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seeing green

 Soy, coconut, corn, sheep, bamboo, hemp hemp, common name for a tall annual herb (Cannabis sativa) of the family Cannabinaceae, native to Asia but now widespread because of its formerly large-scale cultivation for the bast fiber (also called hemp) and for the drugs it yields. . It sounds like the ingredient list at some exotic bistro. Instead it’s a recipe for sustainability that an increasing number of outdoorgear makers are cooking up to wean wean (wen) to discontinue breast feeding and substitute other feeding habits.

1. To deprive permanently of breast milk and begin to nourish with other food.

 the industry off petroleum-based fabrics and plastics.  Corn is spun into a polyesterlike fiber for shirts and socks. Wood-chip fibers show up in yoga pants. Fast-growing bamboo is used for everything from workout T’s to inflatable in·flat·a·ble  
Designed to be filled with air or gas before use: an inflatable mattress.

An object or device that can be filled with air or gas, especially:
 sleeping pads. Wool — that old, itchy itch·y
Having or causing an itching sensation.
 has-been from grandma’s closet — is now the go-to choice for boutique sport socks. “It’s come a long way in a short time. I just put on a shirt from ExOfficio made out of soy. It was probably the most luscious shirt I’ve ever worn,” said Michael Hodgson Michael Hodgson (born November 5, 1979 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia) is an Australian National Rugby League player. He plays the position of Second Row for the Canberra Raiders Rugby League Club. , editor of Gear Trends magazine. Hodgson has seen the trend explode as technology has caught up with outdoor shoppers’ desires to be friendly to Earth.
   “A decade ago, you could buy recycled fleece but you could tell it was recycled,” he said. “These days, green products feel as good, look as good, and perform as good as the others, so it’s a very easy choice.”
   But does using corn or soy really have a positive effect on the planet? It’s hard to say.
   Few companies have an objective tool for rating how good a shirt or shoe is for the environment. But that may be changing. In May, leaders in the outdoor industry will meet in Boulder to discuss developing a universal system to rate a product’s environmental impact.
   “It’s tricky to know if you’re really doing a good thing unless you have an objective way to look at the whole process,” said Betsy Blaisdell, manager of environmental stewardship The integration and application of environmental values into the military mission in order to sustain readiness, improve quality of life, strengthen civil relations, and preserve valuable natural resources.  at the shoe and apparel company Timberland, which recently created a rating called the Green Index. The Green Index looks at everything from materials to shipping and gives shoes a sustainability score from 1 to 10.
   “When we looked at products from start to finish, we found some surprises,” she said.
   The natural hemp that Timberland used in its Greenscape Mountain sneakers sneakers
Noun, pl

US, Canad, Austral & NZ canvas shoes with rubber soles

sneakers npl (US) → zapatos mpl de lona; zapatillas fpl 
 to replace a synthetic fabric Synthetic fabrics are textiles made from synthetic fibres. They are used primarily to make clothing.  turned out to be a bit limp, so designers added a stiff backing. The backing added weight. The weight burned more fossil fuels in shipping. Once a Green Index analysis was run, it showed the synthetic fiber Noun 1. synthetic fiber - fiber created from natural materials or by chemical processes
man-made fiber

fiber, fibre - a slender and greatly elongated substance capable of being spun into yarn

acrylic, acrylic fiber - polymerized from acrylonitrile
 was more sustainable. Out went the hemp.
   “I think the designers were a little mad, but it’s been a great tool,” said Blaisdell.
   Green Index tags are included with five shoe models, and the company hopes to tag all its shoes and clothing by 2009. Timberland officials will urge other manufacturers at the May meeting to develop a standardized “nutrition label” that tells how green a product is.
   In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile
, a lack of standards isn’t stopping scores of gear makers from running with new sustainable goods.
   Osprey osprey (ŏs`prē), common name for a bird of prey related to the hawk and the New World vulture and found near water in most parts of the world.  Packs, which makes backpacks in Cortez, has been using recycled plastic for more than a decade in its packs’ stiff frame sheets.
   “We always had the desire to do more, we just didn’t have the materials,” said Osprey spokesman Gareth Martins.
   Two years ago, Osprey designers started hunting down suppliers and refining designs to fill the void. In July, Osprey will release its ReSource series of day packs and courier bags made of 70 percent recycled materials. Osprey hopes lessons learned in the creation and use of the ReSource packs will be used in creating Osprey’s higher-end packs.
   “We’ll look at using recycling in the rest of our line, but that’s only part of our sustainability goal. There’s a larger picture, too,” Martins said.
   Osprey has scrutinized its entire operation. It purchases wind-energy credits for its Cortez offices. It plans to add solar power and green design to its offices, and it gives employees economic incentives for biking or car pooling to work.
   “Any product is still going to have an impact, but we can try to minimize it,” said Martins. “From a planetary perspective, there’s no way around it. This is what we have to do.”
   Founder of Boulder-based Teko socks, Jim Heiden, said the raw ingredients are key to green gear. Reached on a cell phone while riding his bike, Heiden explained how his company’s socks are made from renewable corn-derived polyester or wool sheered from sheep on a single ranch in Tasmania.
   “They have unbelievable environmental practices,” he said. “No pesticides, no herbicides, and a full biodiversity biodiversity: see biological diversity.

Quantity of plant and animal species found in a given environment. Sometimes habitat diversity (the variety of places where organisms live) and genetic diversity (the variety of traits expressed
   The socks are made at a plant powered by wind.
   His one problem: The cornfiber socks are made from genetically modified genetically modified

(of an organism) having DNA which has been altered for the purpose of improvement or correction of defects

genetically modified genetic adj [food etc] →
 kernels — a fact that caused industry giants Patagonia and Timberland to refuse to use corn.
   “It may change though,” Heiden said. “There’s a lot of pressure from companies to get the GMO GMO
genetically modified organism
” — genetically modified organism ge·net·i·cal·ly modified organism
n. Abbr. GMO
An organism whose genetic characteristics have been altered by the insertion of a modified gene or a gene from another organism using the techniques of genetic engineering.
 — “out of our threads.”
   Green materials cost more. A pair of socks from the wool of the Tasmania herd runs about $15. But Heiden said people are willing to pay for a sock that offers peace of mind.
   His sales have grown almost 200 percent in two years.
   “It’s the Whole Foods model,” he said, referring to the phenomenally popular, and pricey Pricey

Term used for an unrealistically low bid price or unrealistically high offer price.


Of, relating to, or being an unrealistically high offer. An offer to sell a security at $50 when the current market price is $47 is pricey.
, natural-foods chain.
   Companies continue to innovate. Patagonia announced in January that it will start recycling Capilene base layers, fleece and organic cotton T-shirts. Drop off your old gear at a Patagonia store and the company will recycle it into new clothing.
   “I love the Patagonia program,” said Timberland’s Blaisdell. “I hope we move towards that — making shoes that nourish nour·ish
To provide with food or other substances necessary for sustaining life and growth.
 new products when they wear out, sort of a cradle-tocradle idea.”
   Cradle to cradle, is the idea, coined by authors William Mc-Donough and Michael Braungart Michael Braungart is a German chemist who advocates 'upcycling' not recycling, to minimize humanity's ecological footprint. Once a Greenpeace activist who lived in a tree as protest, he is now a respected industrial designer and professor of process engineering. , that companies, consumers and the environment can benefit from products designed from the beginning to be easily recyclable.
   Blaisdell says the push for a cleaner product has reached a point where it will be hard to stop.
   “We’re all in it in the first place because we’re passionate outdoor people who want to preserve our playground. We want to do the right thing, but we need a critical mass, and I think we now have that.”
CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0223 or  
1. ExOfficio Tofutech T-Shirt
Fast-drying like polyester but made from soybean soybean, soya bean, or soy pea, leguminous plant (Glycine max, G. soja, or Soja max) of the family Leguminosae (pulse family), native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Asia, where it has been  plants. $34. REI
2. REI Slickrock Shorts
Organic cotton on the outside with smooth and quick-drying recycled polyester on the inside. $34. REI
3. Timberland Mountain Sneakers
The most sustainable sport shoe on the market has renewable hemp uppers with organically tanned leather, shoelaces made from recycled soda bottles and a 30 percent recycled sole. $85. REI
4. Teko Ingeo socks
High-performance running and hiking socks made from corn. $10. Mountain Chalet, 226 N. Tejon St., and

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Publication:Colorado Springs Gazette
Date:Apr 9, 2007
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