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Nerds Are Cool

Nerds Are Cool

I remember back in the good old days of this blog I’d do a lot of eco-shopping entries. I’ve since been trying to shave down what I already have. I have always been a pack rat and love to buy stuff. If it wasn’t for the fact that each time I move I am more lazy than obsessed with hording stuff, I’d be one of those guys, you know on Clean Sweep or Cops.  See lazy sometimes is good. I donate stuff to the Salvation Army, or those clothes boxes sprinkled throughout NYC, or drag stuff to swap meets in Queens, or bring them to my job and leave them on a counter outside my office, eBay, etc… Someone, somewhere wants my stuff.

I do have a point to all this. I now find I need to do some shopping for a new backpack. I may document this journey further, but for now I just wanted to share some resources I am using to research said bag. By the way, for those interested, my perfect bag would be an eco, fair trade, non sweatshop, sustainable, long lasting, locally made, recycled, durable, solar energy source, super fresh, comfortable, user friendly, big when it needs to be back pack. I am sure I am missing other specs, but you get my point.

For company ratings on social and environmental issues, see Co-op America’s sweatshops.org.  The Fair Trade Federation also lists companies committed to “fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers worldwide.”  If they meet these guidelines I have completed part one of this journey.

OK, let me get started, my backpack is almost in pieces.

-Cara

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Since we learned so much about what makes bamboo eco or not in yesterday’s entry I decided to list three “Certified by Cara” super ecological bamboo products.

T-Shirt

OK, finding eco bamboo clothes I have decided is like the search for the Holy Grail. I mean no one is mechanically pounding bamboo into yarn, thread, or t-shirts for that matter. If they are their marketing/PR team is lacking the skills necessary to promote said bamboo products. Everyone who makes bamboo clothes is close, but no cigar. The best company I found so far is, Bamboo Body.

They state, “The bamboo in our fabric is grown in the Yunnan Province in China without the use of any chemicals or pesticides. The plantation is managed in strict accordance with the international organic OCIA/NOP standard.

Bamboo yarn is produced by pulverizing the bamboo stalks and then regenerating the fiber. This process does not use harmful chemicals. Our fabric is dyed using azo-free dyestuffs. Our factory operates in conformity with ISO9001:2000 quality standard and is committed to the environment by reducing emissions and recycling waste. The factory pays all workers appropriately and does not employ staff under the age of 18.

While bamboo is grown organically, without the use of pesticides or chemicals, bamboo fabric is not certified organic. The process of converting bamboo to yarn does not meet the strict criteria for organic certification.

Our bamboo fabric is certified by oeko-tex 100 standard which confirms that it is environmentally sound and does not include any harmful chemicals.”

Everyone else either states that oeko-tex 100 is not all it is cracked up to be or “that it is impossible to be 100% ecological, but as technology advances they hope to be”….technology…for all the companies waiting for the future to arrive, here is the past, what I like to call the anti-technological way, also known as the “mechanical way”. The mechanical way is done by crushing the woody parts of the bamboo plant and then use natural enzymes to break the bamboo walls into a mushy mass so that the natural fibers can be mechanically combed out and spun into yarn. This is essentially the same eco-friendly manufacturing process used to produce linen fabric from flax or hemp. Bamboo fabric made from this process is sometimes called bamboo linen. Very little bamboo linen is manufactured for clothing because it is more labor intensive and costly.” What that means is it messes with these “green” companies bottom line.

Chop It Up

The next company that makes the “Certified by Cara” seal is Totally Bamboo. I really like the twist chopstick set they sell. According to Totally Bamboo they had a chemist develop a high grade, non-toxic formaldehyde free food grade glue which they use exclusively on their cutting boards. Also. they do not use artificial dyes or stains. Their factory is ISO 9000 compliant which is a rating system covering non-polluting environmental issues and employee welfare, safety and minimum age. There are 2 colors, light and dark. The light is the natural color of bamboo. The dark is “cooked” to perfection, literally, a result of the heating process. The natural sugar in the wood is caramelized, producing the beautiful honey color. This is permanent and will not wash off. This allows the boards to be sanded if needed. They have other cool stuff on their site as well, like bamboo director chairs, for those eco Hollywood directors…lol.

Solid Horizontal-Grain Bamboo Flooring, Amber

Next to finding truly eco fabrics, eco flooring was the runner up as far as hard to locate. One company that receives the “Certified by Cara” seal, is Eco Timber.

This is what they have to say about how they are super awesome bamboo flooring rock stars, “EcoTimber bamboo flooring is made from bamboo plantations — not from wild habitats. Bamboo is a highly renewable resource, harvestable only four to six years after being planted. Its low moisture absorption properties make it ideal for humid climates and applications where moisture might pose a challenge for other types of flooring.

EcoTimber Bamboo flooring is made with a Low-VOC adhesive that easily meets the strict European E1 standard for indoor air quality.

There are currently dozens of bamboo flooring manufacturers, some of which have flooded the market with poorly-made products. Click here to see what sets them apart from others. ”

The business of greenwashing is becoming an art form these days as the big players are joining the “green” game. I expect it from them, but am sad to see some small business jumping on the greenwashing train to nowhere.

I thought this blog entry was going to be easy, but I was wrong.

Keep it real.

-Cara


Reason 98 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

Every year, 24,000 fishers die on the job, making fishing the most dangerous occupation in the world, according to the FAO/UN. Meatpacking has the highest serious injury rate by far of any occupation. Repetitive stress disorders and knife cuts are rampant in meat plants. Poultry processing workers earn wages that are, for a family of four, below the poverty level. Full-time contract poultry growers clear incomes of only $21,000 annually.

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