Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Green Luxury High and Low: While Some Eco Products are High Priced Others Come at a Lower Price

Highlights From Eco Luxe Event in NYC September 22
by Paul McGinniss

Editor of New York House Magazine, Nancy Meyer, standing in front of one seat, all electric vehicle from Ohio based Myers Motors

Confession. At first I was a bit afraid (more like guilty) of embracing the concept of the Eco Luxe event in NYC at upscale restaurant Rouge Tomate on East 60th Street in Manhattan. It's not that I mind luxury, really, who doesn't want to be pampered. It's just that in this turbulent recessionary era I questioned the necessity of attending an event that billed itself as eco friendly, but emphasized luxury green products that one seemed to need lots of green to buy.

Happily, I attended Eco Luxe and left feeling optimistic. Yes, in the mix were impressive high end toys like the sexy $100K plus Tesla electric vehicle and the $1500 energy propulsion system by Canadian based BionX that can be retrofitted on any bike to make it electric. But, also included in the luxury mix were more affordable items like the cool T shirts with printed slogans made out of recycled plastic by California company "A Lot To Say" and delicious chocolate from the company Divine Chocolate that not only pays fair wages, but is actually owned cooperatively by the farmers in Ghana that grew the cocoa beans in the first place.

Here are some of the other highlights, high and low priced, from the event last night:

Hydro Flask

So simple. A reusable stainless steel container, sans toxic BPA leeching plastic liners, that keeps liquid inside cold or hot for hours without sweating from condensation on the outside. I forgot my last metal beverage bottle at the Montauk Yacht club a few weeks ago and I am happy to have found Oregon based company Hydro Flask. Now I don't have to worry about my bottle sweating and getting things wet in my bag or sipping hot water on a sunny day. The smart design takes into account the size of ice cubes so, if desired, you can add them to your bottle and take it on the go.

Nature's Cork

Who knew that cork could be used to make luggage, clothes, and all sorts of things normally reserved for leather or other materials? These not cheap, but reasonably priced, luxury Portuguese products, use cork grown sustainably and they feel more like expensive Coach made goods than a thrifty green substitute.

Divine Chocolate
A Farmer Owned Fair Trade Company

I love the idea that the farmers in Ghana own the whole company. This way the chocolate tastes good physically as well as spiritually.

A Lot To Say Apparel

Sisters Alison Stanich Power and Jennifer Stanich Banmiller are a blast and so are their shirts made of 100% recycled plastic. Celebrities love them and so will you. Don't forget to check out their line of underwear with slogans on them. These undies might very well inspire some late night reading.

Electric Bike Systems

Yes, to retrofit a bike with the new wheels, battery and electric motor is expensive at $1500. However, the system lasts a super long time and in bike friendly cities and areas this system can actually make a commute by bike much more feasible. The BionX reps at Eco Luxe told me that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just personally purchased 50 of them so his whole staff could cut down on the need for cars.

Soda Stream

I'm still loving the Soda Stream machine I have. Haven't used one water or soda bottle or can since I got one. No more wasting money on seltzer water and no more trips to the transfer station with a bag of empty bottles and cans that very well could end up in a landfill.

Tesla Roadster

Tesla Roadster in front of Rouge Tomate Restaurant, NYC

Okay, I admit it. I want one. Even a green advocate needs a day off and I couldn't imagine anything more awesome than cruising in this vehicle and making all the gas guzzlers and Prius drivers green with envy.

Copyright 2009 Paul McGinniss

Check out Some Cool Products Made from Recycled Materials Below

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