Photo via stylediggers.com
Some celebrities will lend their name to just about anything -- and when it comes to green products, the truth behind the ads can be nearly impossible to figure out.
Here we break down the pros and cons of seven products represented or developed by A-listers, who've made themselves the face of everything from baby clothes to clean water technology.
1. Harrison Ford's Conservation International Timepiece
As Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford put himself in plenty of tight spots trying to save the world's most precious archeological treasures -- and in real life, his work with Conservation International has made him a power player in the effort to save the environment.
Product: The Hamilton Khaki Team Earth Watch
Pros: This is the second collaboration between Ford and watchmaker Hamilton to support Conservation International; the first raised enough money to protect more than 2 million hectare of land and ocean, according to Ecorazzi. The stainless-steel and rugged styling in this watch make it a wear-with-anything piece that will last for years, and you'll be helping Team Earth's mission at the same time.
Cons: If you're in the market for another watch then it could be a good choice, but remember that true sustainability starts with consuming less. The watch also comes with a leather band (so die-hard vegans won't wear it) and there's no mention of life cycle analysis.
2. The Little Seed for Target by Soleil Moon Frye
Former Punky Brewster star Soleil Moon Frye spent her young years inspiring '80s kids with bright colors, leg warmers and a very distinct fashion sense -- and as the current owner of eco-friendly children's boutique The Little Seed in Los Angeles, she stocks equally trendy, chic, and colorful clothes.
Product: The Little Seed for Target children's clothing line
Pros: The Little Seed for Target includes a rainbow of simple, solid-colored pieces -- hooded towels, bibs, swaddling blankets, onuses, tops, and pants -- in kid-friendly blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, and purple, all made from 100 percent organic cotton; the founders also deserve props for debuting their line with a major retailer at an accessible price point (instead of in far-flung, expensive boutiques).
Cons: Organic cotton is better than conventional cotton but that doesn't make it a 100-percent sustainable choice -- and the line has a limited-time-only release, which could make it hard to find in some stores.
3. Gisele Bundchen and Sejaa Skin Care
Supermodel Gisele Bunchen (who's also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme) knows a thing or two about beauty -- which may be what inspired her to start her own line of natural skincare.
Product: Sejaa Pure Skincare
Pros: The company focuses on healthy skincare products, including day cream, night cream, and a mud mask, that are free of parabens, synthetic or genetically modified ingredients, and petrochemicals; the company also uses "only whole plant ingredients," natural antioxidants instead of chemical preservatives, and recycled and recyclable packaging.
Cons: While you still wont be able to pronounce or identify every ingredient in the skincare line, an online glossary sheds some light on the compounds and natural derivatives that make up the creams. An even bigger problem: No matter how many skin creams you use, you are probably not going to end up looking like Gisele.
4. Stella McCartney Kids
Last year, Stella McCartney put her animal-friendly fashion knowledge to work on a line of kids' clothes for the Gap, with blankets, sweaters, and jackets made from natural fibers. The success of the line made her own youth collection a logical next step.
Product: Stella McCartney Kids
Pros: The designer has promised (the line launches in November 2010) a wardrobe that's ethical, durable, practical, and long-lasting -- so the clothes will be favorites of your kids and make perfect hand-me-downs for younger siblings and cousins. And since they're from a high-end designer, you can be sure your kids will be the best-dressed on the playground.
Cons: The line's press release isn't specific about the materials McCartney will use, describing pieces that include a "floral print dress," "quilted field jacket," "wool and cashmere blend peacoat," "natural rubber rain boots" and an "organic cotton onesie." We'd like to see more detail about the fibers and their sources; and though McCartney is well-known for not using any fur or leather in her fashions, these materials don't tend to be staples of children's clothes anyway.
5. Kevin Coster's Oil-and-Water Separator
Sure, it's not a mass-market product that you can buy at Target, but when actor Kevin Costner announced that he'd developed an oil-cleaning machine that could help salvage the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, the world took notice.
Product: Ocean Therapy Solutions Centrifuge
Pros: The actor sunk a reported $20 million into the development of a machine that would spin oil and water to separate the two substances -- cleaning as much as 210,000 gallons of water each day before returning it to the ocean. BP tested the machines and deployed 32 of them in June to help offset the damage caused by oil leaking from an undersea well.
Cons: The machines had never been used in a oil spill of this magnitude, and their end-result effectiveness remains to be seen. Some scientists also theorized that oil contaminated by dispersants might not be as easily separated as the oil used in the testing phase.
6. Liz Hurley's Organic Snacks
When supermodel Elizabeth Hurley traded her red-carpet schedule for life on a 400-acre farm in Gloucestershire, England, she didn't keep the results to herself: Her produce is available at local markets and she recently announced plans for a "Green Acres"-style reality show.
Product: Elizabeth Hurley Organic Fruit Bars
Pros: Hurley distributes her line of organic snack bars -- fruit flavors include strawberry & cherry and orange & cranberry, while oat versions come in banana & chocolate and orange & chocolate-- and homemade beef jerky at Harrod's department store as well as on elizabethhurley.com; the "guilt-free snacks" are all under 100 calories per bar.
Cons: If you don't live near Harrod's -- and especially if you're buying online -- the bars don't really count as local food (and eating local can have as big of an impact on the environment as eating organic).
7. Alanis and Woody's Recycled Denim
Product: Reco Denim
Pros: Making jeans from recycled material is a notoriously difficult process, since recycled cotton is weaker and, therefore, less likely to stand up to the trials most jeans go through -- but Reco Denim came up with a way to use as much as 60 percent recycled fabric in its line of men's and women's clothing.
Cons: The line is still pretty limited, with only three men's styles and three women's styles, but the company has branched out to the world of t-shirts with tops made from 65 percent recycled cotton and 35 percent recycled PET.
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