art
We are big fans of re-purposing old clothing. Not only can you turn old clothing into new re-usable garments, but these guys show us that you can turn them into interesting pieces of art as well. The duo Guerra de la Paz , consisting of Alain Guerra and Neraldo La Paz , managed intelligently gamble on recycling old clothes to create works of art . A real freshness and undeniable talent emerging from these compositions . We found this information and photos over at and were very excited to see it.

Vintage Recycled Clothing Art

Recycling Vintage Clothing Art

Art From Recycled Clothing

Vintage and Recycled Clothing Art

These images are a few of our favorites, but head on over to to see the entire collection.

Images Courtesy of

Recycled Clothing Art

Vintage Clothing Art
We are big fans of re-purposing old clothing. Not only can you turn old clothing into new re-usable garments, but these guys show us that you can turn them into interesting pieces of art as well. The duo Guerra de la Paz , consisting of Alain Guerra and Neraldo La Paz , managed intelligently gamble on recycling old clothes to create works of art . A real freshness and undeniable talent emerging from these compositions . We found this information and photos over at and were very excited to see it.

Vintage Recycled Clothing Art

Recycling Vintage Clothing Art

Art From Recycled Clothing

Vintage and Recycled Clothing Art

These images are a few of our favorites, but head on over to to see the entire collection.

Images Courtesy of

Buying Vintage Can Change The World

August 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Activism, News & Information, This & That

This article was originally posted on our Born Activist blog back in April 2007. Since then it was posted on 10 other blogs and feature in 4 publications. All opening eyes to recycling not just aluminum cans and plastic products but textiles as well.We thought that it was worth posting again for some of our new viewers that may have missed it the first time around.

Sweatshops and child labor are a growing problem, particularly in clothing and textiles. No one wants to buy products made with sweatshop labor, but it is hard to know what to avoid, and where to find green and Fair Trade products.

Corporate greed and global competition to produce goods at the lowest possible price are the main reasons for the existence of sweatshops. It’s much more cost-effective for corporations to subcontract their manufacturing to suppliers who produce goods cheaply by minimizing worker salaries and benefits, skimping on factory and dormitory upkeep and standards, and demanding high levels of productivity (long hours and big quotas) from their workers. Developing countries desperately need foreign investment, and therefore compete with one another to produce goods more and more cheaply, allowing US corporations to dictate their purchase prices. As reported by the business journal Fast Company in December 2003, Wal-Mart (the country’s largest retailer) actually implements a corporate policy of requiring its vendors to continually seek ever-lower prices for its products. “[Wal-Mart] has a clear policy for suppliers,” writes Fast Company’s Charles Fishman. “On basic products that don’t change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year.” As retailers compete with one another by seeking lowest-cost workers, they put pressure on suppliers to keep their costs down, and they encourage consumers to buy more at “discount” prices. This market for cheap goods then squeezes factory owners to pinch even more. The result is forced overtime, low wages, punishments and fines for slow work and mistakes, worker intimidation, child labor, and other abuses.

What you can do to make a difference.

Unfortunately, no overarching “sweatshop-free” label exists. Some independent monitors follow the supply chains of companies that pay a fee for that service and help facilitate follow-up correction programs for factories found to be in violation of labor standards. Because conditions can change rapidly at factories, often these companies do not go on record endorsing particular companies or factories. For some select industries, however, dedication to recycling efforts has resulted in useful Vintage labeling for a handful of products. For example, Dust Factory combats the existence of child labor in the apparel industry by recycling vintage products to re-issue back into the fashion industry. Labeling specific items with a Vintage Tag, letting consumers know that the item is eco-friendly and child-labor-free.

By purchasing products that are recycled, fairly traded, cooperatively produced, or produced in a unionized factory, you can help end sweatshop and forced child labor. Many other well-respected organizations have called boycotts to put an end to unfair labor practices, animal testing, dangerous pesticide use, and other abuses of people and resources.Whether you’re protesting treatment of workers at a national retail chain or mobilizing against the construction of a waste dump in your community, a boycott can help you get the attention of your community and the company you are targeting.

Rag & Bone “Textile 101”

The folks over at Waist Online have a detailed page with allot of useful information about Textile Recycling. They note that textile recycling originated in the Yorkshire Dales about 200 years ago. These days the ‘rag and bone’ men are textile reclamation businesses, which collect textiles for reuse (often abroad), and send material to the ‘wiping’ and ‘flocking’ industry and fibres to be reclaimed to make new garments. Textiles made from both natural and man-made fibres can be recycled.

Why Bother:

It is estimated that more than 1 million tons of textiles are thrown away every year, with most of this coming from household sources. Textiles make up about 3% by weight of a household bin. At least 50% of the textiles we throw away are recyclable, however, the proportion of textile wastes reused or recycled annually in the US is only around 20%.

Although the majority of textile waste originates from household sources, waste textiles also arise during yarn and fabric manufacture, garment-making processes and from the retail industry. These are termed post-industrial waste, as opposed to the post-consumer waste which goes to jumble sales and charity shops. Together they provide a vast potential for recovery and recycling.

Recovery and recycling provide both environmental and economic benefits. Textile recovery:

  • Reduces the need for landfill space. Textiles present particular problems in landfill as synthetic (man-made fibres) products will not decompose, while woollen garments do decompose and produce methane, which contributes to global warming.
  • Reduces pressure on virgin resources.
  • Aids the balance of payments as we import fewer materials for our needs.
  • Results in less pollution and energy savings, as fibers do not have to be transported from abroad.

Reclaiming fiber avoids many of the polluting and energy intensive processes needed to make textiles from virgin materials, including: –

  • Savings on energy consumption when processing, as items do not need to be re-dyed or scoured.
  • Less effluent, as unlike raw wool, it does not have to be thoroughly washed using large volumes of water.
  • Reduction of demand for dyes and fixing agents and the problems caused by their use and manufacture.

How, what and where of recycling textiles:

The majority of post-consumer textiles are currently collected by charities like The Salvation Army, Good Will and Chalk. Some charities, for example Good Will and The Salvation Army, sort collected material selling it on to merchants in the appropriate sectors.

Some postindustrial waste is recycled ‘in-house’, usually in the yarn and fabric manufacturing sector. The rest, aside from going to landfill or incineration, is sent to merchants.

Collection Method’s:

At present the consumer has the option of putting textiles in ‘clothes banks’, taking them to charity shops or having them picked up for a donation drive.

The Salvation Army is the largest operator of textile banks in the US. On average, each of these banks is estimated to collect about six tons of textiles per year. Combined with door-to-door collections, The Salvation Army’s textile recycling operations account for the processing of in excess of 17,000 tons of clothing a year. Clothes are given to the homeless, sold in charity shops or sold in developing countries in Africa, the Indian sub-continent and parts of Eastern Europe. Nearly 70% of items put into clothing banks are reused as clothes, and any un-wearable items are sold to merchants to be recycled and used as factory wiping cloths.

Processing and Outlets for Waste Textiles

All collected textiles are sorted and graded at a “Rag House” by highly skilled, experienced workers, who are able to recognize the large variety of fiber types resulting from the introduction of synthetics and blended fiber fabrics. Once sorted the items are sent to various destinations as outlined below:

Post industrial waste is often reprocessed in house. Clippings from garment manufacture are also used by fiber reclaimers to make into garments, felt and blankets.

Some selected items will be sold to the “Vintage Market” and reused by designers fashioning garments and bags from recovered items. Companies like Dust Factory Vintage grade the textiles even more to produce mixes that will sell in trendy Vintage Shops in te US, Japan and Europe, however this is a very small sector within the overall destinations of textiles. For more information on what happens with Vintage Clothing click here.

What You Can Do:

  • Take your used clothes to a textile bank. Contact the recycling officer in your local authority if there are no banks in your area and ask why; they may collect textiles through other means. Alternatively you can take used clothing to local charity shops.
  • Give old clothes/shoes/curtains/handbags etc. to jumble sales. Remember to tie shoes together: part of the 6% of textiles which is wastage for merchants are single shoes.
  • Buy second-hand clothes – you can often pick up unusual period pieces! If bought from a charity shop, it will also benefit a charity.
  • Buy things you are likely to wear a long time – a dedicated follower of fashion can also be a green one if items are chosen carefully.
  • Look for recycled content in the garments you buy. This should be on the label, though at present there is no conventional marking scheme and some companies do not always advertise the recycled content.
  • Buy cloth wipers instead of disposable paper products as the product can be used repeatedly.

Google Sets The Pace With Largest Corporate Solar Installation in the US

I got this information from Green Options. Search for “Largest corporate solar installation in the U.S.” and you’ll see Google pop up in the results. As of yesterday, the search engine giant became a lot less dependent on the grid by flipping the switch on nearly 9,212 solar panels. The output of more than 1.6 megawatts will serve up enough energy to power almost 1/3 of the campus. For some perspective, that’s enough energy to power more than 1,000 homes!

Michael dEstries at Green Options points out that Google not content, however, to simply let a few thousand solar panels represent their green values, Google also unveiled a new parking garage specifically designed for plug-in-electric vehicles and hybrid cars. Employees can now charge while at work and hit the road freshly juiced afterwards. “Wait a minute,” you say. “There aren’t any commercial plug-in cars available yet!” And you’re right. So, to address this issue, Google is also taking hybrid vehicles and converting them to plug-ins so that they can cruise along on only electricity for longer periods of time and at greater speeds. According to the article, they’ve so far converted four Toyota Prius and two Ford Escapes. Almost 100 such conversions are planned for employees to use as a car-share program while at work. Who are these guys?

Monday also marked the launch of Google’s new philanthropic division, RechargeIT. The group has earmarked $10 million for investments in companies and projects that support alternative transportation that reduces the use of fossil fuels and emissions. You can also visit the site to see how the plug-in cars that Google has converted are performing.

To say this is encouraging would be a bit of an understatement. Would the rest of the corporate U.S. please pay attention? The future of business sustainability lies in example at Google HQ. We applaud their efforts and hope such green initiative become contagious nationwide.

Recycled Wallpaper

Wallpaper for commercial applications must be a hardy, sturdy product to withstand daily wear and tear. LSI Wallcovering is making wallcovering waves with the market’s first ever recycled vinyl wallcovering for commercial applications, which is also stylish enough for high-end applications. The manufacturer launched its recycling program Second Look last year and will premier the fruits of this endeavor in three new collections”Versa, Cirqa, and Plexus—this Spring at contract furnishings tradeshow NeoCon World’s Trade Fair. Composed of 20 percent recycled content and a minimum of 10 percent post-consumer content, Second Look meets the U.S. Green Building Council’s criteria for LEED certification. A low VOC, Type II, 20-ounce wallcovering, it uses water-based inks, can be installed with water-based adhesives, and is also available with Permavent, a hi-tech feature that allows walls to breathe. Have vinyl wallcovering from a recent renovation job? LSI accepts used vinyl wallcovering from any manufacturer, which can be sent to its factory for recycling.

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