Day 332 – Over the year, I have mentioned a couple companies that make compostable straws and recyclable plasticware (made from recycled plastic). Well, I wanted to add one more company to the list of sustainable options when it comes to straws and cutlery.
The SeaStraw Company offers straws and cutlery that are made from renewable forestry and backyard compostable, or contribute to a circular economy through reusability. They offer paper straws, steel straws, silicone straws and cutlery made from Birch wood. They provide these sustainable options for at home use or for businesses.
The materials used are:
SF Certified Paper & FSC Certified from renewable forestry
Vegan wax and ink
Certified gluten free
BPA free – silicone and stainless steel straws
The folks at SeaStraw started the company because they believe that small actions add up and inspire wide-spread impact. Just starting with a sustainable straw, or spoon, or fork, can lead to bigger and better decisions that will help the planet.
Tomorrow, a zero waste center every needs in their neighborhood.
Day 265 – Over 40 billion pieces of single-use plastic utensils are thrown away every year. A major contributor to this waste stream is take-out and delivery orders. These plastic utensils end up in our orders even when they are not needed or wanted. A campaign, launched by nonprofit Habits of Waste is working to change that. The #CutOutCutlery campaign was launched to tackle this wasteful practice seen across restaurants worldwide. So far, #CutOutCutlery has convinced Uber Eats, Door Dash, Postmates, and Grubhub to change their default settings globally, making single-use plastic cutlery available by request only. This movement inspired new legislation in multiple major cities across the U.S., including Denver, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
The campaign is now turning to university food services and major restaurant chains. The goal of #CutOutCutlery is for these businesses to provide individuals with an option to refuse single-use plastic cutlery and straws when they order food to go. You can help by sending a 1-click email to chains like Chipotle, McDonald’s, and Burger King asking them to join DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates and pledge to #CutOutCutlery. This means you won’t receive plastic cutlery unless you request it.
Chicago’s City Council just moved a little closer to cutting out plastic cutlery. There is no doubt, more could have been done to rid the city of this plastic pollutant, but as we all know all too well, there is opposition everywhere. Even when it comes to saving the planet.
Here’s what the proposed ordinance involves:
Chicago restaurants would be prohibited from automatically distributing “single-use foodware,” but compliance would be voluntary, and drive-through restaurants and airport concessionaires would be exempt.
Everything from plastic silverware, chopsticks, wipes and condiments to salt, pepper and napkins no longer would be automatically included in take-out meals and deliveries to customers who don’t really need them.
Drive-through restaurants and airport concessions would be exempt from the ban on the grounds that their customers “expect to be given single-use foodware” and often need utensils to eat in the car, on the plane or at the gate.
The proposed ban also does not cover plastic straws, beverage lids, sleeves for hot coffee and tea and “single-use foodware pre-packaged or attached to food or beverage products by the manufacturer.”
The struggles that restaurants have been undergoing as a result of the pandemic is the main excuse given by the politicians as to why the ordinance did not involve stricter limits on plastic pollution.
One can hope that once we emerge from the pandemic that more can be done to move Chicago away from a disposable city to one a reusable one.
Day 212 – July has come to an end and so has Plastic Free July. However, it doesn’t mean you have to stop making an effort to remove plastic from your everyday use. All month, I wrote about ways we can replace single-use plastic with reusable options. I wrote about companies using recycled plastic in their products to help minimize the plastic entering our landfills, oceans and waterways. Hopefully, it inspired you to make some changes and to encourage others to do the same.
Plastic Oceans has created a list of 9 things we can do to help end plastic pollution.
Day 206 – Many of us don’t give much thought as to how long it takes for everyday items to decompose. We throw things out everyday, leaving any and all concern at the trash can. What if we asked the question, “How long until it’s decomposed? Well, the U.S. Coast Guard put together an easy to understand illustration. Take a look and see the amount of time your everyday disposable items take to breakdown and decompose.
As you can see, some plastic will never decompose. It will most likely breakdown and enter our waterways and food chain. It’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed and needs everyone to take notice and make changes in their daily behavior.
Tomorrow, a company using recycled plastic to make their products and even offers a take back program.
Day 192 – Many of us do not think about what we could create from our discarded waste. We put it in the trash and don’t give it a second thought. Thankfully, there are people like Shady Rabab, who are creating musical instruments out of plastic waste.
“The Garbage Music project uses art and creative expression to counter plastic pollution. It motivates youth to build their knowledge and increase their awareness about the challenges threatening the environment and how that impacts their lives.
It also provides them with tools and skills enabling them to turn waste into musical instruments. The project team designs workshops and classes to help the youth master different instruments, with the ultimate aim of playing music together as a band: the Garbage Music Band.” – United National Environment Programme
Shady Rabab’s organization, Rabab Luxor, is making a difference in Luxor, Egypt. The musician’s wider work is also having a positive impact in Luxor, which does not have many dedicated cultural spaces. His organization also runs bookbinding workshops for kids and musical instrument workshops for adults. Rabab tells the UN he’s particularly proud of the artistic and educational impact of recent work.
We need more visionaries like Shady Rabab, who has taken on the plastic pollution problem and has created the sweet sound of music.
Tomorrow, clothing brands made from recycled materials.
Day 191 – So, we’re a week into Plastic Free July. How are you doing? How many single-use plastic items have you refused this week? Have you made any swaps in your home for plastic free options? It’s never too late to make the changes. It’s never too late to help make a difference.
Plastic will be the topic the whole month of July. It’s an important topic and one that needs a great deal of attention and discussion.
Plastic is unfriendly to the environment. From its creation to its destruction, plastic emits toxins into the air we breathe and the water we drink. More than 350 million metric tons of plastic are produced worldwide. Most of that ends up as litter, threatening wildlife and human life. According to a 2019 study, the average person ingests about 5 grams of microplastics per week (about as much plastic as a credit card) through food, water, and even the air we breathe.
“The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 (BFFPPA) builds on successful statewide laws across the U.S. and outlines practical plastic reduction strategies to realize a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable future. The federal bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA), represents the most comprehensive set of policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis ever introduced in Congress.” – BreakFreeFromPlastic.org
The amazing people over at Earth911, came up with a list of ways you can help the cause.
You can also join organized plastic-fighting campaigns or activities (virtually or locally) or even start your own.
You can help by reducing your own personal plastic consumption; Avoid single-use plastics, Check if an item’s packaging is recyclable before purchasing it, Opt for products made from recycled rather than virgin plastic, Bring reusable bags when shopping, Shop local (local products typically use less plastic packaging).
Perhaps the easiest way to support this movement is to share it.
It’s a monumental challenge, but our country has been faced with many difficult challenges before. We need to come together and realize that this is a fight we all need to get involved in, if we’re going to have any chance of success.
Tomorrow, creating beautiful music with recyclable materials.