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Saving the Planet Without Getting Off Your Tush

July 06, 1999|LESLEE KOMAIKO

Wouldn't it be great if you could sit around watching bad television and feel as if you were doing something good for the environment? With a marathon of "Melrose Place" reruns and an EarthChair, you've got it made.

What's an EarthChair? Not a tree stump or a mound of dirt, but a sturdy, washable denim shell you stuff with plastic grocery bags, toilet paper wrappers, newspaper protectors, even bread bags (after you shake out the crumbs, of course).

EarthChair CEO Betty Buss, a professional seamstress who sews all of the chairs herself, got the idea for the chair several years ago while cleaning out her sewing studio.

"I was sitting on a garbage bag filled with plastic bags, and I saw this cushion cover I made. 'What am I going to do with this?' I thought. Then the proverbial lightbulb went off, and I said, 'What a blast.' "

Buss, a self-confessed old hippie, admits it takes awhile to stuff an EarthChair: about 1,500 to 2,000 units. But it's worth it.

"When you think of sitting in a bean bag chair," she says, "you think 'plop.' An EarthChair is softer. It's sort of like a slow swish. Plus, you're keeping all that plastic out of landfills."

John Buss, Betty's husband and business partner, adds that the chairs are a way for children to learn to reuse, one of the "three Rs."

"And," he says, "our cats absolutely love them."

EarthChair can be found on the Web at http://www.earthchair.com. Or call (757) 465-8959. The basic model is $39.95.

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