It’s Earth Day today – and it’s also Earth Day’s 50th anniversary.
Under different circumstances there would be lots of outdoor, community or school related activities to support Earth Day, but not this year. However, earthday.org features digital events, conversations, video teach-ins and performances on line. Check it out at https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/
In the design field, it’s good to see companies that focus on environmentally friendly materials and products. Every little bit helps. Some examples of companies that use recycled products are Trex, Emeco and Vetrazzo.
You’ve probably seen Trex products on home decks or porches, walkways to the beach, or walkways at nature preserves. Trex manufactures composite decking material from a blend of 95% reclaimed wood/sawdust and recycled plastic film. I specify Trex decking for several residential construction projects every year. Recycling programs and efforts from Trex include plastic bag collection at stores and super markets. Trex collects grocery bags, bread bags, case overwrap, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, ice bags, wood pellet bags, ziplock & other re-sealable bags, produce bags, bubble wrap, salt bags, and cereal bags. Trex also sponsors plastic recycling programs at schools, universities and communities throughout the US and sponsors a Recycling Challenge for school participation.They also facilitate commercial recycling partnerships and will pay for plastic waste from companies that produces large amounts of unused plastic film.
Emeco is a manufacturer of classic chairs, stools and tables that use salvaged and recycled aluminum, recycled plastic bottles, wood from sustainably managed forests or from reclaimed sources, cork from sustainable sources, reclaimed wood polypropylene, and eco-friendly concrete.
Emeco’s wide range of excellent products includes classic Navy chairs or stools that are often found at restaurants. The 1 Inch Stacking Chair and Alfi Chair (both designed by Jasper Morrison) are often seen in offices, conference rooms or restaurants and cafes. The Broome Chair by Philipe Stark is another classic. The Broome Chair features reclaimed polypropylene combined with discarded wood and sawdust from lumber yards. A great example of sustainable product design.
Vetrazzo is another favorite of mine that uses recycled glass to create beautiful countertop materials. Glass sources include jars, windshields, glass from curbside recycling and salvage glass from buildings or construction projects.
Some of my favorite Vetrazzo colors are Aqua Current (great for homes in coastal settings), Fair Pearl (nice with neutral gray or beige tile or paint) and Palladian Gray. Coffee House and Alehouse Amber are wonderful too! I love the way the Vetrazzo web site is broken up into products by destination or style. Fun!
And remember – reduce, reuse and recycle!
Reduce – do I really need this? Is the overall impact worth the short term gratification? Do I already own something similar that can be put to good use?
Reuse – how can I use this item to avoid throwing it away or to avoid buying something to replace it? Think about reusing food containers, paper or plastic bags, etc. Think about each and every plastic bag or container you’ve accumulated and try to both cut back and reuse.
Recycle – once you start, it becomes second nature. Check your town’s recycling guides. Single stream or separate categories? Curbside recycling or drop off? It feels great to recycle and to do something to protect the environment.