Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Plant a Garden for Earth Day

Gardening in April

             by Angela Yannessa

plant, garden, tree, earth day, glassdharma,

Early spring is the perfect time to plant your garden, even if there is still a chill in the air. Do you dream of a large backyard vegetable garden that will feed your family through the Fall, or growing your own ingredients for smoothies and juices? Maybe you want to add some eye catching flowers and plants to your front walkway. In any case, GlassDharma has gathered some tips for you. These are great activities to do with friends and family through April for Earth Month. Give the Earth around you some care, and watch your future salad, smoothies, and juices grow!

Always consider the many different varieties within each plant group, and take some time to find out which will best suit your garden and local climate. Growing plants native to your area can make tending to your garden much easier and ultimately more successful. This can be achieved by asking your local nursery or doing some research online. Keep in mind the temperature and forecast for seed starting; some plants can handle a frost and others cannot.

Pick an area in your yard that gets sunlight and is not often disturbed by pets/kids, and check your soil. (If pets will be close by, be sure nothing you are planting is toxic to them.)  You will want to learn if the pH levels are balanced (though some plants will thrive in acidic soil, others in alkaline). The easiest way to check is with litmus paper (available online or at the local pharmacy store), which offer an inexpensive option and provide a speedy answer.

  • Mix about 2 teaspoons of soil from the garden area with 1/4 cup of distilled or rain water to form a thick liquid. Allow it to set for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Dip the test strip in the mixture and let it sit for 30 seconds. Rinse with the distilled or rain water, and compare the color it changes to the pH chart (which will come with your litmus paper).

It is easy to check the consistency of soil, a factor that can tell you a lot about the nutrients already there. Check out Organic Gardening’s resource for checking soil. There are a lot of steps here, and it might seem a little time consuming at first. It is much better to start with the right soil then to only find out the condition is poor when your plants do not grow. Once this step is complete, start digging! Using a rake and shovel, work the soil and remove weeds to prepare for planting.

chard, leafy greens, garden, vegetable, plant
Swiss Chard
For some easy vegetables to start with, consider leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, and lettuce. These are typically viewed as winter growth, but can provide many months of food when planted in the early spring. Kale is strong enough to withstand frosts as well as warmer temperatures, and will nourish you and your family with various vitamins. Lettuce and spinach are also healthy, easy, and fruitful leafy crops.

  • Plant in neutral soil during early spring (lettuce can be planted indoors first, then transplanted outside)
  • Water roots in the morning regularly. Kale and spinach thrive with moisture, lettuce can stand dryness. 
  • Once lettuce leaves grow, harvest to allow more to grow, until it bolts (forming flowers)
  • Kale and spinach are fantastic additions to smoothies and juices

Potatoes are easily planted for starter gardens as well. Being left too long in the pantry, potatoes will start to sprout. Take advantage of this! Planting sprouted potatoes instead of throwing them away avoids waste and can reward you with freshly grown vegetables for years to come.
  • Place sprouted potato in a warm, sunny place inside
  • After a couple weeks to a month, carefully cut the potato between the sprouts, leaving a couple "eyes" within each cut, and let them dry for 1-2 days
  • Plant eye side up, spread them out 6-10 inches to allow the potatoes to grow to an adequate size 
  • Enjoy roasted with herbs, mashed, in a potato salad, or one of the other endless possibilities
Green beans and snap peas are great to have on hand and easy plants to start from seedlings. These will survive much better if planted inside and nurtured for a couple of weeks prior to outdoor planting.
  •  Use eggshell halves for initial planters: they are the perfect size and the shell provides calcium to the growing seedling.
  • Rotting commonly occurs; it is a good idea to plant extra seedlings to make up for some lost. 
  • When planting a vining variety, be sure to provide a large stake, trellis, or plant them near a fence so the vines can climb.
  • If the season has a steady amount of rainfall, the peas/beans will only need watering weekly.
  • Eat them raw for a quick, healthy snack, or cook alongside your favorite meal
Lavender provides a beautiful and fragrant plant, and makes a nice addition to various main courses, side dishes, and even beverages. Include it in a dry rub for seasoning meat, juices/smoothies, lemonade, mojitos, roasted potatoes, and more! 
  • Lavender needs a plot or pot with good drainage. It can withstand drought and will not survive with too much moisture.
  • Line the bottom of the pot with stones to ensure good drainage.
  • At harvest, separate the lavender you plan to dry, tie the ends and hang upside down. Once dried, these will be best used for spicing, tea, and even for a calming smoothie to sip with your GlassDharma straw.
lavendar, garden, herb, plant, spring
Gaillardia or “Blanket Flowers” grow tall each year and produce beautiful, vibrant colors above many leaves. Have fun with different textures and styles in the garden, contrasting big blooming flowers to grasses and shrubs.

plant, kale, pot, garden, leafy greens
Kale Grown in a Pot from Seed
For those with limited space, planting in pots outside your doors can be the best option to serve as your garden and an inviting display. Baskets, pails, old coffee tins, milk cartons, and old juice bottles are useful tools for planting as well. Herbs can thrive right in your kitchen window. Whether you are roasting veggies, chicken, making soup, or pizza, additions such as basil and rosemary from your own garden will surely spice up the dish. The fragrance of herbs adds a nice touch in the house as well, acting as a natural deodorizer. 

To maintain all of your new garden plants, make your own organic fertilizer with compost from your kitchen/yard to be sure they thrive. It might take some getting used to, but fruit and vegetable scraps, pulp from the juicer, egg shells, used coffee grinds, grass, and leaves from your yard can help your soil nurture your plants.
Other options suggest including rock phosphate and kelp; you can make your own mixture if you make sure to have nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients. Organic fertilizers are also available commercially. 

Is Your Garden Complete?

We hope your gardens are prosperous and provide many years of beauty and nourishment for your efforts. If your home garden is complete or you would rather work with a group, consider volunteering for a cooperative garden that benefits a school, senior center, or low-income project. Other options include joining a local community effort of planting trees or cleaning up a beach or park, especially throughout April for Earth Month! Educational events like talks and expos can help you and your family learn more about an environmental cause, and serve as motivation to be kinder to the Earth.  


Where are the Friends of GlassDharma this Earth Day?

GlassDharma founders David and Gail are attending EcoCruz's Earth Day Santa Cruz event! Beth Terry of My Plastic Free Life will be joining them for the event on Saturday, April 19 for a day of fun, educational information and activities. 

Milo Cress of Be Straw Free will be speaking at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on May 10 for the Ocean Plastic Pollution Seminar, and later in the month at the  Marine Research Center in Port Townsend, Washington. Milo has won the Founder's Medal for the Daughter's of the American Revolution as a result of his hard work spreading the word about the downsides of plastic straws. Great job Milo!  

Carter and Olivia of One More Generation have written a Proclamation requesting an entire month during the school year be designated as "Plastic Awareness Month" so schools will be required to teach students about the issue and help them find solutions they can immediately introduce.  This Proclamation is now being introduced in Washington DC for consideration nationwide. 

If you will be in Pawleys Island, SC on Earth Day, be sure to see this fabulous movie, "Plastic Paradise" sponsored by a group of environmentally inspired peepers and the turtle conservation group, SCUTE. Plastic effects everything and everyone! 

Danielle and Chelsie of Balloons Blow will be focused on Beach Cleanups and spreading awareness to others to not wait for one day a year to get involved! 

What are you doing for Earth Day 2014? 

GlassDharma and friends focus beyond Earth Day/Month, spreading the word to treat every day like Earth Day! We hope you will participate throughout the year in these, or other, events.  Please share your own local events in the comments of this post and tell us about your own Earth Day festivities and celebrations. Sharing keeps the spirit of the day alive all year long!  

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Earth Day Cocktail

The Earth Day Cocktail and Mocktail Recipes

DIY - Anthony Caporale from Art of the Drink shows you how to create your own Earth Day Cocktail!  This recipe and a variation, The Earth Day Mocktail recipe is published by GlassDharma for your own celebrations.  Happy Earth Day!

The Earth Day Cocktail
           by Art Of the Drink

-In a mixing tin half-filled with ice, add:
1 oz. Gin
1 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Juice of 1 fresh Lemon (1 oz.)
-Shake until the tin is frosted.
-Double strain into a rocks glass over blueberry ice cube.
-Serve with a GlassDharma Earth Day Straw.

Blueberry Juice Ice Cube
-Mix equal parts blueberry juice cocktail and water.
-Pour into ice mold.
-Freeze overnight.

Fresh Blueberry Juice Ice Cube
-Blend 1 cup fresh blueberries with 1 cup water.
-Fine strain to remove seeds.
-Pour into ice mold.
-Freeze overnight.

The Earth Day Mocktail
            by Art Of the Drink

-In a mixing tin half-filled with ice, add:
1 oz. Non-Alcoholic Elderflower Cordial
Juice of 1 fresh Lemon (1 oz.)
-Shake until the tin is frosted.
-Double strain into a rocks glass over blueberry ice cube.
-Top with club soda
-Serve with a GlassDharma Earth Day Straw.

Blueberry Juice Ice Cube
-Mix equal parts blueberry juice cocktail and water.
-Pour into ice mold.
-Freeze overnight.

Fresh Blueberry Juice Ice Cube
-Blend 1 cup fresh blueberries with 1 cup water.
-Fine strain to remove seeds.
-Pour into ice mold.
-Freeze overnight.

About the Earth Day Straw by GlassDharma

This year's Earth Day Straw has a two fold purpose, allowing GlassDharma's footprint to lessen at the same time as yours. The Earth Day Straw is made with the same specific annealing formula exclusive to GlassDharma straws. Their durability is comparable to all of our other straws and they come with the same Lifetime Guarantee against breakage.

Monday, February 17, 2014

GlassDharma 2014 Earth Day Trivia Project

Plastic is Drastic Trivia Project begins on March 10th, 2014

It’s finally here! In keeping with an annual tradition, GlassDharma is giving away 1000 free straws for Earth Day, 2014.

GlassDharma has been working on a Trivia Project for you and you are invited to participate beginning on March 10th. This link will take you to our Plastic is Drastic Trivia project. You will meet “GlassDharma Dude” and have access to our informational page. From there, answer 10 trivia questions correctly, and submit a form with your name and contact information so we can ship your free straw (if you are among the first 1000 to complete).

Why does GlassDharma have this annual tradition? We believe in reusable, sustainable living every day of the year, but this is a special day to draw attention to the need to be part of the Pollution Solution!

The first organized Earth Day event was April 22, 1970, following a huge oil spill in California. This brought attention to more problems involving pollution, pesticides, and detriments to the environment, all of which are man- made. This effort in 1970 increased each year thereafter, bringing together not just Americans but people across the globe for a common cause.

GlassDharma believes in the power of our actions to stop plastic pollution and knows that by providing resources to learn about this issue, in addition to awarding you your free Earth Day straw, you can make a difference!

This year’s Earth Day Straws are exclusive to this event and are not available from our current inventory. They also have a two fold purpose, allowing GlassDharma’s footprint to lessen at the same time as yours. There is always extra glass when straws are cut; some of this glass is very small in size, and often gets reused by local friends of GlassDharma for crafts and gardening purposes. Other cuts are just shy of being part of the “Shorty” size line, but are just as useful for mugs, short glasses, and stemware; these are this years Earth Day Straws!

Participants will get to choose the diameter of their straw, a 9.5mm (Ice Tea Straw) or 12mm (Smoothie Straw). The Earth Day straws are made with the same high quality borosilicate glass using the same specific annealing formula exclusive to GlassDharma straws. Their durability is comparable to all of our other straws and they come with the same Lifetime Guarantee against breakage.

GlassDharma will ship the 1000 free straws out of Fort Bragg, California starting on the 1st of April, 2014, and continue for the duration of the month. This offer is good in the USA only.

* Did you receive an email confirmation from GlassDharma?  If not (make sure to check your spam folder), please re-check every step in your entry process to assure your submission to our 1000 Free Straw Giveaway for Earth Day 2014.  Only participants with email confirmation will be eligible for a free straw.

Update March 18, 2014:

GlassDharma reached the goal of 1000 trivia participants for a free straw in less than 48 hours-- the fastest event to date! We had so many eager participants and could not have reached these numbers so quickly without you. We know that everyone who receives their new straw will be instrumental in reducing plastic waste on our planet.
It is not over yet though--we decided to include a bonus to those after the initial 1000 to show our appreciation for your desire to learn how to be the Pollution Solution.

While the first 1000 completed participants will receive a free Earth Day Straw, later entries in the trivia project will be given a one time use coupon code for the value of the Earth Day Straw.

Please sign up for our newsletter to stay informed:

Earth Day Glass Straw ready to sip!
Earth Day Mixology by Art of the Drink:

Anthony Caporale from Art Of The Drink will fill this glass with his new Earth Day Cocktail created in honor of Earth Day 2014.  Two recipes will be provided, one for an Earth Day Cocktail and another for an Earth Day Mocktail. Stay tuned for our next GlassDharma E-newsletter to check out this latest creation.

You can read more about Anthony Caporale by visiting:


Olivia Ku from Love Health Fitness on YouTube shows you how to use your new Earth Day Straw in this DIY for her specialty Earth Day inspired drink recipes.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Press Release

Earth Day 2014: 1000 Free Glass Straws!
GlassDharma – The Original Glass Straw

(Ft. Bragg, CA) - Feb. 1st, 2014 – In celebration of Earth Day 2014, GlassDharma will give away 1000 free Glass Straws during the month of April.  This annual tradition highlights GlassDharma’s mission to increase glass straw use and awareness about alternatives to single use plastics. This is the 6th annual Earth Day event, and GlassDharma is excited to celebrate with you in style, with the elegance of glass! Our 2014 Earth Day giveaway features a "Plastic is Drastic" educational campaign, welcoming you into the conversation of how to be the "Pollution Solution" with plastic trivia.
To find out how you can qualify for your free glass straw, please subscribe to the GlassDharma e-newsletter. Check your inbox on February 18th for the GlassDharma Newsletter with complete details and instructions. 

Make a Difference
"Disposable" plastics have a large impact on our environment and this Earth Day you can learn how easy it is to make different choices to sustain our Planet. GlassDharma’s Earth Day trivia activity will go live on March 10th. After completing that activity, participants will complete a form with information about where to send their glass straw, and will receive a confirmation email at the conclusion of the entry process.  The first 1000 participants will receive a free GlassDharma straw!  Starting on April 1st, 2014, Glass Straws will be shipped out of Fort Bragg, California for the duration of the month.  No shipping charges will be applied to these free straw shipments. This offer is good in the USA only.  Inspiring others by example makes a lasting impact that multiplies over time. When you get your straw, show it off!

GlassDharma Straws are Durable, Sustainable, and Elegant
The GlassDharma Quality Control department ensures the quality of each and every straw. Offering an unprecedented lifetime guarantee, GlassDharma stands behind their product and promises that if it breaks, it will be replaced. GlassDharma straws are made from borosilicate glass, the safest and strongest glass commercially available; they are even dishwasher and microwave safe.

Garnish your Glass
GlassDharma straws not only replace their plastic and toxic counterparts, but their beauty and style lend to compliments and conversation. 
• Great for all hot or cold drinks
• Perfectly stage specialty drinks – bubble teas, iced drinks, shakes, 
   smoothies, and juices
• Beautiful in cocktails – great accessory for stemware and martini 
• Concerned about staining or damaging your teeth? Use for wine, 
   coffee, teas, and acidic beverages
• Kid friendly and safe
• Easy to Clean with our cleaning brushes or in the dishwasher
• Elegance at its best

One for Everyone
GlassDharma straws are available in three collections: Simple Elegance, Beautiful Bend, and the color accented Decorative Dots. Offered in many lengths and widths, GlassDharma straws are available individually or in sets.  The accessory line includes cleaning brushes and hemp sleeves for carrying your straws on the go.  Custom etching services are also available, just call us!

GlassDharma - sip the world. make a difference.

For more information on GlassDharma, please visit
Questions about Earth Day 2014? Contact: Gail or Cheryl

David Leonhardt, Pres.
GlassDharma Head Office

Gail Johnson, V-Pres.
Partnerships and Promotions

Cheryl Newcomb,
Community Manager


Monday, January 6, 2014

A Healthy New Year!

A New Year for Healthy Habits.

The New Year brings a quest for starting fresh and for many of us that includes steps toward a healthier lifestyle.  Margaret Chapman is our guest Author for this post and she shares some fabulous recipes with our readers.

excercise, vegan
Healthy Habits
Hello, my name is Margaret Chapman. I run a blog called The Plant Strong Vegan where I share recipes and talk a bit about veganisim, health, and my daily life.

I've been vegan for about a year now (January 28th, 2013). Since changing my lifestyle, I've devoted my time to reaching out to others in similar situations as I once was. I suffer from Hypothyroidism and I was clinically obese all throughout my teens and early twenties. During the process of changing my lifestyle I've gained so much insight on what it is to be eco-friendly and environmentally conscious.

In my quest to do all that I could to reduce my carbon footprint - I found GlassDharma. I felt the need to reach out to Cheryl, the GlassDharma Community Manager to see if she would allow me to do a product review for the company.  I have been hooked on glass straws ever since trying them.

I firmly believe in the ability of little changes making a huge, lasting impact. I've been using glass straws for over 6 months now and in that time have saved money and resources; in addition, it is a benefit to my health to cut out toxic plastics. Which is why I'm so passionate about them now.

Using glass straws has encouraged and reinforced my healthy habits. I want to make smoothies daily just to be able to use my amazing straws and share them with my family and friends! They promote good health not only for us but also for the environment. So what's not to love really?
It's safe to say making this change in my life is for the best. I only wish I had learned about glass straws sooner. I love spreading the word and doing what I can to slowly cut waste and make glass straws a staple in all homes. Starting the New Year fresh - and being the change you want to see - that's truly the philosophy I live by.

Stay happy and healthy my friends!

Below I've included two of my absolute favorite drinks! One smoothie and one juice. Hope you enjoy!

glass, straw, smoothie
Banana Double Cacao
Banana Double Cacao
(Yields about 64 oz./half-gallon)

6-7 Bananas (very ripe)
Ice (optional, amount depends on desired consistency)
1/4 cup Water (or non-dairy milk)
1 tbsp Cacao Powder
1 tbsp Cacao Nibs
1 tbsp Almond Butter (or 1/8 cup raw almonds)

Un-peel your bananas and measure out everything into your blender.
Pulse till smooth, adding ice as needed/desired.
Serve cold, enjoy!


glass, straw, smoothie, glassdharma, plantstrongvegan
Orange Carrot Kabam
Orange Carrot Kabam
(Yields about 1 liter)

2 pounds Carrots
12 Cuties (6 oranges)

Bonus adds for a kick:
1/2 Lemon
1 in. Ginger

Wash/peel everything thoroughly, cut to size if needed.
Run through your juicer and slightly mix.
Pour over ice if desired, serve and enjoy immediately.

Margaret's Chapman regularly posts photos on Instagram where you can follow her continued journey on food and fitness as well as on her blog.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Friends of GlassDharma

2013 Roundup - checking in with Friends of GlassDharma

Through years of making and shipping glass straws, GlassDharma continues to make friends with some dedicated people that inspire our business to grow.  Together with our friends, these efforts magnify and gain momentum. Word is getting out about how fun reusable items that replace our past love affair with "disposable items" can be. Trends now lean toward durable, long lasting items which help preserve our Earth. The cost of simply throwing something "away" is in the spotlight, and as that attention grows we all have a chance for something better, living in a sustained environment. We wanted to round up 2013 by highlighting all of the fantastic progress made by our friends, in addition to their prospects for the New Year.


GlassDharma checks in with Beth Terry, Blogger at My Plastic free Life and author of a truly problem solving guidebook, “Plastic Free - How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too” (check out p.144 to read about GlassDharma). Beth’s book signing appearances and activism efforts continue as she travels from coast to coast talking to people about how to solve the issue of their plastic use. A recent audio-book release on of “Plastic Free” highlights updates from Beth. She continues inspiring those around her to learn how to refuse plastic, and even shows us how it is possible to live an almost plastic free lifestyle.  Along the way, she likes to have a little fun as well...

maroon 5, concert, beth terry
Attending a Maroon 5 concert (she is a huge fan!), Beth and her friends were turned off by something they saw on the set. Watching the huge plastic water bottle lineup the performers drank from throughout the show was the ultimate disappointment for Beth. In keeping with her constant efforts to educate about the dangers of plastics, this event compelled Beth to write a letter explaining her experience. She started out attending the concert with a starry-eyed crush of admiration for lead singer Adam Levine, only to find the band member's habits totally unacceptable.
Beth Terry, Christian Lane, ingredients, grocery store
Beth with Christian Lane,
owner of In.gredients

What turns Beth on?  Her visit to In.gredients in Austin really got her excited - so much that she declared it as possibly the "coolest grocery stores ever!"  This store aims to sell groceries as package free as possible; zero waste is the goal, which greatly reduces plastic use. Bulk bins and scales at the door invite customers to bring their own containers.  Check out Beth's pictures from her tour of the store. In.gredients is the pioneer to what Beth hopes will become an ordinary practice for grocery stores in years to come.


Bonnie Monteleone shares her findings and experiences from traveling nearly 10,000 nautical miles, collecting over 200 ocean surface samples, and looking for plastics in four oceans. She joins many scientists and activists as she researches plastics floating in some of the most remote regions in the world.  She uses this research to educate others about the impacts of our current trash habits.

Bonnie brings her GlassDharma glass straw to presentations and always receives enthusiastic reactions from her audiences. The glass straw becomes a teaching tool to show how fun - and even elegant - reusable items can be. The fact that a single reusable straw can replace hundreds of plastic straws is relatable to the habits of many audiences. Once they consider the concept and their impact, they apply it to other items used each day and start finding solutions to reduce “disposable” products.


Danielle Richardet continues to comb the beaches for cigarette butts and other litter, keeping count of the butts on her blog “It Starts With Me.” Early this month, the count of cigarette butts removed from Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina reached 56,848 collected in 218 days! Danielle remains diligent with regular cleanups, with hope that smoking on beaches will become a thing of the past.  Thanks to Danielle's efforts, Wrightsville Beach implemented a smoke free beach ordinance.  Signs went up announcing the ordinance in February, and as of November, Danielle estimates a 70% decrease in cigarette litter!

Danielle flew out to the West Coast to celebrate Sarah Bayles' 365th Beach Cleanup.  See this video for more about The Daily Ocean.

Danielle also teamed up with Beth Terry and Bonnie Monteleone for the “Plastic Free Living” Presentation last spring on the East Coast at UNCW.  This event offered education about the impact of plastic on our planet and real solutions to making different choices to support a sustainable lifestyle. GlassDharma happily donated straws to help the cause and raise awareness!

You can view the presentation "Plastic Free Living" in this video.

Beth Terry @ UNCW March, 2013 from Seven Season Films on Vimeo.

What is next in 2014? Danielle is now on the Board of Directors at her local Coop and helps post blogs for The Plastic Ocean Project when Bonnie Monteleone is out to sea. She is busy planning her own 365th beach clean up event on Aug 9, 2014!


balloons, beach, cleanup, litter, plastic
Danielle and Chelsea show
the results of their latest
 beach cleanup in 2013.
"Balloons Blow! Don't Let Them Go!" That is the message Danielle and Chelsea want you to hear. When they first started cleaning Florida's beaches over 18 years ago with their parents, they would never find balloons. As the years went on they started spotting few here and there. The girls are now in our early 20s and continue weekly beach cleanups.  Every year they find more and more balloons. Of course there is much more plastic than ever as well, but what disturbs them about balloon pollution is that it is "celebrating by littering".

Danielle and Chelsea want people to understand that everyone is responsible when it comes to refusing single-use plastic and finding awesome reuable alternatives! They encourage everyone to do spontaneous or solo clean-ups.  "You don't need a big organized clean-up to make a difference," they declare.

Please visit their new page, "Reduce Your Impact" that was recently added to their website, Balloons Blow.

glassdharma, glass straw, balloons, balloons blow
The plastic straws in this picture were collected off a 1/4 mile stretch of desolate beach
- all washed ashore in the sargassum (not littered by beach goers).
One GlassDharma glass straw can replace all of these plastic straws.
be straw free, milo cress
Milo Cress in Lisbon

GlassDharma’s summer blog post about Milo Cress, founder of Be Straw Free, is full of information about a big portion of the year's activities, but he has not slowed the pace since!  His September speaking engagement at the Green Spa Network in Colorado received great enthusiasm, and he continues his travels on his second leg of the Be Straw Free International Speaking Tour.

Here is an excerpt from an email from Milo in November:

11-7-13 Hello!
I'm currently on the second leg of my international speaking tour to talk about how kids can find and get involved in projects that interest them. My first leg, in April, was to Australia and now I'm in Europe. My first European stop was in Lisbon, at the Carlucci American International School, where I met a group of interesting kids who do environmental work of different kinds.
My next school engagement will be in Stuttgart, Germany.

Between speaking engagements, my mom and I stay at different places and do work exchange for our room and board. For example, we stayed on an organic farm and helped with goats, chickens, geese, ducks, sheep and helped garden and sort organic fruits and vegetables which are then delivered once a week to people in the area.  Lots of Germans want to eat local food and food without many "food miles" between them and the food source, so this is a very common type of business.

We are now staying at a place in the Bavarian Forest near the Czech border, and each day we do something different. Today we raked (lots and lots and lots of) leaves and helped with the chickens. Tomorrow... Who knows?!

Everywhere we go, we meet lots of Europeans, adults and kids, who are interested in the environment. It is really exciting and inspiring. It is great to know so many people are working toward making this a healthier planet.

Milo continues to make news as his plastic awareness campaign to "Be Straw Free" gains momentum far and wide. GlassDharma has been privileged to provide Milo with glass straws so he can show people one alternative to plastic straws.  Use coupon code BSF on your GlassDharma website orders for a 10% discount and a percentage of your purchase dollars goes to Be Straw Free.


Olivia and Carter originally founded One More Generation (OMG) to help save endangered wildlife species. This led them to the topic of a healthy environment for wildlife, and in turn to learning about how plastic affects all of us. Most importantly, Olivia and Carter found out about the threat plastic poses to wildlife, left with no protection from the disastrous effects of this form of pollution.

 So what are Carter and Olivia up to these days?

The OMG Team spearheaded a week long Plastic and Recycling Awareness Curriculum in 2010 that became popular and gained country-wide momentum. Each day of the first week long program, more than 700 students learned various facts about the issue of Plastic Pollution and how students and their families can be the solution to the plastic pollution issue.  GlassDharma donated straws to use as rewards for OMG’s students. The team now continuously travels from school to school to show students the effects of trash in our world. Use coupon code OMG on your GlassDharma website orders for a 10% discount and a percentage of your purchase dollars will support One More Generation and their activities.

OMG, Jack Johnson concert
One More Generation at the
Jack Johnson Concert, Atlanta
Jack Johnson and his team chose OMG to include as one local nonprofit in his All At Once concert in Atlanta. This year’s "All At Once" campaign focused on supporting non-profit groups, engaging fans in the realms of sustainable local food systems and plastic free initiatives. OMG was chosen because of their week long Plastic and Recycling Awareness Curriculum.

The OMG Team hosted the Atlanta Premiere of Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Journalist/Filmmaker Angela Sun on December 1st. Angela follows scientists, researchers, and volunteers who shed light on how pervasive plastic pollution has become. The film demonstrates the devastating effect of plastic on the oceans, sea life, and even humans.

The event brought a full house, packed with various dignitaries from the metro area as well as many families. A brief Q&A session followed where the audience voiced their concerns and offered suggestions to solve our growing plastics problems. The youth in attendance shared disbelief, anger, and frustration that their generation will have to deal with the issue and effects of plastic pollution. Many want the OMG team to bring the documentary to their schools to teach their peers the severity of the issue of plastic pollution.


A few special events mark 2013 for The Plastic Pollution Coalition. Their cause for plastic free travel paired with some ideas from Beth Terry spurred communications with Virgin America Airlines about plastic.  The results? Virgin passengers at San Francisco Airport Terminal 2  can now top off their own reusable water bottles at the terminal’s hydration station. In First Class, ceramic ramekins replace plastic Kova cups, and soon passengers will be able to view Plastic Pollution Coalition’s “Plastic Pollution Travel Solutions” video as in-flight video entertainment!

Finding solutions is what the Plastic Pollution Coalition is all about.  The year showed success with their “Think Beyond Plastic” contest, which urges us all to seek out durable and long lasting items to suit our daily needs.  Check out the video!

The "All At Once" campaign made an impact to those unaware of the perils of our plastic habits as the Plastic Pollution Coalition teamed up with Jack Johnson on his 2013 "From Here To Now To You" Concert Tour. “All At Once” began as a social action network connecting nonprofits with people who want to become active in their local and world community, and continues to grow.  All At Once is online and at the Jack Johnson concerts where education and inspiration bring fans face-to-face with national non-profits including The Plastic Pollution Coalition. The Program promotes sustainable local food systems and plastic free initiatives.
Jack Johnson - All At Once

2013 has been big year for the The Reuser!  Terra Heilman quit her “day job” after more than six years working as a waste reduction specialist. Recycling is important, but as she learned more about recycling, she realized her passion was for waste reduction through thoughtful, classy consumption.

Terra's new consulting business is a mission of “widening audiences for sustainable products.” There are so many great products in support of a sustainable lifestyle. She found as she talked about them, many had never heard of these products, much less tried them out.

The goal for Terra Linda Consulting is to encourage sustainable consumption. This includes use of reusable water bottles, coffee cups, grocery totes, straws, etc. on-screen as well as through putting together events like Check ‘Em Off, Green, where people can check everyone off their holiday list in a “green” way. Another way to widen audiences is to encourage corporations to give sustainable gifts for their end-of-year client thank-you’s; TLC offers sustainable gift bags for this purpose. Maybe someday TLC can recommend our etched straws for their corporate sustainable gifts!

Looking forward to seeing what adventures 2014 brings, Terra encourages us all to sip, drink, eat, and experience life sustainably!

2014 is sure to be an exciting year!
We continue to follow our inspiring friends and their activities as we ship our glass straws worldwide. Together we make a difference!

GlassDharma supports organizations that help our environment.
Do you have a plastic free cause?  We welcome Guest Blog posts!  Please contact Cheryl Newcomb with your ideas!  Email:  cn (at)
Our fundraising program can produce cash profits for your organization!  Please contact Gail Johnson for details.  Email: Gail (at)

Listed below are links to some Facebook pages we love.  We hope you will check them out and join in their conversations.

Balloons Blow -

Rechusable -

GlassDharma -

5gyres -

2handsproject -

Plastic Free July -

Surfrider Foundation -

My Plastic Free Life -

It Starts With Me -

One More Generation -

The Reuser -

Save Our Beach - Seal Beach -

Be Straw Free -

The Plastic Pollution Coalition -

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Greener Holidays

Holiday Traditions for Greener Living 

Traditions during the Holidays pass from generation to generation.  Many traditions evolve and change out of necessity, such as a change in location. The same ingredients may not be readily available for that special holiday recipe, or the gatherings of friends and family might have to change. What about creating traditions with conscious awareness that will serve generations many years from now? Adopting new practices for a greener Holiday is a gift in itself, making way for new habits that benefit our environment. Teaching these practices to future generations will ensure the expansion of an eco-conscious lifestyle and happy holiday traditions for many years to come.

glass straw, cranberry, cocktail
Festive Cranberry Cocktail
Why think "green" for the Holidays? According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of household garbage in the United States increases by an estimated twenty five percent between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.  Thinking of our estimated average of 4 million tons of trash every month becoming a whopping five million tons during the Holidays does not seem to dictate the Spirit of the Season!

Thankfully, many people are choosing to make some changes in their traditions to ensure a smaller Holiday footprint. It turns out, many hosts and hostesses are coming full circle with the traditions of old, choosing cloth napkins, reusable dishes, and reusable wrappings for their Holiday celebrations. Consider the lifecycle of the gifts you buy for others - will the gift be useful in the long run? Gifts of Reusable items to replace single use items automatically reduce waste long after the Holidays are over, and are actually preferred over their disposable counterparts. Reuseable water bottles, straws, and cloth towels, will keep on giving the gift of less waste for many years to come!

The GlassDharma Facebook timeline shows a recent post by Kelley, who uses Furoshiki inspired wrapping techniques: "I wrap gifts in fabric. I bought a variety of yards of pretty holiday fabrics a few years ago, and I reuse the pieces every year. I make fabric bows and tie with yarn. I saw a book about a Japanese tradition/art of wrapping with fabric and thought it was beautiful. I am getting better at it every year. Sometimes I sew a gift bag that can be reused."

reuse, glass straw, hemp sleeves, stocking, holiday
Glass Straws and Hemp Sleeves
Kat added to this comment thread, "We don't buy wrapping paper, bows etc. we reuse paper bags, I get end rolls of newspaper from work and let the kids color to decorate, and we reuse gift bags or wrap things in towels as part of the gift. We make most of our gifts and make gift tags out of old Christmas cards."

The sharing of these ideas is a powerful way to expand personal habits to traditions that others can adopt, much like the sharing of recipes. Some of these comment threads on GlassDharma’s Facebook are full of ideas from others who desire to reduce waste as they inspire each other.

Angela, Inside Sales Rep at GlassDharma, likes the idea of "tree free" Holiday cards, fashioning Holiday cards from recycled paper shopping bags, maps, and junk mail, or even choosing e-cards in place of paper cards.  She also suggests purchasing reusable gifts and combining online shopping orders to reduce the shipping footprint.

More suggestions for greener gifts include:
  • Get creative with ornaments- hand make ornaments from decorations that may no longer be intact like a broken garland or snow-globe, even figurines from an incomplete set.
  • Re-use socks for stockings, or make your own from discarded clothing or tablecloths
  • Dinner out, movie/concert tickets, postage stamps, or gift certificates that are not plastic (think GlassDharma),
  • Make your favorite Holiday cookies or breads for extended family and friends as delicious gifts everyone will love
  • The gift of your time to aid others with their duties may be a most cherished gift to friends and family.
  • Charitable donations in the name of the recipient may provide a meaningful way to express your kindness for those with passions of their own.  Support environmental awareness organizations, a church, or the local symphony for just a couple of suggestions.
Holiday decorating?  It pays to look around your local area for ideas.

Chris shares this lovely idea for those that live on the coast: "Instead of buying (and then throwing away) garland every year, we made awesome sparkly 'garland' with random pieces of sea glass collected at the ocean."

Live in the mountains?  How about a wreath made of pinecones?

The Audubon Society has some great tips on decorating including:
  • Buying a live tree that can be replanted
  • Decorate your indoor tree with biodegradable items from nature such as seedpods, berries, dried flowers, or nutshells
  • Decorate an outdoor tree just for wildlife... String popcorn, dried fruit, or peanuts in a shell
Visit for more these wonderful ideas and more!

LED lights are the best choice!  Read the environmental study that gives LED’s the thumbs up.

California Figs are in
 Season for Holiday Baking
Consider the source of ingredients for your favorite Holiday meals. When you can, buy local! While some Farmers Markets may not be active through the Winter months, there are other ways to stay committed to your nearby farmers. You can join a Community Supported Agriculture Program , but it is just as easy as to check the grocery store labels. This helps cut down on your footprint when less resources are used to get these items on the shelves. Please do not forget your reusable shopping bags!

Do you know about different kinds of plastics that are used for making toys?  The toys made from PVC plastic are not best choices.  Vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a known human carcinogen. PVC plastic is also known to be the least recycled plastic that makes up many of the toys on the store shelves.

It is important to consider packaging when shopping for Holiday gifts, decorations and foods. The gift itself may be reusable, but where do those wrappings go once the gift is opened?  Thankfully, many companies are mindful of their packaging footprint and have policies to ensure your gift reaches it's destination without compromising our planet's resources.

How about a gift to yourself! The high stress factor does not have to lurk around the quest for Holiday cheer.  Maybe it is time to ditch a few of the traditions that distract from enjoying time with family and friends.  What about pledging to choose less stress and simplify your life?  You might actually expand this idea over the years and focus on meaningful moments as you reduce the excess busywork that often accompanies the Season. Start now by taking the simple living pledge!

persimmons, spices, holiday, food, local, fresh
Persimmons for Holiday Cuisine