Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

Behind the Scenes at Grain Surfboards

Eco-conscious, locally sourced and community driven, Grain handbuilds wooden surfboards, skateboards, bodyboards and handboards in southern Maine. We met up with the Grain guys a few months ago to get their thoughts for our Expert Advice section – and in addition to their words of wisdom, we also came away a bunch of great photos of board-building action.  Here are a few of our favorite shots that didn’t make it to the website:

Mike and Brad (Grain's co-founders) with a couple of beautiful boards

Brad -after we asked him how many bugs he eats on his morning commute

Hookset Premiums, working hard

Nolan focusing on shaping the rail on a lucky someone’s Fish

Recycling wood shavings

You can learn more about Grain on their website.  To learn about how they’re working to be a sustainable business, check out our men’s site.

Follow Your Passion: Expert Advice from Grain Surfboards

Mike and Brad are the founders of Grain Surfboards – an eco-conscious, locally-sourced and community driven business located in southern Maine near the Atlantic Ocean (all the better for putting their boards to the test).

The guys of Grain

We caught up with them during a few quiet moments when they weren’t focused on waves or work to see what tips they have for other aspiring small and sustainable business owners:

Source local. Not only does it help your community and economy when you buy your materials locally, it cuts down on transportation emissions.  Grain uses cedar from a local mill for their boards.

Local wood makes for great boards

Hire local. Another great way to support your community is by hiring your (qualified) neighbors.  Some of Grain’s employees live so close by, they travel to work by bicycle (talk about a fun commute!).

Grain's employee parking lot

Use everything. Grain gives its wood shavings to farmers, who use it as bedding for animals.  What kind of waste are you throwing in the landfill that could have a useful second life?  (At Timberland, we’ve started using old fishing nets to make material for our jackets – who knew?)

Some lucky animal will be sleeping on these tomorrow

And finally: Follow your passion. Mike and Brad and their team are crazy about 2 things: surfing and treating the world right – and those passions shine through in every decision and surfboard they make.  If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, life’s not nearly as much fun.

To see what other tips Mike and Brad have, visit the Expert Advice section of our men’s website.  To see for yourself the beautiful boards they produce, go to

Fashion Fresh From the Sea

Maybe it’s a symptom of our Yankee frugality, but at Timberland we LOVE to recycle.  There’s something oddly thrilling about giving old stuff like plastic bottles and discarded tires a second life as recycled materials in our products.

And as we get more excited about recycling, we get a little crazy.  For example: Recycled coffee grounds in our S.Café® yarn (the grounds trap odors and absorb sweat — who knew?).  And when you’re designing a jacket and you need it to be waterproof and durable, why not start by thinking about other materials that are waterproof and durable?  Like, I dunno … fishing nets and ropes, salvaged from the ocean?

Introducing ReNet™ recycled nylon fabric:

Using ReNet™ in our products means less waste in the landfill (or worse – floating around in the ocean) — and wearing a jacket with ReNet™ in it gives YOU a whopper of a good story to tell on your next fishing trip.

Learn more about ReNet™ and the other recycled and renewable materials we use in our products in the Timberland Technology Guide.

Timberland Goes Antiquing

Call it a commitment to sustainability — or maybe just Yankee frugality — but at Timberland, we try to repurpose old materials whenever we can, rather than buying or creating new ones. One of the best ways we can do this is to incorporate repurposed and reclaimed materials in the design of our retail stores.

While giving new life to old things is environmentally rewarding (less waste going into a landfill), it’s also a lot of fun!  See for yourself what it was like when we went trolling for treasures at the legendary Brimfield Antique Show:

Put your own repurposing skills to work by visiting an antiques show like Brimfield (which opens today) to see what precious pieces await you.  To learn more about the materials and methods we use to design our stores in more sustainable ways, visit the sustainable store design section of our website.

It’s Green Gift Monday! Gift Responsibly

Warm up your fingertips, it’s Cyber Monday — the biggest online shopping day of the year.  But it’s also Green Gift Monday — a campaign launched last year by our friends at the Nature Conservancy to encourage more meaningful and responsible holiday gift giving.  And  when it comes to giving — isn’t ‘meaningful’ the point anyway?

Consider these gift ideas from the Nature Conservancy:

DIY.  You don’t have to be a professional glue-gunner to make your own gifts.  A wreath made of recycled (read: too ugly to warrant closet space) neckties, a batch of homemade applesauce or soup can luminaries are thoughtful, personal and eco-awesome.

Charitable gifts.  Your mother is impossible to buy for?  So don’t.  Instead, make a donation to a nonprofit (preferably one that’s near and dear to her) in her name.

Green goods.  Surely there’s a kid on your list who would love a skateboard made from sustainable bamboo or colorful cloth dolls made from organic or reclaimed fabrics.  And for the outdoor enthusiast,  may we humbly suggest a new jacket or pair of boots — using environmentally-preferred materials — from our Earthkeepers Collection?

For more gift-giving inspiration and ideas on how to green your holidays in other ways, visit the Green Gift Monday website.  You can also join the 1200+ who have already pledged to give green this holiday season by clicking the box below or going here.

Celebrating the ‘Second Life’ of Products in Poland

Wojtek Skulski is a Timberland partner in Poland who shared this story of the Young Talents Committed, an annual competition which honors young artists and their creative work:

Timberland was pleased to sponsor the annual Young Talents Committed competition in Poland this year, partnering with the Foundation for Social Communication.  The competition invited young people (both artists and amateurs) to submit their most interesting advertising concept around the theme of “the Second Life of Product.”  Competitors were free to make a short video or poster targeted at young people (16-35) which highlighted the need for responsible production and consumption of consumer goods.

Winning entries were determined by a jury which included many well known activists from Polish environmental organizations, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Environment of the Polish government.

The most interesting and creative works will be presented during the Gala Competition for Social Campaign of the Year, and we’re pleased to share some of them here:

1st place: Michal Tadeusz Golanski, “Pass It On”

2nd place: Grzegorz Layer, “The Second Life of the Product”

3rd place: Robert Swarczynski, “Do It Yourself”

The Green Scene at Sundance

During the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, I cruised around Park City — easily one of the coolest, most star-studded ski towns I’ve ever been to. Where else can I almost brush shoulders America Ferrera? (I say almost because I didn’t know it was her until a colleague told me so. I guess a future as a member of the paparazzi is out of the question).

When I wasn’t on celebrity alert and scrutinizing every sunglass-wearing person I passed on the street, I couldn’t help but notice all of the festival’s eco-undertones. Around every corner were subtle and easy ways to lighten your festival footprint. I present to you a little Sundance green scene show-and-tell:

What does Sundance do with last year’s festival banners? Repurpose them into script bags, of course! Fellow Bootmakers Blogger Adriana is modeling one (right). I even saw someone purchasing a bag with an old Timberland banner as one of the panels.

Giveaways at Sundance are great, but eco-conscious ones are even better! The Timberland team happily handed out 85% recycled cotton totes.

Timberland recycling bins were on the scene around Park City reminding nature’s heroes to help protect the outdoors.

As an employee of the brand that banned the bottle, I was thrilled to see that Brita was encouraging Sundance goers to do the same. Getting your hands on one of their reusable water bottles was as easy as making a pledge to reduce bottled water waste. Sign me up!

Is Park City serious about recycling? I think the answer is as clear as a bluebird powder day:

And if you were thirsty and hadn’t made it to the Brita tent yet to pick up a free reusable water bottle, drinking from these 100% compostable cups made from corn was the next best thing!

Earthkeeping at Ivanete Palla

The following story comes from Carlos Roberto Giacomozzi, one of our code of conduct assessors in Brazil.  Here, he reports on the environmental efforts being made by workers at Ivanete Palla, one of our contract factories:

Ivanete Palla is a small-sized shoe factory located in a very small town settled in the South region of Brazil. The name of the town is Sao Jorge (Saint Jorge) and it has a population of only 2774 inhabitants (1451 living in the urban area and 1323 living in the rural area) and the economy of the town is mostly based on the agriculture sector.

Currently, the factory employs around 80 workers in its 2 units but there was a time in the past when it employed over 120 workers, which means that the factory has a significant impact in the lives of the people and in the economy of the town.

In order to get to that town and visit this factory, I have to take a flight to the city of Porto Alegre (the state’s Capital) and then rent a car and drive for about 3.5 hours. The drive includes approximately 17 miles of dirt road with amazing scenery of beautiful small farms and green vegetation and pastures.

Although the town is very small and located in the rural area of the country, it is not shielded from the pollution caused by the lack of self-consciousness of the population. Brazil is a country that was blessed with lots of water that flows out from water springs from everywhere, forming creeks, rivers, etc. And what should be a good thing very often turns out to be a huge problem for the population, given that many places in the country suffer with flooding after heavy rains which hit many people’s homes.

However, the heavy rains are not the only cause of the flooding. One of the things that contributes to these natural disasters is the heavy load of all kind of materials illegally wasted into the water streams by human actions. Such materials include plastic bottles, plastic bags, tires, clothing, etc.; that contributes to the swollen streams during heavy rains by obstructing the natural course of water, resulting in the flooding of the cities.

In order to prevent the flooding caused by the human activities in their city/region, the workers at Ivanete Palla are doing voluntary work cleaning up the banks and surrounding areas of a creek located in the back of the factory, which is called “Sanguinha creek.” The workers collect the trash materials disposed of into the creek by human actions and then send those materials to be recycled or properly disposed of by the local municipality. The voluntary work done at that stream by the workers at Ivanete Palla is very important and it will certainly have a significant impact in the prevention of flooding in that city and in the surrounding region as well.

Coffee Cup Confessions

I have a confession to make.  I became a coffee drinker a few years ago, after my kids were born and I couldn’t string together full sentences after a short night.  Coffee quickly became a necessity in an attempt to reverse the blinding affects of full time work and new parenthood.  Despite the fact that I spend my professional time carefully telling the story of a company committed to environmental stewardship, I couldn’t make a simple transition in my personal life: I was using a paper coffee cup almost every morning.

Now, there are practical reasons, of course.  I needed the coffee on the way in to the building (because I was a harried mess having just dropped off the kids and probably wasn’t early for anything) so couldn’t go to my office for the ceramic cup (a drawer full of them!).  And the Gorge (Timberland’s outdoorsy-named company cafeteria) provided a reusable mug, but it was smaller than the paper cup – and lacked a top.  I did try.  On several occasions I’d announce, “This is the day I’m going green, all the way”!  (Lest you think me a complete slacker, I recycle everything, use organic lawn care, am a member of a CSA, etc.).  But I’d have a shot of coffee left by the time I made it up the stairs to my office, clearly undermining the purpose of getting the caffeine in the first place.  Never mind that I’d use 10 paper napkins to clean up my spills along the way….

I’ve tried the traditional travel mug – the one that always seems to smell like old coffee and has that plastic flip top thing that always drips or drops on my nose.  And, I’m not actually traveling anywhere so I don’t need it to be so …  well … durable and plastic feeling.

I’ve intentionally left this daily paper cup outside of meeting rooms if I knew I’d be in the company of one of our more vocal environmental champions (our CEO banned bottled water here, so picture how he’d react if he saw the paper cup covered with that paper sleeve that keeps your hand from burning; he’s a madman and he probably signs my checks!).  So clearly, I understand I’m making a bad choice … but I keep on doing it anyway.

What is it about human beings that allows us to continue to do something we feel guilty about?  In this case, could it be as simple as I didn’t like the way the other cups looked or felt?  I’m lazy?

It seemed a no-win — until now.  I’m in love.  I was in Walgreen’s looking for holiday decorations when I came across a ceramic cup with a rubber lid.  It looks just like its paper peers!  It’s got some heft to it, is dishwasher safe, and isn’t so big that it looks like one of those Big Gulp things from 7-Eleven or a child’s sippy cup.  It’s possible that I’m arriving late to this game and everyone has already discovered this amazing invention, but I’m not shopping for holiday garland that often, so it’s new to me.  Did I mention that it was less than $10?

Bottom line, I guess, is that most people are doing the best they can – little by little.  We make baby steps every day and I don’t think we should feel guilty for that (but I know I should have gotten to this cup thing much sooner).  We should feel good about the changes we do make, and some of them are darn big.  Imagine if someone reads this and stops using a paper cup every day.  If you’re that person, let me know and I’ll buy you one of these great cups.

More confessions coming soon….

Timberland Helps Local Scouts Spring Into Action

On Thursday July 15, Timberland had the privilege of hosting 43 Cub Scouts from the Daniel Webster Council for an afternoon of educational dialogue and arts and crafts. To the Cub Scouts’ surprise and joy, at the end of the day, they were awarded the “Spring into Action” patch:

“Doing well and doing good” was the focus of the opening conversation. It was discussed how we at Timberland believe in the power of people to transform their communities and make a difference in the world – that we ALL have an opportunity to make it better.  It was illustrated how Timberland does just that – from the 40 hours of paid community service per year each employee is encouraged to utilize, to making shoe components from recycled tires and water bottles – which was a jaw-dropping fact, I assure you.  We spoke of silver-rated tanneries and solar and wind powered factories.  We spoke of LED light bulbs and carbon footprints.

The Scouts were asked to think about how this “doing well and doing good” platform translates to their lives.  That the Earth is in need of our help – and every little bit we can do makes a difference. That we all need to be Earthkeepers.

The Scouts also played “TIMBO” – Timberland’s version of Bingo.  Board squares consisted of items that could be recycled.  Prizes were given to the first couple of Scouts with TIMBO – but also rewarded to the child that could guess what all the words had in common.  We also all learned what an aseptic is (the airtight container that is used for sterilized packaging so that freshness is preserved – like with milk or juice – and it’s recyclable).

The next order of business focused on the importance of wildlife conservation.  The Scouts painted birdhouses, and were provided bags of birdseed to fill them with. As some of the Picassos were still finishing up their birdhouses, other Scouts started working on the next project – pet rocks.  The focus here was that there are fun ways to repurpose nature – even something as simple as a rock is transformed when two eyes are applied.

Lastly, we made God’s-Eyes.  The relevance here was a nostalgic one.   Not to date myself…but don’t we all remember making these when we were a child?  Life wasn’t so complicated back then – heck, email didn’t even exist!  The point was that they are just as much fun to make today as they were back then.   The Scouts were amazed that it was so easy to make something so beautiful.  (An added bonus — anyone who knows 29 year Timberland veteran George Belanger would have paid money to see him making one.)

After a little snack, we circled up and awarded the Cub Scouts their “Spring Into Action” patches.  I thought it quite fitting that there were lug prints on the patch – to remind the Scouts of their time at Timberland – and to reinforce that we all need to do our part and be the best Earthkeepers we can be.

Timberland volunteers will long remember this day, and we are all thankful that the company has enabled us to have events such as this.  It was all about the kids on Thursday, but planting the seed of environmental consciousness with today’s youth was personally a very rewarding experience, and I believe a very sound investment.

Kati Lynes
Timberland Sales Planning Manager