Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ECO-GREEN INITIATIVES IN PACKAGING, HOUSEHOLD ITEMS and TRAVEL

INGEO™ , HAINS CELESTIAL GROUP’S-EARTH ORGANICS, VAIL RESORTS, KING PACIFIC LODGE, ECHO VALLEY RANCH and SPA


Words Judith Ecochard
Images courtesy of Green Depot (c) 2009, NatureWorks LLC (c) 2009, King Pacific Lodge, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa


GREEN DEPOT, 222 Bowery and the WALDORF ASTORIA HOTEL- Midtown Manhatttan





Part of our Earth Day’s (week) must attend events, was a sustainable lifestyle cocktail/conference in the new to us Manhattan branch of Green Depot… a retail/trade emporium stocked with environmental friendly building and household supplies (including bestselling cleaning items).



A highlight was our chat with Steve Davies, Director of Communications and Public Affairs of NatureWorks®LLC -a company that processes Ingeo™-a plant sugar into a proprietary NatureWorks® biopolymer –that’s ‘eco aware-ly’ transformed (meaning uses less fossil fuel, less greenhouse gas emissions to process) into fiber, bottles, containers, plastic bags, non woven wipes, diapers etc. The end products offer “the potential of more recovery options” too.

We wrote extensively about the science of it all last year…and are happy to see that Ingeo™ petro-free offerings have really gained traction in the consumer marketplace…with major companies embracing this unique green material.

Part of the day’s celebration was the fifth annual Ingeo™ Earth Month in conjunction with the LOHAS Eve of Sustainability reception where the official scoop on giant snack food company, Frito Lay’s use of Ingeo™ plastic - comprising 33% of every 10 1/2 oz SUNCHIPS® bag—with a target of 100% compostable bag by 2010...was announced.

We felt the bag and detected no difference---a good thing as the development stage took three years to perfect.

Davies also proudly showed us giftcards from Apple Computers-now made from Ingeo™ plastic and Earth’s Best organic foods new-and sure to be a top selling-baby diapers.

For the 411 on the later necessary item, we had a talk with the congenial Sam Kestenbaum, an Associate Brand manager at the Hain Celestial Group (HAIN).

Noting that chlorine-free diapers was the “next logical step” for the organic baby foods producer, Kestenbaum highlighted his company’s use of Ingeo™ as a major ‘ingredient’ (around 20%) of Earth’s Best TenderCare® diapers. For those not in the know, this is a major positive as used disposable (but NOT decomposable) diapers continue to clog up landfills around the world.

We think it’s a real step in the right direction---taking everyday disposable necessities to some---and including “renewable resources” elements that break down.



LUXURY ECO TRAVEL



As snowboarders, we’ve have spent some serious coinage surfing the powder on VAIL MOUNTAIN in Colorado. We were jazzed to see Vail Resorts on the list of sponsors for this Earth Day event.

Makes total sense---as one reason active types ride (or hike) the slopes is to get immersed in Nature.

Fortunately, we got some face time with Julie Klein, the Director of Environmental Affairs at this RockResorts locale.

Like most ski resorts, Vail “has minimum programs” in place for years that adhere to sustainable practices…recycling, automatic towel, linen re-use at hotels, souce renewable energy via solar panels.

Even more so now---with the two thumbs up from the executive management team led by Robert Katz, guests and shareholders (MTN) this four seasons destination resort is embracing green values as a core value via with several programs like offsetting energy by purchasing wind power energy credits, using snowmelt for ‘gray water’ use and geothermal heating systems, and green building areas of the resort like the West Lionshead section-into a…

“…multi-use pedestrian village consisting of residences, a hotel, offices, retail shops and restaurants, mountain operations facilities, a public parking garage, a new gondola and related skier portal and a public park. This development is one of the first projects to be accepted into the U.S. Green Building Council's new LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certification program."

The above we quote from the VAIL RESORTS website.

“What’s good for business is good for the environment too, “ Klein noted…we’ve got to be progressive …and do what we can to be legitimate.”

AMEN.

Though not technically part of Earth Day fests---we couldn’t help but notice that two resorts we learned about at a Canadian Media event last week---are “eco” in practice without the fanfare.

The British Columbian luxury hideaway- KING PACIFIC LODGE is a remote floating wilderness barge/lodge (15,000 sq. ft.) nestled along the shore of the pristine Barnard Harbor, Princess Royal Island. Reached by seaplane or boat, this all-inclusive upscale resort has no permanent inhabitants or structures (its towed to a winter home!)---as befits its locale in the lush Great Bear Rainforest.

Adventurous travelers can enjoy five-star comfort (Jacuzzis/plunge baths, first class ultra fresh food/wines, well-appointed guest rooms) after a hike, a day of fly or sea fishing, whale or bird watching, kayaking … and/or a jaunt onboard a helicopter for the ultimate experience. The pampered few can also opt for a slower pace too and sign up for one of several packaged experiences (special spa or culinary extravagances) - in the “unparalleled” scenery of this fragile environment.

Importantly, an environmental (and economic) partnership with a coalition of native peoples, the British Columbian government and private enterprise ensures complete protection of this 21 million acre temperate rainforest that is the only home of the rare Kermode ”spirit bear.”



INFO: KING PACIFIC LODGE















ECHO VALLEY RANCH & SPA beckons travelers year round with its unique blend of refreshing classic spa therapies and magical wilderness setting for adventurers… “amidst the expansive four distinct biomes-desert, boreal forest grass lands and marshes” in the Cariboo Mountains and Marble Range.







Steeped in history, this area of British Columbia offers outstanding pursuits for active types (heli-hiking, bird watching, fly-casting lessons, horseback riding, dining al fresco by the campfire, wildlife immersions to view grizzlys with The Lodge at Chilco Lake ) and the culturally curious (excursions to a native teepee village, a frontier ranch).


For those in reflective mode, the natural surroundings connect one’s need to unwind and reflect-expertly aided by the unique Asian inspired Baan Thai Spa, where professional therapists sooth away modern day aches and stresses in splendid (authentic) surroundings.

We plan on a jaunt ourselves…and look forward to discovering even more.

ECHO VALLEY RANCH & SPA