Tired of boots made from zillion-year-old vegetable matter that causes all sorts of problems? Solution just came in to WildSnow EU HQ — Scarpa will make boot plastic out of castor beans. The new plastic is said to have less carbon footprint than other plastics, but to me the best thing about “Rnew plastic” is the “renewable” source materal is not a food crop. I get pretty bummed when I hear we’re using food to make non-food “save the world” products such as ethanol (or plastic), with so much of the world hungry. That just seems so wrong. But these days you don’t hear much about world hunger, what with fighting global warming being the thing. Condensed press release follows:Bringing the first freeride and telemark ski boots to market made with bio-based renewable plastic, SCARPA will add three new ski boots to its line for Fall 2009 constructed with a material called Pebax Rnew®, which is made 90 percent from plant-based oil.
Rnew offers performance on par with the materials it currently uses throughout its ski boot line. For skiers, that means the performance they expect but in a form that’s more environmentally-sustainable. Scarpa will build the Tornado Eco and men’s and women’s T2 Eco with Rnew.
Tornado Eco – A redesign of the well known SCARPA boot that’s gained popularity with ski patrollers and performance-driven ski tourers throughout the world, Tornado Eco is a freeride boot for big skis and big lines with features that make it excel for all-day outings. Unique features of the Tornado Eco include the fact that it comes with two tongues, a rigid ski tongue and a hinged touring tongue, so that skiers can adjust the flex of the boot for what they plan to do. The boot also comes with the SCARPA/Vibram Ride sole, still the only rubber sole on the market that can be used interchangeably between alpine-touring and alpine bindings, and the only alpine-touring sole certified for release in both AT and alpine bindings. More, a new SCARPA Intuition Speed Pro liner with an alpine-style tongue, as well as reconfigured buckles for easier access. MSRP: $679.
For the drop knee crowd, also in the new plastic, T2 Eco and T2 Eco women’s. MSRP: $579.
The Rnew plastic used in SCARPA’s new Eco line of boots is Pebax, the same material SCARPA uses throughout most of its line. Pebax is known for its ability to retain its stiffness over a wide range of temperatures, and because it is so stiff compared to polyurethane (PU is the other primary material for building ski boots), less material can be used relative to PU, so it’s ideal for building lightweight. It also can be flexed repeatedly without breaking, so it’s the material of choice for plastic telemark boots.
Pebax Rnew is the same material, with the same performance characteristics, except it is made 90 percent from the oil of the castor plant rather than oil from petroleum. Because of that, it requires 29 percent less fossil fuel and puts out 32 percent fewer emissions in the process of taking Rnew from raw to useable material. SCARPA has tested Rnew on prototype boots for a year and a half to verify its performance. Lab and field testing shows Rnew performs on par with regular Pebax.