Indulge your taste for luxury handbags without sacrificing the planet -- no guilt when shopping Matt & Nat as all of their creations are made with recycled plastic water bottle linings and some even have recycled material exteriors as well. The bag shown above, for example, made of 100% recycled materials and according to the website's count (they give you a bottle count for every bag) it took 49 bottles to create -- that's a lot of plastic kept out of the landfill. It's the Davis Green Vegan Handbag and features green faux suede on the outside and khaki faux suede on the inside, decorative stitching, antiqued brass hardware, and of course the Matt & Nat logo bar. $215
See more Matt & Nat creations in the gallery below.
Eco-Me: products to keep your dog clean as well as with which to clean up, plus treats; more here
Natural Woof: exercise products, cleaners, toys & treats, beds & bowls, collars & outerwear, travel items, and homeopathic remedies; small-home dwellers, try this
Dress My Pooch: the name says it all -- clothing for dogs plus all kinds of other essentials
Zia & Tia: organics for every member of the family (humans too); pet lovers, go here for toys, beds, and apparel
Urban Leash & Treat: smaller, lower-priced items, but still all the essentials as well as some fun things (cat stuff too)
Metro Dog: all you'd expect for city dogs. Tip: keep them off your one sofa by giving them their own bed. You also can meet some real city dogs, who are allowed on the furniture, in my friend Shira's blog, Saving for Sesame. Follow The Real House Whippets of NYC on all their adventures!
If you need even more info on luxury pet products, some green (let's hope lots green), save the date for the Luxury Pet Pavilion, March 12-13, 2010, Los Angeles.
Beth Novak Milliken of Spottswoode says that they have done many things to be the "best possible stewards of our 45-acre estate property." In addition to organic farming they have also installed solar panels at the winery and vineyard. They also actively conserve and recycle and use have bees and bird boxes on the property. The 25th anniversary 2006 Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon sells for $130 a bottle and the 2008 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc is $36 per bottle. The winery is also a member of 1% For the Planet, a group that has pledged to contribute one percent of sales to environmental groups around the world.
I have to confess that I have a lot of cynicism about hotels and their efforts to help the environment. There's hardly a hotel that I visit that doesn't give me the opportunity to save the earth by opting not to have my sheets and towels replaced, which does indeed save on water and detergent, but, I know it also saves the hotel serious dollars. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against win-win situations, I'm just not getting too many green good vibes if doing less laundry is the only earth-friendly step that a hotel takes.
In fairness, it's often hard for a guest to tell what a hotel is doing for the environment, because most of the heavy lifting comes behind the scenes -- in the hotel's construction, energy supplies and so on. Here are a few fabulous properties that are also doing right by the planet, in ways you might not recognize.
- The Nines in Portland, Oregon. In the renovation of this hotel from its previous life as a department store, 90 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills for reuse or recycling. In addition, housekeeping employs green cleaning products and the hotel gets 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources including wind power and carbon offsets.
- The Westin Riverfront Beaver Creek, Colorado: This hotel just received Silver LEED certification, and it's saving energy in a variety of ways, including a building control system that allows the front desk to adjust the temperature in guest rooms so unoccupied rooms aren't heated or cooled unnecessarily. The hotel also donated a 5 acre zone along the Eagle river as a permanent public open space.
- The Ritz Carlton Highlands, North Lake Tahoe: This soon-to-open hotel was built with environmental factors in mind, from careful site planning designed to spare as many trees as possible, to the introduction of underground parking, which reduces the use of asphalt, allowing snow melt and rain to return to the water table. What's more, Northstar Resort, which the Ritz is a part of, is the first ski resort to be entirely LEED certified.
- Harbor View, Martha's Vineyard. One of the most luxurious places to stay on Martha's Vineyard also has a serious commitment to the environment, from its use of low-flow plumbing, to energy efficient appliances, to an active recycling program that includes replacing the distribution of plastic water bottles with reusable water bottles and water stations.
Green. Sustainable. Recyclable. Not exactly the first words you use to describe luxury fashion, right? At the same time, numerous clothing companies have been founded on the principal of being eco-friendly.
I'll admit, the skeptic in me began to worry when giant brands like Guess, Inc. started producing lines purporting to be green. Green's big business and it made for great advertising and public relations. But how can you tell whether a line that claims to be green is really green?
I posed the question to Emma Grady, a contributing fashion writer at TreeHugger.com (a division of the Discovery Channel) who helps sort this out for consumers. "We do this by asking lots of questions to understand a garment's life cycle," she says. "Where are the fabrics sourced? How are they produced? How far does the product travel (shipping is a major source of pollution)? Is the cotton grown in Africa, weaved in India, then shipped to a store in California? What dyes are used in the process?"
Grady and her team at TreeHugger.com a number of designers' sustainable practices are the real deal. It's worth listing a few of them here. Not surprising, Stella McCartney is one. McCartney is well-known vegan and has long produced pleather shoes, belts and handbags to avoid the environmentally taxing tanning process.
Linda Loudermilk, a designer from Los Angeles, is another to watch. I interviewed Loudermilk a few years ago and she told me she spends countless hours researching and developing textiles that are not only made from certified eco-conscious materials, but suited for high design. I found this particularly impressive because the fashion design process is already grueling. And, no doubt, these steps added a lot of expense to production costs.
EDUN, founded in 2005 by Ali Hewson and Bono, promotes sustainable employment in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, reads its mission statement. The line's primary focus is trade but it's also working to use more organic materials in the collection.
Even small things like recycling zippers and buttons can make a big difference, says Grady. Props to Yves Saint Laurent for earlier this year unveiling an eco-friendly capsule collection called "New Vintage." The idea was to create classic YSL styles using fabrics from past collections.
If designers can't be innovative, who can?
According to Wired, a trend is emerging from the design studios of some of the world's top automakers, and it may be spreading like wildfire as you read this. We're talking about cars like the recently-unveiled BMW X6, Honda Crosstour and Audi A5 Sportback. Squint a bit and its not too hard to look at the overall shape of these three cars and see the outline of the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.
Of course, there's a big difference between the three aforementioned crossover/wagon thingies and hybrids like the Prius and Insight. While the big wagons are shaped to attract the attention of higher-end luxury buyers, the Prius and the Insight – itself accused of copying the shape of its rival from Toyota on numerous occasions – were styled in the wind tunnel to promote good fuel efficiency at highway speeds.
Regardless of the reason behind their being and whether or not you find them ugly or beautiful, it would seem that we should start getting ourselves accustomed to the sloping rear hatchback look – its now officially a trend.
Gallery: BMW X6 ActiveHybrid
Filed under: Green
Our sister blog, WalletPop recently interviewed the fabulous Bette Midler on her New York Restoration Project. The non-profit, which works to revitalize parks and public spaces throughout New York City, built a community garden in one of New York's toughest neighborhoods, in the Bronx. The garden opened October 6 and will also host cooking demonstrations, gardener workshops, summer concerts and community movie nights.
Most of the plots of land will go to school children at neighboring P.S. 73 so they can learn more about gardening. Midler is working on establishing green jobs in New York City and the New York Restoration Project has a goal to plane one million trees in New York in ten years. They recently celebrated the planting of the 250,000th tree. Target has funded the project, backing both the Target Community Garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn which opened in 2007 and the Target East Harlem Community Garden which opened in 2008 Target also established a fund to help maintain the gardens. Check out more from Midler in the video above.