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8 New Green Products You'll Love (We Did)

Satisfy your sweet tooth, or make water from air, with these new green products.

April 14, 2011

Get rid of the idea that "eco-friendly living" means sitting in the dark in a home made of mud. These new green products actually make your life more enjoyable and may even save you some cash in the meantime. We've got cookware that lets you cook lasagna on your stove (forget heating up your house on a hot day with your oven) and can create drinking water from humid air. Not your thing? Think coconut ice cream and cool eco-yoga mats.

Here are some of the best new green products uncovered at a recent Green Products Expo:

#1: Eco yoga mats. Traditional yoga mats are made with PVC, a toxic plastic that emits VOCs and contains hormone-disrupting phtalates. But Jade Yoga has been making its yoga mats with natural rubber, from trees in Indonesia, since 2002. Last year, the company's healthy mats even made an appearance at the White House Easter Egg Roll to help kids get excited about exercise. This year's expanded line includes blocks made from well-managed balsa trees, as well as organic-cotton yoga towels. (Mats $49.95–$109.95, depending on size; Blocks $19.95; Towels $34.95)

Shatterproof glass water bottles

Energy-efficient, no-water, no-oil cookware

Water from air

Organic coconut ice cream

Green teas

Healthy personal care from down under

Ed Begley Jr.

#2: Shatterproof glass water bottles. Like the idea of using a glass water bottle but don't like the potential for breakage? The Pure Glass Bottle ($19.95) has a protective shatter-resistant coating that prevents it from breaking upon impact (we gave it a couple whacks with a metal wrench the company's owner had on hand, and it hurt our ears more than the bottle itself). If you do drop the bottle in such a way that it shatters, the coating keeps all the glass shards contained so as not to hurt anyone. The 18-ounce slimmer bottle even unscrews in two places: at the widest part of the top so you can add ice, lemon wedges, or other fresh fruit, and again at the bottle top so you can drink from it like a regular water bottle.
#3: Energy-efficient, no-water, no-oil cookware. When it comes to healthy cookware, your best bets are glass, ceramic, cast iron, and stainless steel. Fortunately, all those materials are also energy efficient, allowing you to lower the temperature of your stovetop or oven and let the heat in the cookware itself do some of the cooking. 360 Cookware, made from stainless steel, has the added benefit of being designed so you don't need to use oil or water to cook your food.

The pots are "all clad," meaning that the sides and bottom are layers of aluminum and iron sandwiched between stainless steel plates to provide optimum heat retention. And as you can see in the photo, the lid sits on a lip designed to form an airtight seal that lets you steam your food, even hard-boil an egg, using absolutely no added water or oil! According to the company spokesperson, you never need to turn your stove burners higher than medium to cook with the pots. For pricing info and video demos, including how to use the pots to make stovetop lasagna:
#4: Water from air. Easily the coolest gadget at the show, the Air2Water Revolution coolers are designed to literally pull drinking water out of your home's indoor air. While the technical details of how they work are proprietary, the company's owner explained that once the water is pulled from the air, it's run through three different types of filters, sanitized by a UV light, then stored in a stainless steel (not plastic) tank until you need it. Depending on the temperature and humidity in your home, they'll produce up to seven gallons of drinking water per day.

Designed by an entrepreneur from Puerto Rico, the machines work best in warmer, more humid climates, but they also connect to a tap-water supply source if your humidity is seasonal. Such slick gadgetry doesn't come cheap. The model pictured here runs $1,495, but if you have an indoor humidity problem (which can be a problem in tightly sealed, energy-efficient homes), it's a great way to cut down on mold growth and get healthy, clean drinking water.
#5: Organic coconut ice cream. Just in time for summer, we learned about Luna & Larry's Organic Coconut Bliss ice cream. Aside from the fact that they taste fantastic, the frozen confections are certified organic, are certified by the Non-GMO Project, and use Fair Trade–Certified vanilla, chocolate, and coffee.

And because the ice cream is made from coconut milk, it contains all the heart- and immune-protective properties found in coconut fats and oils (but it still has a lot of sugar, so keep that in mind before you down the whole pint, tempting as that may be…) and is a good dairy-free alternative for people who are lactose-intolerant. Try one of their four new flavors: Ginger Cookie Caramel, Chocolate Walnut Brownie, Mocha Maca Crunch, and Lunaberry Swirl. Their ice cream is sold in Whole Foods and other natural food stores.
#6: Green teas. We already love their organic coffee and Organic Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt bars, and now the brewers at Equal Exchange are debuting a new line of teas sourced from small-farmer co-ops in India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and even here in the U.S.

Like coffee plantations, tea plantations are often huge operations worked by farmers who don't receive fair wages or have much say in the way things work. Support the company's efforts to support small farmers, while also boosting your health in umpteen-dozen ways ($4.50/box).
#7: Healthy personal care from down under. The scent alone was enough of a draw to this table, stocked with a line of personal care products based almost entirely on natural oils, beeswax, and shea butter. Unlike a lot of body lotions that are thinned out with water and other emulsifiers to make them absorb more easily, the Australian Scent line uses concentrated oils like jojoba and olive oil, and healthier ingredients, such as fair trade shea and cocoa butters—many of them organic—to keep your skin and hair healthy.

The line runs the gamut from olive oil soaps and hair pomades to pet shampoos and DEET-free flea and mosquito repellents. But the most popular product is Balm of Gilead, a face and body moisturizer made from almond and safflower oils, beeswax, and shea butter ($36). All Australian Scent products are sold online.

#8: Ed Begley Jr. Attending the expo on behalf of A.O. Smith, a corporation that manufactures energy-efficient water heaters, Ed Begley Jr. chatted with us for a few minutes about why he eats organic food and what he thinks everyone should do if they're trying to go green. "I'm a healthy man at 61. I've had a very good life, and I expect that to continue," he said. "Organic living is the way to go. I feel healthy." And if none of the products mentioned in this article are compelling enough to go green, that's ok, too. "Walk, ride a bike, take public transportation—that's the best thing you can do for the environment, and for yourself."

Tags: Rodale News
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