02 July 2008

LG --Life's Good or Lies Gratuitously?

LG Industries, the Korean company that makes everything it seems, also makes a solid-surface counter top material called Hi-Macs. Solid-surface is the proper generic term for what most people call Corian even though Corian is a brand made by DuPont. Hi-Macs is an aggressively marketed brand in a product category that is headed for extinction and good riddance. Solid Surface materials make for inferior counters. They scratch like crazy, they melt at an absurdly low temperature and they discolor over time. The industry wants you to believe that they are made from acrylic, but that's only part of the story. They are made from petroleum-derived plastics mixed with powdered bauxite. It's difficult to get the industry to own up to the bauxite content in their products and having them define what bauxite is to begin with is impossible. Well I'll tell you what it is. Bauxite is aluminum ore. Aluminum is a toxic metal. So what we have is a toxic brew of petroleum-derived plastic and aluminum ore and you're supposed to prepare your meals on it. Yeah, sure.

Yet, with all of that playing in the background, Hi-Macs just rolled out a new product line they're calling Eden. It's being marketed with a whole lot of hippy imagery and somehow they're labeling it as being made out of recycled material and therefore "green." Whatever green means these days. Again, what they want you to believe is an exaggerated form of the truth. Eden is made using up to 12 per cent pre-consumer waste. What that means in English is that they chop up their scraps and re-use those scraps to make more counters. This is a standard practice in the manufacture of solid surface materials to begin with so there's nothing new there. What is new though, is the attempt to jump on the sustainability bandwagon with the hope that no one will read the fine print. Please. Just because an inferior product has a color name like Lemon Grass doesn't make it a good idea, let alone a sustainable product. Want to be sustainable LG? Come up with a non-toxic surface that looks great, doesn't cost a lot, holds up to everyday use really well and can biodegrade.

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