December 6, 2018 Inaugural Innovation Awards Focus on Sustainability
At Outdoor Retailer’s first Innovation Awards ceremony at Winter Market, many of the winners and finalists put the focus squarely on advancements in sustainability. From a waxless glide treatment that permanently eliminates the need to wax skis and snowboards to a shoe foam made of sugar, the primary purpose of at least half of the winning products was to make a more environmentally-friendly version of a piece of gear that has become indispensable as the outdoor industry has grown.
Eco-Friendlier Winning Products
DPS Phantom 2.0 Permanent Waxless Glide
Ski wax residue rubs off on the snow and enters water sources through runoff, which can be dangerous to wildlife and plants. Phantom presents a safer, permanent solution: the waxless formula needs to be applied only once, and permeates the base of the ski or board so that it can withstand the punishment of the terrain as well as stone grinding. and Phantom eliminates that environmental risk all together. The fluorocarbons in Phantom are inert, DPS says, so the treatment is safer for humans during the application project, as well. DPS is continuing to work on improving the formula and expects to share a new iteration of Phantom with retailers in early 2019.
Synthetic insulation is typically made from recycled or virgin PET, both of which tax the environment and can release plastic microfibers into waterways when washing. PrimaLoft’s new Bio insulation and fabric offer a unique solution: It’s made from 100 percent recycled plastic from bottles that is also mostly biodegradable. It sounds impossible. But PrimaLoft has figured out a way to make tiny plastic fibers more desirable to microorganisms, allowing it to degrade in the environment in a way we’ve not yet seen.
United By Blue Bison Puffer Jacket
United By Blue’s bison wool-insulated Bison Puffer Jacket takes what has traditionally been trash—bison wool fibers as a byproduct of the food industry—and turns it into an effective insulation. The jacket is filled with B100, which is half bison wool and a quarter each recycled polyester and low-melt poly. The waterproof shell is also made of part recycled poly.
GoLite ReGreen Windshell
By using recycled green plastic bottles (20 of them, to be exact), GoLite claims its ReGreen Windshell is green at literally every stage of the process. Because it’s more difficult to dye, green plastic bottles are more difficult to recycle, and often end up in landfills. By using the tinted bottles and declining to dye the fabric, GoLite keeps typically undesirable plastic out of landfills as well as reducing water consumption by up to 80 percent.
Crescent Moon EVA Foam Snowshoes
Unlike other snowshoes that use a hinged area to “flex” with the foot, Crescent Moon’s EVA Foam Snowshoes rely on a rocker-shaped platform to mimic a more natural gait. They’re made entirely of EVA foam and can be recycled at the end of their life through athletic shoe recycling programs.
Costa Untangled Collection Baffin Sunglasses
Fishing nets are among the most dangerous and prolific forms of plastic pollution in the ocean. In an attempt to mitigate the problem, frames in Costa’s Untangled line of sunglasses are made entirely from recycled fishing nets.
Allbirds claims its new SweetFoam, derived from sugar cane, is the world’s first carbon-negative EVA foam. Instead of using petroleum, it’s made with sugar cane sourced from Brazil where it naturally grows easily, and it’s processed in facilities run on renewable energy. Allbirds will make the SweetFoam formula open-source in hopes that other shoe manufacturers around the world will adopt the greener technology.