An Eco-Friendly 10
Seo admires Yvon Chouinard, the founder of PATAGONIA, who built his Santa Barbara house completely out of recycled materials. The kitchen walls are made from crushed concrete sidewalks, the floors from old roofing slate.
Seo predicts that more businesses will find ways to recycle as innovatively as Stonyfield Farm: The company asks consumers to send yogurt containers to RECYCLINE, which turns them into toothbrushes ($4; 888-354-7296).
One Christmas, Seo's brother gave him a TIFANNY & CO., miniature sterling silver Swiss Army Knife. Seo always carries it in his pocket and uses the scissors to snip fresh herbs ($125; 800-526-0649).
The Swedish company ASKO may not be a household name, Seo says, but its dishwasher makes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of energy-efficient appliances. It uses less water than other brands do and it saves energy by heating what it needs instead of drawing on the house's hot water tank ($700 to $1,300; 800-367-2444).
Seo loves the biodegradable dishwashing detergent made by ECOVER. "It has a great lemon scent, suds up well and does a squeaky clean job" ($4; 800-449-4925). Sometimes he adds a drop of AVEDA Lavender Singular Note Oil to the water for a soothing aroma as he scrubs ($11; 800-328-0849).
Seo uses only cellulose sponges, like those from GAIAM, because they are biodegradable. He microwaves dry cellulose sponges for 30 seconds to kill bacteria; wet ones need a minute ($11 for a set of 10; 800-869-3446).
Wood floors are bad for the environment, Seo says. But planks from ECOTIMBER are made of bamboo, which is a grass and can be harvested every four years; trees, on the other hand, have to be replanted ($5 a square foot; 510-549-3000). Teak flooring from SMITH & HAWKEN is made from farmed trees, not cut from forests ($230 for four 18-inch-square pieces; 800-776-3336).
Seo is working with GREENGLASS, a recycling company, to design beautiful drinking glasses made from old wine bottles ($24 for a set of four; 715-355-1897).