Lately, I have really embraced biking around Chicago. Whenever I’m heading somewhere less than five miles away, I try to bike! Unfortunately, up until a few days ago, I did not actually own a bike helmet.
Chicago has pretty safe bike lanes for the most part, so I wasn’t terrified, but I knew I needed to find a helmet. I also knew that bike helmets contain a lot of unsustainable materials.
I did a thorough online search for eco-friendly and/or biodegradable helmets. Sadly, not so many options exist! The truly biodegradable helmets have either gone off the market or are not yet widely available to the public.
What makes a bike helmet sustainable?
- Bio-Dome Construction: This style of manufacturing a helmet avoids the use of any materials made from petroleum. All the materials in the helmet come from renewable, bio-based, recyclable materials. Instead of synthetic fabrics, the helmet incorporates 100% non bleached cotton and flax-based fabrics.
- Corn-Based Outer Shell: Usually, bike helmets have a polycarbonate shell – a type of plastic with an energy-intensive manufacturing process that requires multiple hazardous chemical inputs. The Kali SAHA helmet uses a polyactide shell, a corn-based material whose production process does not produce toxic by-products.
- Recycled Polystyrene: Finding an eco-friendly alternative to polystyrene can prove difficult. Most helmet designs require some form of polystyrene because it provides the most important protection for your head during falls! Unfortunately, polystyrene does not biodegrade. While the Kali SAHA still uses polystyrene, they at least source 100% recycled material.
- End of Life: You can’t exactly put your helmet straight in the recycling bin, but you can take steps to ensure it doesn’t end up in a landfill. This article from Trails.com gives a useful outline on how to recycle the individual components of a helmet!
Review of the Helmet
I tested out my new Kali SAHA helmet for the first time yesterday and really loved it. I found the sizing guide on the Kali website to be very useful (my head is 22 inches in circumference and the small/medium fits perfectly!).
Even with the somewhat uncommon materials they used, I found it comfortable and overall very comparable to the standard bike helmets I’ve owned in the past. It also comes with a visor attachment, which I will certainly appreciate on sunny and rainy days alike.
The helmet comes in every color you can dream of and has a really attractive shape. Overall, if you’re looking to start biking or are in need of a new helmet, the Kali SAHA would make a great choice!