Getting in (recycled) gear for the outdoors


Climbing, hiking, biking, camping, scuba diving, surfing, fishing, kayaking — enjoying environmental recreation to the fullest often means there’s a lot of gear that goes with it.

And it’s the kind of gear that can wind up in landfills or incinerators when it’s made of stuff that isn’t biodegradable, or is a challenge to recycle.

So when outdoor enthusiasts get serious about recycling, that’s good, of course. But when they’re also entrepreneurs who turn normally unrecyclable gear into things more outdoor enthusiasts can use — well, that’s a good that keeps on getting better.

Here are two local companies recycling and manufacturing within Boulder County, with products available through area stores and online.

Green Guru Gear Boulder-based Ecologic Designs was founded in 2005 by President/ CEO Davidson Lewis, an industrial designer and avid bicyclist who says he’s been considering recycling challenges and their impact on the environment for a long time.

“Since I was a teenager working in a bike shop,” Lewis says. “Just kept thinking there had to be something that could be done with all those busted bicycle tubes.”

That kind of thinking inspired a company that today has a number of reclamation programs to convert notoriously hard-to-recycle items.

For instance, the discarded inner tubes from bikes, tractors and trucks are turned into their line of Green Guru messenger bags, wallets, cell phone holsters, dog collars and more items that not only look great but last darn near forever.

If you’ve ever wondered if neoprene wetsuits can be recycled, the answer is yes, as can discarded synthetic climbing rope, highway billboards and banners made from vinyl — all converted into more kinds of colorful and handy bags, bracelets, and other accessories.

And if your company has a bunch of things it used — or is considering using — for a convention, sales promotion or entertainment event, Ecologic Designs can help make sure those items don’t wind up trashing the environment, too. 303-258-1611


Avid mountain backpackers and wedded partners Demetri and Kim Coupounas were frustrated with the kind of equipment and clothing on the market, which they considered way too much for comfortable efficiency.

They founded the Boulder company GoLite in 1988 with a focus on light, fast, durable products made of recycled materials, such as backpacks with 100 percent recycled Tier 1 nylon.

GoLite also makes tents, travel wear, performance apparel and “Sleep Systems,” sleeping bags designed to not weigh folks down on the trail. Other items double in purpose, such as rain ponchos that can be used as tarps. All are made out of recycled or “environmentally preferred” materials.

There is advice on the website to help customers make the best of their purchases. Buyers can also ship old GoLite purchases to the company’s “Give Back” program, to be donated or recycled for some new purpose. 888-546-5483

Know of a Boulder County business or organization that’s making a difference in something environmental, sustainable, organic, etc.? Tell us about it by sending an e-mail to, with Boulderganic in the subject line.


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