Sunday, December 25, 2011

Eco-Gear BackPack - It Doesn't Save the World, but a Good Choice

Last time I needed a backpack, I joined Sierra Club and got one for free.  It lasted maybe 10 years, but recently the bottom has been disintegrating, leaving little black flakes on everything .  When I need something new, first I check to repurpose - maybe I have something comparable lying around?  Nope, all back packs have been given away, are worn out, or are the wrong size.  (Our kids each got through grades school through high school on about 2 LLBean book bags, so it pays to buy high quality ones.)
Sometimes I post on FreeCycle, but I actually wanted more say in the design and features of a backpack, since I use one several times a week,  for running errands on foot, and when I travel.  I researched eco-friendly options.  The materials themselves do not seem like a big issue to me. Since the bag will be used for so many years, it will be well amortized, even if it is petroleum-based polyester.  Back packs don't weigh that much and are not likely to be manufactured in ways which can be verifiably sustainable.  And good luck finding one not manufactured in China.
That doesn't leave many eco-friendly aspects to the purchase, other than buying a bag from a site where some of the proceeds go to a green cause.  Didn't see any.
By persisting a bit, I found a EcoGear, a low-priced bag readily available in nice colors, sizes, and options. Its green claim to fame is being made from RPET , recycled polyethylene terepthalate - recycled soda bottles, and free of PVC. Its products can be found at mainstream retailers, even Walmart. Helping drive demand for recycled materials is a definite eco-benefit.  ANd they donate to 1% for the Planet, which  fund lots of great initiatives; they list a few thousand approved ones which companies can choose among.  Here is one from India which promotes natural dyes, for example.  Nice to know $.15 of my purchase is going to their chosen cause. (Who knows how they calculate 1% - it probably is less than that per bag, but at least it's a micor-contribution to support eco-causes.)
The backpack is great, with loads of cleverly designed pockets, including one for a laptop.  Score!  The only thing I can't get excited about is their slogan, "Saving the world one bag at a time."  We will not be saving the world by buying recycled backpacks any time soon.  Sigh.
The Recycle Series is Ecogear’s testament to the functionality of recycling. Featuring the rugged and sleek Palila backpack, this bag has all the essential components for the modern individual, with the additional bonus of being made of RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) water bottles. 

No comments: