Sustainability: NeoCon’s Growing Trend

The word “green” was the buzzword at NeoCon this year: You couldn’t make it down a hallway without hearing about how a product was earth-friendly and utilized sustainable materials. Throughout the showrooms and exhibit booths, claims of eco-friendliness rang out as we saw first-hand what companies are doing for the environment.

For example, paint firm Sherwin-Williams detailed its “Cover the Earth” effort, describing how its technical staff has developed coatings with waterborne and high-solids resins that are compliant to volatile organic compound (VOC) standards and less harmful to the earth than traditional solvent-based polymers. We were introduced to Expanko Cork Company, which uses recycled cork (one of the most environmentally sensitive materials available) to make truly elegant, durable wall and floor coverings. Then there was Izzy Design, whose Audrey Chair is 95% recyclable.

J&J/Invision showed its Second Nature line of fabrics, which is comprised of 50% recycled content; it also unveiled EnAct, an environmental action initiative in which the company continually works to reduce waste, reuse whatever possible, and recycle at every opportunity.

But most interesting of all, sustainability seemed to be moving beyond a fad to a factor integrated into product design and development. It’s a shift Metropolis encourages: After all, the magazine has long championed environmentally friendly companies, products, and practices. But now, with a portion of our web site—The Sustainable
Metropolis—dedicated to helping designers and consumers learn about ecological options, we can only hope that at next year’s NeoCon, the number of green businesses will grow even larger.

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