Material World September-October 2009

Material World September-October 2009

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy premium gourmet coffee while supporting fair trade, biodiversity, bird habitat, organic agriculture, and indigenous rights? Higher Grounds Trading Company is all about working that cup of joe, even at the expense of the bottom line. Whether it’s to benefit the farmers or the birds, Higher Grounds is dedicated to putting lives and livelihoods above profits — and to making the world a better place, one cup of coffee at a time. (

Cottage in a Day is a new home project using connected, structural insulated panels that reduce air infiltration and eliminate wall cavities (and therefore, mold.) The basic cottage unit is 14-by-14 feet and can be expanded infinitely with additional modules. Everything, inside and out, is handcrafted, from the recycled steel roof and window trim to the kitchen cabinets. While the home takes several months to construct, it can be set on your site in a single day. Whether it’s used as a vacation spot, studio, guesthouse, or retirement home, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. (

Want to paint your nails without polluting, poisoning, or passing out from the fumes? Piggy Paint was invented by Melanie Hurley, who was alarmed one day when a gob of her daughter’s solvent-based nail polish dissolved a foam plate in front of her eyes. Surely, that couldn’t be good! Hurley’s Piggy Paints are water-based and nontoxic; they contain no formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate, or acetone — standard nail polish ingredients. While “designed especially for your little girl,” grown-ups also will love the great colors! (

Hot dates can be daunting, especially if they involve expensive restaurant excursions. Chef Michael Buechi invites lovers to ignite their passion at home with his line of Curry Love sauces. Made fresh in the United States with certified organic ingredients, the sauces come in three varieties to pair with meat, seafood, or tofu. There’s also a beautifully packaged gift box (biodegradable/recyclable), perfect for housewarmings and host(ess) gifts — a thank-you of sizzling proportions. (

Any day now your plastic water bottle will raise as many eyebrows as a cigarette. Break your addiction and stop growing that landfill sooner rather than later with an eco-friendly, reusable SIGG container. These lightweight yet durable bottles have baked-in liners, which makes them resistant to pitting from the acids in juice and sports drinks, as well as to bacteria build-up or lingering scents. SIGG began in Switzerland 100 years ago; their distinctive bottle design was selected in 1993 to join the collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. With 100 bottle designs created by 30 artists worldwide, there’s something for everyone — even babies. And while SIGG bottles have very long lives, they won’t contribute to the end of the world as we know it. (

Enjoying this content?

Get this article and many more delivered straight to your inbox weekly.