Ending the Need for Single-Use Cups

Day 210 – We have all used our share of disposable cups. Maybe it was at a baseball game, music festival, or backyard barbecue. Easily hundreds of cups tossed in the trash. Now multiply that by the billions of people that live on the planet and that is an insane amount of disposable cups sitting in landfills or floating in our oceans and waterways.

Finding a solution to the small events, like the backyard barbecue, isn’t too difficult. Just three days ago, Day 207, I wrote about Preserve. A company that sells plastic reusable cups that are dishwasher safe. However, what about those huge events and gatherings? That’s where Globelet comes in.

Globelet can be found in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. Though it appears they are more active in New Zealand and Australia.

Here’s how their reusable system works.

  1. Their reusables are manufactured in New Zealand. They now have a range of cups that are made from 100% recycled bottle caps. Their goal is to switch all of their products to recycled materials.
  2. Globelet reusables get delivered to the venue, where they will be used.
  3. At the venue, the attendees purchase their first beverage in one of Globelet’s reusable cups and pay a deposit for it.
  4. Attendees enjoy their drink in one of Globelets various reusables; cup, stemless vino, bottled water, or coffee cup.
  5. Attendees can return their reusable product to the bars or assigned areas to receive a partial refund. They can also choose to keep it and reuse it.
  6. Globelet reusables get collected post event and head to the Better Future Factory to be washed and recounted.
  7. Reusables go through washing and drying machines designed to dry plastic and reduce water consumption.
  8. Cleaned products are stored or returned to the venue. Any damaged products get recycled.

Globelet has kept over 21 million disposable products from going to landfill and oceans for the last 8 years around New Zealand and Australia. This is a system that can easily work worldwide. However, to be successful, we need to change our behavior and realize that reusables need to replace disposables.

Tomorrow, from cups to takeout containers, continuing the talk on reusables.

Preserve: Reusable Plasticware

Day 207 – It may sound counterproductive to write about plasticware, especially during Plastic Free July. However, Preserve is not your typical plasticware. Preserve has been making products good for people and the planet since 1996.

Here are just a few of the ways Preserve is making a difference:

  1. Preserve’s plastic products are made from 100% recycled plastic.
  2. Preserve’s plastic products are dishwasher safe and made to last.
  3. Preserve’s products are made in the U.S.
  4. Preserve has a line of 100% compostable items that are plant based and gluten free.
  5. Preserve has a take back program called Gimme 5, which collects #5 plastic that they transform into new Preserve products.
  6. Preserve even takes back their own products that reach the end of their life. They then recycle and create new products from those items.
  7. Preserve is a Certified B Corporation.
  8. Preserve makes a line of products made from ocean plastic. Through sales of our POPi products, they support organizations that prevent plastic from reaching the ocean. 25% of proceeds from POPi products are donated to non-profits that work on issues including:
  • Developing better recycling systems around the world.
  • Researching the effects of plastic in the ocean and on marine life.
  • Creating catchment technologies (ways to trap plastic in waterways before it reaches the ocean).
  • Providing better end of life solutions for recovered and recycled packages that were heading for the ocean.

I recently purchased the On the Go Party Set (currently sold out) and couldn’t be happier with the product. The plates, cups and plasticware will be used for countless parties to come.

Tomorrow, fun at the beach is becoming more environmentally friendly.

Block Party: Tips for making it eco-friendly

Day 180 – One of the best ways to celebrate summer is having a block party. Gathering the neighbors for some food and fun has been a wonderful tradition shared by countless neighborhoods throughout the years. This year is extra special, since last summer we were not able to gather together.

Here are some suggestions on how you can have an amazing block party, while still being environmentally friendly.

  1. Don’t use disposable tablecloths – Invest in reusable tablecloths that can be used year after year. I found a great deal on tablecloths at Home Goods. There are also a variety of reusable tablecloths made from recycled material.
  2. Ditch the plastic cutlery – Not everyone has a plethora of kitchen cutlery to put out for guests. However, there are reusable options that can replace the typical disposable plasticware. Preserve is just one brand that offers reusable plasticware that can be used countless times. They are dishwasher safe and can be recycled through the companies take back program. Just make sure you tell your guests to not throw out the cutlery.
  3. Switch from disposable to reusable plates – Paper plates are very easy, but they do add to landfill waste. Choosing a reusable option is ideal. Preserve offers reusable plates. Like their cutlery, they are dishwasher safe and can be recycled, once they can no longer be used. They also offer compostable plates as do many other companies. If you must use disposable plates, always choose paper over styrofoam.
  4. No water bottles – A fraction of the plastic water bottles that end up in recycling, actually end up getting recycled. So, the best way to avoid this problem is to avoid using plastic water bottles. Try to use large containers to hold water and encourage your guests to bring a water bottle or glass to fill. You can also provide a reusable cup option, instead of the usual disposable SOLO cup. If you end up using SOLO cups, check out TerraCycles free recycling program. Aluminum cups are another plastic free option.
  5. Compost food waste – Check to see if any of neighbors are composting. If they are composting at home, they might be able to take a little extra. If they are commercial composting, they can request an additional bin or two to collect food waste from the block party. There’s no doubt block parties can produce a great deal of food waste. Many dishes sitting outside for numerous hours are usually not saved for future meals.
  6. Avoid the individual snacks – Try to purchase in bulk when buying snacks for your party. The packaging from individually wrapped snacks will add up. This type of packaging is not recyclable and will end up in the trash.
  7. Encourage neighbors to power off – Remind your neighbors to turn off lights and electronics while outside enjoying the block party. Block party day is the perfect excuse to unplug and get outdoors to spend time with the neighbors.
  8. Have recycling stations – If you will have items that can be reused or recycled, be sure to have a few places where neighbors can drop off those items and avoid putting them in the trash.
  9. Avoid using paper towels – Block party clean up is inevitable. Consider using reusable rags instead of paper towels. This will considerably cutback your waste.
  10. Have fun! – Keep your fingers crossed for good weather, enjoy the day and feel good about putting the extra effort into making your block party environmentally friendly.

Tomorrow, sustainable bathing suit options.

Toothbrushes: Sustainable Options

Day 177 – It’s National Toothbrush Day! The toothbrush as we know it today was not invented until 1938. However, early forms of the toothbrush have been in existence since 3000 BC. Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” which was a thin twig with a frayed end.

Around 3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold worldwide each year. Considering most people use plastic toothbrushes that ends up being a great deal of plastic ending up in the landfill. Every toothbrush that you have ever used is still buried in a landfill somewhere.

So, what can we do to avoid adding to our plastic waste problem?

Bamboo Toothbrushes – There are countless bamboo toothbrushes on the market. Bamboo is compostable. Unfortunately, many of the bristles on these toothbrushes are not. So, they need to be removed before composting. Brands like EcoRoots, Brush with Bamboo and The Humble Co. offer bamboo toothbrushes.

Wooden Toothbrushes – There are some toothbrushes made from responsibly-harvested wood. One company, Redecker, even uses boar hair that is sourced as a byproduct of the meat industry, meaning their toothbrush is totally compostable.

Recycled Toothbrushes – Some companies (Radius) use recycled material in the production of their toothbrushes. Preserve toothbrushes are made from 100% recycled plastic from yogurt cups and once you’re done with the toothbrush, you can recycle it through Preserve’s take-back program.

If you are looking to replace your old toothbrush with a more sustainable option and want to avoid tossing that old brush in the trash, TerraCycle will take it, along with your empty toothpaste tubes and floss containers. The Northcenter Neighborhood Association Recycle Popup will take it, too!

Not adding more plastic to the landfill should put a smile on your face. Knowing that smile is made brighter with an environmentally friendly toothbrush should make you feel good.

Tomorrow, cool shades that are eco-friendly and help others.