Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ecopreneur Highlight: Reiter8

Occasionally, we divert our focus from the big brands and big issues in sustainability to highlight great new business ideas. Our friends at OZOlab are reinventing the way we enjoy drinking water. An ecopreneur on Nantucket has made the disposable world of fashion, sustainable. And in the hopelessly hip area of Brooklyn's Red Hook, with its views of the New York Harbor and Statue of Liberty, an eco-business it turning old boat sails into new use.

Katherine Rasmussen is a Pratt Institute graduate with the vision to turn old, discarded sails into high-quality bags, pillows and the like. If you are not a sailer: the materials that go into these wind catchers are amazing. High-tech fibers, sometimes with the same DuPont Kevlar that goes into bullet-proof vests, make sails usable for decades. And last forever in a landfill. Check out what Katherine does to give them new life.

But what makes this a true eco-business is not just the reuse of materials, but the high design that comes from it. To really change the way business is run, sustainable products and services must be better in every way.

I'm now the owner of a custom messenger bag from Reiter8, which comes with its own story of high seas, daring tacks and beautiful sunsets with warm breezes. They all do. If you use your imagination.

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