14 September 2008

From Bottles to Bags - Green is both Cool & Responsible

In keeping with my eco-friendly theme lately on Renaissance Culinaire I have reviewed two great bags. These bags are not from your typical company who creates a few pieces for their product line that cater to the Green market. These are in fact created by Act2GreenSmart who's Owners Tom & Debbie, who once marketed products under the company brand Shoreline which started in 1995, decided in 2007 with guidance from Tom's education in Conservation of Natural Resources at U.C. Berkeley and Debbie’s green oriented background to convert the company into a viable, brand using eco-friendly materials through a special process.

According to the companies own research:

Plastic bottles (PET #1) are one of the biggest environmental disasters today. In the United States alone, 230 bottles per person go to landfill per year. That’s enough crushed bottles to fill the Rose Bowl Stadium in California every two weeks.

These bottles, which are made from petroleum, find their way into landfills, rivers, lakes and roadsides. And they never decompose.

We think this is unacceptable. It’s also completely unnecessary. The technology exists today to convert these bottles into high-quality, durable fabrics which look and perform equal to their virgin counterparts. All of our act2 fabrics are made from 100% certified post-consumer PET bottles. You get a top quality product made from one of the world’s most durable fabrics AND save the planet at the same time.

When I got the opportunity to review these Act2greenSmart bags I was ecstatic. I would be sharing with you not only a cool looking product, but one that you and I could feel great about purchasing and using. Act2GreenSmart not only uses environmentally friendly material in their products, but also in their printing inks (vegetable based), promotional materials and product tags (using natural cotton twine to attach them). They also use recycled material to ship their products.

The first bag I got to review was the Act2GreenSmart Shoulder Pouch.
Act2Green Shoulder Pouch

Product Specs:

Exterior Fabric: 450d 100% rPET polyester

Interior Fabric: 150d 100% rPET polyester

Shoulder Pouch Dimension: 7” x 5.5” x 1.5”

Colors: Blue or Olive

This is a really nice substantial bag for being on the smaller side. I received this bag in "Olive", like the messenger bag pictured below.

The outer fabric feels and looks great. It has a very small raised checker look to it, which gives it just enough interest to separate it from similar bags. You can actually feel the durability when comparing the fabric to standard backpack canvas. The hems and stitching are all very well hidden with cording details which also gives this bag a nice style element.

The Shoulder Pouch is lined with a nice buttery lime fabric silkscreened with the Act2green logo. It isn't as dark as the picture to the right.

The Shoulder Pouch has two zippers on the outside, like those pictured to the right except they are in a nickel toned metal as apposed to the brass toned pictured. The zippers are large, light, and curved - making them very ergonomic and allow for easy gripping, if you or someone you know has arthritis or other hand problems - this bag would be easy to maneuver with. Open an outer lined compartment in the pouches outer flap, and a back deeper lined pocket that has two roomy compartments.

Inside the pouch is a standard black metal zipper that reveals a deep lined pocket, suitable for a passport or money. And below this pocket is a smaller lined open split compartment which allows for expansion. Nice for sunglasses or items you need to get to quickly. The magnetic snap closure is hidden and very large also, making it easy to close on those hurried days.

The shoulder strap is a tightly woven strap, which feels comfortable on your shoulder, and allows for cinching up or down for length with aide of a metal ring clasp, and is attached to the Shoulder Pouch bag by metal c-hooks which have a lever to easily remove the strap.

The sticker that was inside the shoulder pouch said that making each pouch uses 5, 16 ounce PET Bottles, and saves 3437 Btu or 1 KWh. That is enough energy to power a laptop for 40 hours!

Overall I would say this is a great smaller bag for weekend jaunts, or times when you can't take a bulky bag with you, yet you still need to take some essentials. It is stylish enough to bring to work or for semi causal activities. Has allot of pockets for it's size. You can find the Act2GreenSmart Shoulder Pouch on Amazon.com

The Second bag I got to review was Act2GreenSmart's Vertical Messenger Bag. When this arrived to my house and I opened the box, I was thinking to myself how I was in so love with a bag, and hadn't even used it yet.

The Vertical Messenger Bag I received was in "Stone", like in the second picture below.

Messenger Product Specs:

Exterior Fabric: 600d 100% rPET polyester

Interior Fabric: 150d 100% rPET polyester

Vertical Messenger Dimension:

17” x 11” x 5”

Colors: Olive or Stone

The outer fabric has a slightly different weave than the Shoulder Pouch, it has a very fine weave similar to a snowboarding jacket. There is no raised pattern, and it gives the bag a very smart modern look. The outer fabric feels very durable, yet still retains the lightweight needed when searching for a messenger bag.

It is also lined with a nice buttery lime fabric silkscreened with the Act2green logo. It isn't as dark as the picture to the right.

The Vertical Messenger Bag has two zippers (as detailed above) on the outside, like those pictured to the right except they are in a nickel toned metal as apposed to the brass toned pictured. The zippers are large, light, and curved - making them very ergonomic and allow for easy gripping, if you or someone you know has arthritis or other hand problems - this bag would be easy to maneuver with. Also great for kids. One is used to open the outer back pocket, it is wide yet shallow, which is nice for loose change or pens. The 2nd opens an roomy outer flap pocket. This pocket is great for a variety of items you need to reach frequently.

The Vertical Messenger Bag's main flap is held closed by two smooth hidden magnetic metal snaps. When you open the flap, you can see the open main lined compartment ,which has 3 long strips of high density recycled material that are sewn into the lining of the back of the compartment and the front has wider overlapping strips that form a movable wall, which seperates the main compartment into two different roomy compartments, making it a perfect place to rest your laptop inside.

The outer area under the flap, has three open, unlined pockets total. The largest is deep and about 10 inches wide.

The Vertical Messenger bag's shoulder strap is very tightly woven, with a nice outer edge detail. It is very comfortable when resting on the shoulder, the materials it is woven out of allow for some give which allows it to form around the contours of your shoulder, yet will hold it's shape. You can adjust the length of the strap also. There is a large loop in the back created from the same outer material, to pick up the bag without using the shoulder strap.

The sticker inside the Vertical Messenger bag said to make this bag: 23 ,16 ounce PET Bottles were used, which saves 15,684 Btu or 4.6 KWh - enough energy to power a laptop for 184 hours!

Overall I loved the Act2GreenSmart Vertical Messenger Bag. It could easily double as a diaper bag or be used for carrying text books. The materials and colors give it a very hip and modern feel. And not only does it look cool while you wear it, but it is roomy, utilitarian and eco-friendly and durable. Very comfortable to wear. You can find Act2GreenSmart's Vertical Messenger Bag on Amazon.com

Kudos to Act2GreenSmart for taking the initiative to reform their company and create such cool useful products out of PET bottles (these bottles have a 1# stamped on the bottom - generally water & soda) which normally go to landfills and take up to 1000 years to decompose.

You can read further about Act2GreenSmart's president Tom's quest and his aspirations by checking out his blog.



7:53 PM, September 14, 2008 Reply  

I've been trying my best to go green over the last few years. I just wish things like solar energy was more accessible for home use. In the USA anyway, down in Mexico they're greening miles of houses and businesses.

12:07 AM, September 15, 2008 Reply  

They actually look better than I expected. But what happens when these bags turn to waste? Than you can fill a stadium to the rim with bags. I hope the focus will shift more to the 'Cradle to cradle' concept.

7:59 PM, September 15, 2008 Reply  

wow..congrats to u... lets try to use solar energy in our house...

3:11 AM, September 16, 2008 Reply  

This are nice item. My cousin already have the vertical messenger bag. And i find it nicer than the pictures.

2:51 AM, September 17, 2008 Reply  

The idea seems really good.. One can utilize the waste in this way. I will go for the green bag... :)

1:32 AM, September 20, 2008 Reply  

Bag is very usefull for my kind of people who always traveling from one city to another. You idea is very usefull for me. Thanks for that. I like blue bag it is really cool

8:44 AM, September 22, 2008 Reply  

I think bags are useful to every people. Thanks for sharing this post!

11:00 PM, September 23, 2008 Reply  

Yeah I really like the idea. I would go fof the green bag too!

11:14 AM, October 01, 2008 Reply  

The suggestion and idea is good...now-a-days people are recycling the waste the idea provide can help them...ill go for the green bag.

4:48 AM, October 23, 2008 Reply  

An interesting and good idea! This bags are $69,99 on Amazon now.

2:54 PM, June 22, 2009 Reply  

What a great idea! We need to minimize our impact on this planet and this goes a long way towards that cause.

11:36 AM, November 03, 2009 Reply  

REALLY GREAT NEWS!!! You can now not only heat and cool your home the clean,earth friendly , renewable , geothermal way-but also your POOL! This is information well worth looking into-Francis http://www.geothermalquestions.net

6:00 AM, March 03, 2010 Reply  

Excellent review and I am glad that you've made everyone aware about such companies. I have never imagined that such beautiful bags could be made from PET bottles...it's absolutely wonderful and yet another proof that if we only want, we can do anything! If Governments and Corporate world is ready to create policies and products eventually which are environmental-friendly, it would be way way better for themselves, for us and for our Earth.

2:35 PM, May 12, 2010 Reply  

And who says eco-friendly can't be cool. :) Awesome.

But besides that, I think there is a more important message here. We all have to do what we can, and that includes buying green when we can.

Besides doing what I can personally in order to recycle and be eco-friendly in most things I do, my company, Compare Skip Hire Ltd. will be offering a Reuse Exchange which will be a free service to the public, where people can exchange items for free. I am simply sick and tired of seeing people throwing away perfectly good things, instead of finding someone who will appreciate them for a few years more.

7:23 AM, August 04, 2011 Reply  

very interesting post - i never loved those pet bottles anyway, and some time ago i watched a documentary about all the plastic particles in the oceans - really horrible!

7:28 AM, October 12, 2011 Reply  

Even though I am just coming across this article now, it still has the same bearing in October 2011 as it did in August of 08. Now though, the market is absolutly flooded with "green" bags of all kinds, but it is still good to know where the roots of the green bag started their fruition.

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