Top 10 Green Building Products 2008

For the third year running, Eleek has made its way onto Sustainable Industries’ Top 10 list. Judges were impressed with Eleek’s ability to improve upon an existing product, which was already being made out of 100 percent (70 percent post-consumer) recycled aluminum. In the spring of 2008, Eleek began manufacturing its line of Masa cabinet hardware with 100 percent post-consumer recycled aluminum sourced from Portland’s ReBuilding Center, a nonprofit located less than a mile from
Eleek’s studio and five miles from its foundry.

The aluminum comes from donated screen doors and windows that are not reusable and would otherwise be sent to a scrap yard.

The new arrangement cuts energy and fuel costs, as Eleek’s local foundry previously sourced Eleek’s recycled aluminum from a California company. “They don’t stop—they are relentless,” says one judge. “SI should keep giving them credit as long as they keep raising the bar.”

Sattie Clark, who co-founded Eleek with her husband Eric, says the company did not set out to mass-produce products. “Eric has a hands-on relationship with every product that goes out of here,” she says. “We want to keep these skilled manufacturing jobs here in the inner core of Portland.”

With the diminishing American dollar, the trend to produce more products locally could become increasingly important—which is ultimately more sustainable, Clark notes. She says she hopes this will be the first of many collaborations between Eleek and The ReBuilding Center—and possibly the beginning of a trend other companies will follow.

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