Well this seems to make sense. Pair my favorite natural material, bamboo, with the up-and-coming corn-based bio-plastic and what have you got? A simple, but lovely line of appliances from Lexon. Oh yeah, did I mention they were renewably-powered? The radio is juiced with a crank and the others are solar. Designed by Elium Studio, known for designing kitschy products using foam and rubber, these products make no apologies for the sparse, Asian-meets-Scandinavia aesthetic of machined bamboo fronts on natural bioplastic.
Addressing the contradiction of pollution-free transport by wrapping your feet in plastic and metal, inline skate innovators at K2 skates have recently added another industry first to the company’s catalogue of cutting edge developments. Not only are the boots and laces made from recycled plastic bottles but the wheel frame is made from bamboo.
I’ve posted several articles about the increased use of bamboo in products. According to the Environmental Bamboo Foundation, bamboo is one of the world’s fastest growing and most sustainable plants, and it’s also relatively inexpensive. And, it’s very strong: bamboo can have a greater tensile strength than steel. Thanks to its fine fiber structure, it transfers energy as fast as an aluminum frame, is just as durable and light but also absorbs surface vibrations – making for a very smooth ride. Plus, they’re pretty bad-ass, if you ask me…
The skates also use a considerable amount of recycled polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) from soda bottles. Liners and laces are 100% PET and the mesh used in areas which need additional support is 50% PET. Other used materials are 100% PVC free. From their web site:
Here at K2, we realize that our inline skates will never be 100% sustainable, but we believe that by using high performing sustainable materials, we can make a difference and help create a cleaner planet for our children… In one year K2 has completely eliminated PVC’s from our Eco Skate Family and we will continue to research different sustainable materials that we plan to utilize across our product line to help “Save our Planet, One Skate At A Time.”
[Read Paul Ridden’s article for more details]
Published August 14, 2009
Materials , Sustainability
Scientific American’s Michelle Nijhuis writes about how the the perceived green benefits of designing with this “supergrass” might not out-weigh the sizable carbon footprint of a material grown halfway around the world.
It’s not just for tiki torches anymore, but does this wood substitute really make for greener floors, clothing and other products?
[Read Michelle’s full article]
Contrast her article against Jim Cornfield’s article about the growing popularity of bamboo bikes for manufacturers like Calfee.
California designer-manufacturer Craig Calfee claims his increasingly popular bamboo bikes have “the lowest carbon footprint on the planet.”
[Read Jim’s full article]
Check out Portland-based Renovo Hardwood Bicycles’ R4 Pursuit, made from two CNC’d halves of wood bonded together lengthwise (yielding a hollow core). I love the blending of media and these are a beautiful example of art and craftsmanship. In their web site, designer Ken Wheeler makes the argument for why wood makes for an “heirloom quality” bicycle frame that competes quite nicely against steel, aluminum and carbon bikes.
Be sure to take a look at take a look at how they make the frame, their beautiful product photography and their luscious wood selection. They also make bamboo frames. These guys have really propelled this novelty application of natural materials into art and a real-world, viable technology… These bikes are sweet.