“Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love,” said George Bernard Shaw. Perhaps we can achieve it all with recycled paper, if winners at the recent gift show are any indication. A paper vase, eco-building blocks and reused pulltab apparel took the prizes at the 5th semi-annual Eco-Choice Awards at the New York International Gift Fair.
Partnered with Green America, the winners were selected from 250 green wares featured in the “SustainAbility: Design for a Better World” exhibit at the show. The winter expo has a total of 2,800 exhibitors representing 85 countries, with a wide variety of homewares, artisan crafts, garden goods, gourmet foods, and sustainable products. The winners fell into three categories:
1. Most Sellable
Life on Earth Tot Towers by Eeboo: A new addition to this New York company’s line of children’s toys and games is a set of earth-friendly building blocks. The Tot Towers are graduated boxes that nest into a big cube or stack up to 3-feet and are made with recycled paper and printed with non-toxic soy-based inks. Sweet images on the blocks depict animals and nature. Simple and classic, building blocks help develop toddler’s motor skills, concept development and spatial reasoning.
2. Most Sensitive Use of Materials
This recycled Paper Vase by Honeycomb from Made by Humans: To create this vase, recycled paper was cut into strips and rolled into tubes, sliced and glued to the exterior of a ceramic vase. Non-toxic dyes and a food safe, water repellant coating was applied. Also, among the “Made for a Green Planet” offerings from this Vancouver, B.C Canadian company, its Rock Paper Notebooks use no trees, no water and no bleach in production--pages are made from limestone.
3. Most Innovative
Pullttab Heart Bag by Walleska ecochicc: A smart metal handbag crocheted by hand into a petal design features recycled aluminum pulltabs. Treehugger has touted soda can tab goods by various designers as far back as 2005, in fact I’ve written about a Mexican enviro-activist who has a shop that specializes in recycled tab apparel. Dallas-based Walleska ecochicc practices fair trade commerce with a network of twelve Brazilian cities employing 30 to 50 artisan women, with wind powered production.
More Green Highlights
The specially curated SustainAbility exhibit highlights “green gifts" and business practices that show environmental stewardship. Criteria guides manufacturers, including sustainable materials, renewable/alternative energy, corporate responsibility and philanthropy. In addition, there’s zero tolerance for products with VOC, lead, PVC (with provisions), aniline dyes, formaldehyde, and chlorine in textiles.
Other items in the display included Bow Bins from Areaware, handmade by the indigenous Aeta of the Philippines from sustainably harvested rattan and recycled plastic; Bincho Water Bottle by Black+Blum, a reusable water bottle with a natural filter; Global Goods Partners’ duffel bags of recycled rice bags sporting the tagline: “Buy handmade – change women’s lives.”