The Beige Report: Steamed: 3 Eco Chicks Consider the ‘Eco’ Kettle


Do you hear that piercing shriek? It’s us, cringing at a useless gadget proclaiming itself as the solution to the boiled water crisis. We may have been raised to think there’s nothing easier than boiling water, but evidently that isn’t the case.


Enter the Eco Kettle. Vanessa happened upon the teapot and at first, we were interested – we all want to live greener, right? Who knew that having a cup of tea is bad for the planet?

Long-time eco-chicks may be familiar with the crisis that the Eco Kettle purports to resolve: people boil water (true). More than they use (also true). Heating that excess water wastes a lot of energy (a problem). Eco Kettle hopes to provide a (their) solution to those aspiring to a greener cup of tea: a kettle that fills up with water but only boils as much as you select. With an Energy Savings Trust recommendation!

But wait…should this be considered an advance of the species? As with shopping, have we simply forgotten how to measure? Rather than source, manufacture, transport, sell and use yet another brand new uni-function plastic product from China, aren’t we capable of, well…boiling water?

With operating instructions that run 633 words, some of which warn of possible “boiling water ejection” in case of overfill, I think I’ll skip buying that first aid kit and stick with my old-school kettle. I gotta hand it to this company. It takes real marketing mettle to convince consumers that a plastic jug with multiple buttons and numerous features that may malfunction is greener than boiling water in a pot on the stove. Planned obsolescence, anyone?

Remember the “super duper special slicer” you could buy for $19.99 that would dice and chop and grate and practically cook all your veggies for you? An amazing contraption that you just could not live without. And they’d throw in a free Veggie Cook Book for FREE if you called the 800# on your screen right now? Or the smoothie maker that supposedly does something special other than just smash up fruit and yogurt – just like the blender you already own.

Vanessa: I’m confused: read the ECO kettle’s instructions discuss dealing with your “excess water”. Isn’t that being taken care of by using the product? But this direction tips the pot: “To ensure the water in your ECO Kettle does not get stale, start each day by discarding any remaining water and refilling with fresh.”

Kim: This kettle reminds me of what happens when kids open presents on Christmas day. They scream with excitement as they tear off the paper to reveal the latest toy they saw advertised on TV, examine it and play with it for about 3 seconds before the next box entices them away. All that’s left in the end is a mile-high pile of toys, waiting alone in the corner – and where are the kids? They’re outside playing hide and seek or ball or they’re riding their bikes. Simplicity is always greener.

Sometimes the greenest gadget is your brain.

The verdict: If your current electric kettle is broken and you need another, you might consider the Eco Kettle. But if you aren’t in need of a kettle, don’t splurge on yet another green gadget, no matter how good at math it is. The Eco Kettle: the latest in greenwashing – but only the amount that you want!

From bad green design to ridiculous marketing campaigns, find out what peeves the writers and editors of EcoSalon in our team column, The Beige Report.

Image: stacey.d