Tag Archives: clmbing

REI pursuing sustainability – getting rid of the polybags

When thinking about the sustainability of REI’s operations, the complexity of the task quickly becomes apparent. Where does a person start?

Our annual stewardship report details one such area: our efforts to reduce REI’s waste-to-landfill.

We conducted a retail waste audit to better understand the details. To paint a picture, imagine this: Our teams literally went “dumpster diving” to get a real behind-the-scenes look at our trash.

We confirmed what our retail employees had long assumed—plastic garment bags (also called polybags) were a major issue.

A long-time retail industry standard—or, “the way it was always done”—has been to protect clothing in plastic bags during transport to stores. For example, a seemingly inexpensive bag that held a $100 sweater was removed and discarded when it reached our shelves for customers.

That’s where we parted ways with our standard practice.

While we started to reduce the number of bags for REI-brand products, that was only a small part of the challenge. Considering other brand products make up about 80% of what the co-op sells, we needed partners to make a big difference.

One great brand we work with is prAna, the California-based climbing and yoga apparel company. It turns out that people at prAna had been asking themselves the same question.

 

 

Read the full storyPursuing Sustainability at REI: Eliminating What Shoppers Don’t See Delivers a Big Win

The high-tech gear for climbing Mount Everest

In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach Mount Everest’s summit. According to National Geographic “the expedition had climbers carrying loads approaching 44 pounds apiece. Today, ultralight gear cuts significant weight from a climber’s load—often half the weight, or less, of Hillary’s pack load.”

Here are the high-tech pieces that Hilaree O’Neill, a 39-year old ski-mountaineer, will carry as she treks up the same path as Hillary and Norgay did 59 years ago.

  • The North Face - Prophet 52 Backpack
  • Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet
  • Black Diamond Raven Ultra Ice Axe
  • Smith Optics’ I/O Interchangeable Polarized Goggles

 

  • Scarpa’s Phantom 8000 boots
  • Black Diamond’s Sabretooth crampons
  • Tiny handheld radios & cellphone
  • Apple iPad

 

The article also goes on to compares today’s technology to what Edmund Hillary used.

The ice axe:

1953: Made by Claudius Simond in Chamonix, France, Hillary’s ice axe was constructed of forged steel with a European ash wood handle.

2012: Weighing just 12 ounces, the Black Diamond Raven Ultra Ice Axe (above) has a hollow aluminum shaft and a stainless steel head. It measures 20 inches in hand—about a foot shorter than Hillary’s.

 

See all the gear and comparisons and learn more about National Geographic’s hike of Mount Everest.