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Green Products Expo 2009: Our Fantastic Four

Walking into yesterday’s Green Products Expo was akin to watching an episode of “Lost”: You know everything’s supposed to serve a higher purpose, but when you’re initially exposed, a lot of it just seems…awesomely weird. There were dinner plates made from fallen leaves; pillows made from plastic bottles; and even seed-lined drink coasters that, if dropped in a backyard, would blossom into marigolds.

Green Products Expo 2009: Our Fantastic Four

Walking into yesterday’s Green Products Expo was akin to watching an episode of “Lost”: You know everything’s supposed to serve a higher purpose, but when you’re initially exposed, a lot of it just seems…awesomely weird. There were dinner plates made from fallen leaves; pillows made from plastic bottles; and even seed-lined drink coasters that, if dropped in a backyard, would blossom into marigolds.

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But after spending three hours chatting with the 70-plus exhibitors – and scoring some pretty sweet sustainable SWAG–my skepticism dissolved, much like a Flush Puppies soluable doodie bag ($3.99 per pouch). By the time I left, I’d assembled a laundry list of impressive innovations. Below are the highlights:

FountainJet black-grey


SodaStream soda-maker
In just 30 seconds, SodaStream’s home soda-makers ($79+) and accompanying flavor syrups ($5 each) can turn tap water into carbonated beverages that rival Coke and Sprite. (I sampled the lemon-lime blend–it was surprisingly flavorful.) That’s good news for Mother Earth, since the average American guzzles roughly 600 cans or bottles of soda and sparkling water each year.

360_KeyArt


360 Vodka
Absolut might be re-imagining the world, but 360 Vodka ($22-$24) is trying to save it. The green-hued bottles are made from 85% recycled glass; the labels are made from 100% recycled paper; and the swing-top closure comes with a pre-paid envelope, so drinkers can return it for re-use–and, in the process, earn $1 for a local environmental organization. Bonus: Each 12-bottle order is shipped in–what else—a bright blue recycling bin.

KIWI_-3


JuicedHybrid Kiwi
Plug the JuicedHybrid Kiwi ($289) into your car’s on-board diagnostic port, and it’ll average your drag, acceleration, and deceleration patterns into a real-time “Kiwi score,” which gauges fuel efficiency: The higher the number, the better you’re driving. As your handling skills (presumably) improve, Kiwi tracks your progress, and tells you–in dollars–how much gas money you’re saving.

AusPen dry-erase markers
AusPen dry-erase pens are both recyclable and refillable: Simply screw off the cap, pour in some replacement ink, and you’re good to go. And just in case your child wants greener school supplies, AusPen products are non-toxic. “You’d probably be okay if you took a few swigs from the refill bottle,” joked a rep. “But I wouldn’t recommend it.”