ANOTHER GREEN IDEA: Some projects come together after much angst. Others seem to happen by kismet. Alvin Valley describes his eco-tote for Duane Reade as the latter.
"[Duane Reade] approached me because they wanted to do something of an eco-friendly tote," said Valley. "I said I'd participate only if there is an organization I can tie in with." Around the same time, Valley had been asked by his friend, Amanda Hearst, to become a founding member of New Yorkers for a Green New York. "I said, 'What do I bring to the table?'" Then he remembered Duane Reade and decided that the tote could be his contribution.
Duane Reade on Tuesday unveiled the bag, a soft gray hobo-style bag, at its location near Bryant Park on Broadway and 40th Street. The bag bears the slogan "Use It, Don't Abuse It" and an image by artist S.A. Longshore. Valley was on hand along with Hearst and New Yorkers for a Green New York's Annie Churchill, Tony Cummings and Billy Gilbane to sign the totes. The project will support the Stevenson Green Roof Project in the Bronx, a public-private partnership that will transform the barren concrete roof of a building that houses seven schools into a living laboratory for students to experience hands-on learning.
Valley said Duane Reade is paying the production costs for the bag and donating a portion of sales of the $14.95 tote. Asked why he decided to work with Duane Reade rather than a more upscale retailer, Valley said: "I didn't want to do this one little bag that's so expensive that only 10 people could have it. I'm really about pop culture. I want New Yorkers all over the street to be wearing it. A bag that only a few fashionistas know about? Or go after the mainstream. It was an amazing project with 25,000 bags for the first run."