Plastics Make it Possible® traveled to Salt Lake City to attend the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, an annual exhibition that gathers thousands of outdoorsy companies to show off their innovative gear and clothing, from boats to boots to board shorts.
So what stood out? The widespread use of plastics to improve performance and sustainability. Here are some of the cool things we saw …
Sazzi sport sandals are made with foam plastics sourced from post-consumer and post-manufacturing waste. The soft but durable plastics are water-resistant and provide cushioning and support—so these sandals are well-suited for rough terrain.
Aire makes inflatable rafts, catarafts, and kayaks wrapped in PVC plastic fabric for durability, light weight, and water-resistance. According to the manufacturer, the plastic makes for a stiff, responsive boat that won't bend in rough rapids.
SurfTech boards use a variety of plastics—such as EVA foam plastic, carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, and epoxy—for durability, shock absorption, and weight minimization.
Scott makes sports equipment and clothing from a variety of high-performance plastics, such as polyester and nylon. The plastic fabrics create durable, water-resistant garments that help wick away moisture from the skin.
Sea Eagle makes durable, inflatable boats and other vessels with PVC plastic—when deflated, they fit in the trunk of your car. This small sailboat also has an onboard motor powered by solar cells mounted on a flexible plastic sheet.
Made with durable HDPE plastic, Spooner Boards allow you to "surf" on dirt, grass, snow, carpeting—just about any surface. The tough, lightweight boards are popular in school physical education programs, and the company guarantees them for life.
Rethink closes the recycling loop by turning used water and soda bottles into soft yet durable fabric for clothing. The bottles are melted down and spun into yarn that is then woven into this versatile fabric.
This small tag on the sleeve of a Rethink T-shirt says big things about sustainability: it indicates that 10 recycled plastic bottles were used to make the garment.
Swedish kayak manufacturer 65° North makes high-performance kayaks with durable, lightweight plastic composites.
Plastics such as polyurethane, ABS, and polystyrene reduce weight and increase durability in Smith's collection of high-performance goggles, glasses, and helmets. Smith also uses reclaimed plastics, contributing to sustainability