Images credit Orontas
Lubricants are a pretty boring business, and it's hard to get people's attention. Orontas is different; they make a line of plant based, non toxic lubricants and cleaners for bikes. They don't have a corporate mission statement, but a manifesto, and they think they are better than green:
Orontas isn't green. Orontas isn't even "going green".
We hold ourselves to an ethical standard that includes using sustainable and biodegradable materials that don't come with skulls and crossbones.
We believe having values is better than marketing them and the last time we checked "green" was still just a perfectly nice color (or "colour"... we're Canadian).
The company lays out a direct comparison to the competition; it is clever and convincing. Where Old School is hazardous and petroleum based, Orontas is sustainable and biodegradable. Where old school packaging is disposable, Orontas is reusable and refillable. Where old school manufacturing is petrochemical "derived from petrochemicals sourced from energy intensive and environmentally irresponsible foreign and domestic facilities.", Orontas is made with wind.
It is all presented with humour and style on a beautifully designed website with terrific product photography; where links to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are usually buried 12 clicks down somewhere, Orontas puts it right on the front page. They apparently have nothing to hide.
I am less certain about their spray lube that their PR company calls "a new non-toxic take on WD40" and that Orontas calls " A biodegradable and non-toxic all-purpose lubricant and anti-corrosive spray made from over 70% sustainable material - including the propellant." But the propellant is dimethyl ether, which is made from natural gas, and it is a stretch to call that sustainable. Furthermore they call the can "recyclable" but they rarely are; it is tough to separate the plastic components from the metal. (Orontas is made in Toronto, and I checked the City recycling guidelines, and aerosol cans are accepted in the recycling stream).
But overall, Orontas is a wonderful example of how one can take a boring and toxic product and make it green (sorry guys, it meets our definition of it) and how to present it in an honest, well designed package. More at Orontas.
More Green Bike Lubes:
Working on the ChainJ Gang: Pedro's Canola Lube
Pedros Bicycle Bits