Inline skates are often overlooked in discussions about green forms of transportation, but K2 skates wants to bring rollerblading to the forefront with its new Eco skate. The skate uses everyone’s favorite super-strong sustainable material–bamboo–as a wheel frame, along with boots and laces built from recycled PET bottles. Even the skate’s packaging, constructed from recycled cardboard with logos fashioned from soya-based ink, was designed thoughtfully.
The end result is a sleek-looking product that is more eco-friendly than most inline skates, which use generous amounts of new plastic and metal. But the Eco skate still has a ways to go. K2 doesn’t yet have a take-back scheme in place for old skates, and the skates are manufactured in China–a destination that is probably far from most of K2’s customers. And while bamboo grows quickly without the use of pesticides or significant amounts of water, it is at risk of over-harvesting because of all the newly-expressed interest from companies like K2.
Still, K2 deserves kudos for putting the spotlight on an often-overlooked way to get around. And just because K2 doesn’t yet take back old skates, that doesn’t mean they need to head to the garbage. Old wheels can be used on luggage, metal parts can be recycled normally, plastic parts can be taken to a recycling facility, and Nike stores will take back uppers for shredding.