Apr 4, 2007

How Green Was My Valet

Just in case you don't agree with the folks who believe that "the most sustainable product is the one you never bought in the first place", soon HauteGREEN will offer you a chance to shop "the best in sustainable design for the contemporary home, showcasing furniture, lighting, and accessories that are both aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly."

Among the highlights of last year's expo was Daniel Michalik's Cortica, a 72" chaise longue made entirely of renewable and recyclable cork. (Which I suppose would have the added benefit of floating should it fall into the pool.) I'll be interested to see whether there are any truly cradle to cradle solutions, or just more marginally recycled/recyclable crap none of us really needs to buy. I am, however, encouraged by the curators' criteria for evaluating sustainability:

Submissions must address one or more of the following.
  • Recycled/able. The product makes use of recycled or repurposed materials, it itself readily recyclable, or both.
  • Renewable. The product makes use of organic materials that can be regrown, is readily biodegradable, or both.
  • Substitute Materials. The product is less damaging as a result of toxic materials or components being replaced with safer ones.
  • Stewardship Sourcing. The product makes use of raw materials from fairly-traded sources or low impact sources such as FSC-approved forests.
  • Alternative Energy in Manufacture. The product is manufactured using a renewable energy source.
  • Efficiency in Manufacture. The product’s manufacturing process is efficient in its use of energy, water, and materials.
  • Efficient Transport. The product is designed to optimize space and decrease energy use in transport.
  • Locality. The product is produced locally using only locally-sourced materials.
  • Utility. The product has increased efficiency by providing greater utility for the user, such as multifunction products or rented products.
  • Durability. The product is more efficient in materials usage as it has a longer functional lifespan.
  • Efficiency. The product is more efficient in its use of energy, water, and materials.
  • Alternative Energy in Use. The product uses renewable energy to function.
  • Dissassembly. The product is designed to be easy to disassemble for repurposing, composting, and/or recycling.
  • Communication. The product communicates information that leads to a better environmental performance, usually by changing the behavior of users.
  • Social Improvement. The product is designed and/or manufactured by people that take social profit from the work and/or money created.
  • Conceptual. The product communicates a strong message about sustainability, consumption, and/or eco-design, through a conceptual framework. This category specifically applies to works/ideas that are not intended to be commercially viable products at this point.
  • Write In. If you believe your product is sustainable in a way that is not described above, please describe it to us in the submissions form.

    OK, I'll write one in. My product is sustainable because it consumed no resources in production or, for that matter, conception. Its raw materials are infinitely available and durable. Its transport is nonexistent, or rather, it is omnipresent, yet so completely unobtrusive as to render disposal completely unnecessary. It is open-source, freely available and customizable, accruing profits to no one but the consumer; although it is not really consumed at all. Demand for my product is universal, and it is available immediately without so much as a mouse click. Without further expenditure of electrons: my product is… nothing.

    I mean, really — I appreciate the spirit of HauteGREEN, but do we really need more stuff?
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