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Eleek Takes ‘Go Local’ Ethos into Green Building

| Friday July 9th, 2010 | 2 Comments


If you’ve done any digging into the green building realm, whether it’s as a homeowner, contractor, or just a design fan, it’s a cluttered field that can start to look all the same. But then there are certain companies that get your attention. Portland, Oregon based Eleek does that for me.

Beyond being gorgeously designed, it goes about being as sustainable as possible in a very practical, thorough, committed matter. As an example, the company sources 100% post consumer scrap for its Masa cabinet hardware line. Rather then obtaining  materials from disparate sources in locations unknown, processed in China and shipped back, Eleek’s materials come from right down the street at the ReBuilding Center, which itself can be enlisted by the public to “deconstruct” buildings, retaining as much reusable material as possible.

Eleek champions other businesses locally sourcing their materials, vita its sister site, Project Scrap.

It doesn’t just give lip service to products being easily disassembled at end of life, still leaving it up to you to figure out how and who would do that for you: “Eleek will take back any product it makes in order to dismantle, reuse and/or recycle its materials.” And in another phrase that may make you double take, it says Eleek products are, “…designed for non-obsolescence from the start.”

In something perhaps unusual for its industry, 80% of its supplies come from within 50 miles of its shop. Digging further into Eleek’s rather extensive sustainability practices, you’ll find that even the recycling goes beyond the norm, allowing employees to bring to work what they cannot recycle via municipal channels. That, I have to say, is quite impressive.

Equally impressive is the fact that its product components are created via handmade patternmaking, via 3rd generation practitioner Eric Kaster. Patternmaking is, as Eleek puts it,

“…the old world craft of making detailed wood positives from which molds for metal castings are made. It is equal parts precision woodworking and engineering and requires a formidable sense of spatial relationship.”

Each of these patterns are made from at least 70% discarded and/or salvaged wood.

In a world where things are increasingly mass produced and sterile, Eleek is an example of how to do it right, thoroughly, with care and quality that is immediately apparent. More and more people crave authenticity, especially in where they live. Eleek is an example for others to follow.

Readers: What companies are you seeing out there that are examples of a through commitment and extensive action towards being a deeply sustainable company?

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media.


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  • Sattie

    Hi Paul,

    Nice post and great blog. Thank you! I want to point out one small typo that changes the meaning: “The company sources 100% post consumer scrap from Masa cabinet hardware”–should be “The company sources 100% post consumer scrap for its Masa cabinet hardware line…”.

    Read more: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/07/eleek-go-lo

    Read more: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/07/eleek-go-lo

    • GreenSmithC

      Glad to help spread the word about a great company. Oops! Will go and fix that.