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(Published: 2007-03-16)

St. Patrick’s day is upon us, and Americans will be spending millions of dollars on everything green, from T-shirts to party hats to beer. I have another thought about how to spend your green on green this year.

You’ve probably heard that “green is the new black.” Green, as in the environment, has indeed gone mainstream. More hip than hippie, green living is fast becoming a preferred lifestyle option for everyone. From clothing to pet food, from Detroit to Bentonville, everyone, it seems, is finally jumping on the eco-bandwagon. Given our current situation (please watch “An Inconvenient Truth”), it’s none too soon.

Automotive companies are scrambling to produce more hybrid cars and farmers are planting acres of corn to make more ethanol. Benjamin Moore is out with Aura, a new line of eco-friendly paint, and Target, in partnership with Method, just announced the oMop. It’s an environmentally friendly mop with a reusable pad made from corn that offers an alternative to single-use disposable products such as Swiffer. Wal-Mart is launching an online database to help suppliers meet goals for cutting packaging waste by 2008 and GE Chairman Jeff Immelt says that the Ecomagination product line is paying off handsomely for their investors and customers. GE plans to reach $20 billion in annual sales of Ecomagination products by 2010.

The green movement is no longer the domain of the brown rice and Birkenstock brigade. Eco-friendly has become the epitome of cool. Everyone, it seems, is now making some effort to do his or her part. But while we may all be well intentioned, it’s not always realistic or practical to expect every decision we make can be 100% for the environment.

That’s why the term “lite green” emerged. The idea behind “lite green” is that while we may desire to “go green,” real life sometimes forces us to make compromises. We all probably know someone that is fanatical about recycling, but thinks nothing about driving a gas guzzling SUV. Yes, it’s contradictory, but when it comes to taking care of the environment, every little bit helps. “Lite green” is about making a positive choice for the environment, whenever you can.

That’s why I was so excited to discover a new appliance that makes recycling simple and rewarding. Up to now, the way most of us recycle is generally ad hoc. Whether it’s a bag under the sink or a bin in the garage, it’s a process that tends to be messy, inconvenient, and inefficient. Thanks to the Ecopod, recyclying has never been so easy, or so chic. Designed in partnership with BMW DesignWorks USA, the Ecopod is a classy looking trashcan that gives new meaning to eco chic. At home in the kitchen, pantry, or laundry room, it provides a recycling option that is simple, aesthetically pleasing, and financially rewarding.

Priced at around $328 and available exclusively at Williams and Sonoma, it’s a great example of what I call a “luxurious commodity.” The award winning design is elegant and functional. The Ecopod crushes plastic and aluminum beverage containers (up to 24 fl. Oz.) and stores them in a plastic pod that slides out for easy transfer to the curbside recycling bin. You simply place aluminum cans and plastic bottles into the top and step on the pedal to activate the compaction system. You can store 50 or more containers in the pod, and there’s a separate compartment for glass and other recyclables inside the top bin.

So, consider “going green” this St. Patrick’s Day in a different, more rewarding way. Lighten up your act and recycle in style, with an Ecopod.

To learn more about Ecopod, visit

An Inconvenient Truth

The Ecopod

Robyn Waters is president and founder of RW Trend, LLC. She is the author of The Trendmaster’s Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next, and The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape. Learn more about Robyn at All Rights Reserved.

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