Monday, November 28, 2011

Speaking of Glass

FaceBook is a valuable tool that many of us use to stay connected with each other and the establishments we patronize. Businesses and their customers now have a social forum to interact and exchange information and ideas. As the GlassDharma community grows on FaceBook, it is apparent that GlassDharma customers want more than a product that helps to save our planet from excessive waste. The world becomes a little smaller as we can easily converse with other Facebook users and answer questions as they are asked.

Recently, a discussion was initiated by “Angie”. She was curious about where our glass comes from. Not just the location of the supplier we use, but where exactly our materials were manufactured. She explained that she has some concerns about buying serve-ware and drink-ware that was made from materials that originated in China. She had read about colored glass tubing coming from Asian markets and wanted to be sure of the origin of the products she was contemplating purchasing.

It is important to note that once upon a time, during the beginning of GlassDharma’s existence, colored glass straws were offered as part of the product line. They were made of the same colored tubing that Angie spoke of. It was soon decided by GlassDharma management that the quality and availability was too inconsistent for quality control purposes. Some of the colored tubing shipments had come into the loading docks at GlassDharma only to be returned due to surface scratching imperfections.

clear glass tubing
Some of the tubing that was received was out of round, they were actually oval shaped. Also, a full palette of color was brought into stock in several sizes that were needed only to discover that a certain color in a particular size would be unavailable for months at a time. They also discovered that what was called “heavy-wall tubing” was actually a medium wall thickness as compared to other brands on the market.

Moreover, the biggest concern was not being able to verify that the glass was being manufactured under ethical working conditions. Needless to say, these were unsatisfactory standards for GlassDharma, so the line was eliminated.

Angie’s FaceBook questions made their way to GlassDharma Owner/Founder, David Leonhardt who expanded on the fact of where GlassDharma glass materials originate. David explains, “There is not any borosilicate tubing manufactured in the USA. Simax is made in the Czech Republic. Pyrex is made in Japan. Schott is made in Germany, etc.” With a sigh in his voice, he declares, “yes, we have done a good job of sending work outside of the USA.”

Angie was particularly interested in the origin of the colored glass used to create the “Decorative Dots” that are fused to the outside of the straw. The “Decorative Dots” line is a signature line of GlassDharma straws.

David continues his explanation, “Colored tubing is made exclusively in China. Colored borosilicate (solid rod) is made by about 6 or 7 companies located in the USA, Australia and Canada as well as several other countries, including China. For GlassDharma Decorative Dots, we select the colors according to the color palette needed by our design. Each company that makes colored borosilicate rod makes anywhere from 12 to 120 colors and there is very little overlap, so our options are severely limited.”
Quality Control at GlassDharma

“GlassDharma recognizes that trade with China is the wave of the future, but it is also part of the present – just look at how much of the computer you are reading this on comes from China. However, until we can verify the working conditions there, we are choosing to eliminate our use of glass from China.

Angie thanks David for the information but is still leery of buying beverage-ware with the possibility of Chinese manufactured glass as a part of it's design. (Update by Editor: GlassDharma used China made glass for the Amber Decorative Dots design during the time Angie was questioning the materials used for GlassDharma straws.  Recently, a suitable replacement was discovered that is not China made. April 14, 2012)

She lets GlassDharma know this through the comment thread, “I really don't like to use anything from China that I will be eating off of or drinking out of, but would have loved to get your straws to reuse.”

Angie is urged to look into the ‘Beautiful Bends’ or the ‘Simple Elegance’ styles that require no use of colored glass in their making. The discussion continues and Angie asks, “Which country does your clear glass come from?”

GlassDharma buys clear borosilicate tubing from a supplier in California, the brand of tubing GlassDharma has been using until recently is Simax® from the Czech Republic. They have now switched over to Schott® which comes from Germany.

Angie concluded the discussion thread with the fact that she had decided to ordered her GlassDharma Straws!
"Decorative Dots" made with clear Glass

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friends of Glass

When David was a young boy, he remembers his mother putting away leftovers in a serving bowl. If there was not a matching lid, a dinner-plate was used to cover the food contained while stored in the refrigerator. It was a time when the milkman left milk on the porch in thick glass bottles and condiments, foods and beverages were packaged in glass. If you were thirsty, you had a “glass” of water. Even small children learned to drink from glassware, there were no sippy cups.

As the years rolled by, David Leonhardt began to pursue his interest in lampworking glass. His hobby soon became his profession and his passion. The beauty of the glass caught his attention at a time when glass products were quickly being replaced with more and more plastic. After 10 years, he changed careers to business accounting only to find, seven years later, that a purposeful change of location led him right back to his craft as a lampworker.

“I started doing some work for a local glass shop in town and noticed that the owner had glass drinking straws for sale,” states David in his website. “I had never heard of these before and I am always intrigued by something made out of glass that I hadn’t thought of. I was struck by the unique elegance in such a simple item.”

“I immediately recognized that here was a partial solution to our “plastics problem”. So, I created the GlassDharma line of glass drinking straws and the GlassDharma website to contribute one solution to the overabundance of single use plastics in our society.”

The quest to formulate the most durable glass products possible led David straight to the technical support staff at Corning, Inc. where he found answers, backed by science, to the “art” of the annealing process.

Baffled by the variety of answers he had received from other lampworkers about the annealing process, David implemented what he learned from Corning, Inc. and subsequently developed an annealing process, “which has been one of the cornerstones of our Company’s success”. Simply by focusing on durability.

Did you know GlassDharma Straws are guaranteed for life against breakage?! Also the taste of drinking though glass straws versus reusable straws made from other materials has been a big convincing factor to those who have tried GlassDharma glass straws for the first time. They are easy to clean, suitable for hot and cold beverages, and have a smooth feel to your lips thanks to their fire-polished finish.

David Leonhardt and Gail Johnson, owners of GlassDharma since 2007 are committed to the environmental mission behind the manufacturing and sales of their products. Each time someone chooses to reuse their glass straw, one more single-use plastic straw is not made. As one takes a baby step by applying this idea to one small, ordinary item, it ignites the spiraling thought process… and the idea of choosing to re-use takes on an application to bigger things.

Note for the Editor of "Blog in a Bottle":
 "David and his wife, Gail are also ambassadors of Friends of Glass who help us spread the positive word. We couldn’t be any prouder."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Message On a Straw

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sip The World. Taste The Difference!

GlassDharma – The Original Glass Straw, handmade in the U.S.A
(Fort Bragg – CA) –September 28, 2011 – Custom Etching is now available on GlassDharma Glass Straws. Personalization brings new possibilities to this latest eco-trend to carry your own reusable glass straw so you can say, “No Thanks!” to single-use plastic straws.

The Statement of a Glass Straw
Corporate logos and Wedding mementos spell out a double message when elegantly etched onto a glass straw. Companies known for their commitment to environmental concerns will send their powerful message when their logo is clearly displayed on these beautiful straws. Planning a green wedding? Include Bride and Groom names and the special date showing your Love and Commitment for each other and for our Planet. Etched glass straws add the detailed touch to the signature cocktail, customizing your barware service or as an elegant favor for special celebrations.

Purchasing Etched Glass Straws
Set up costs include a 50 straw minimum to qualify for best pricing. Unique requests may vary so please contact GlassDharma for details and recommendations. Orders will typically ship within a two to three week timeframe. Please let our staff know how we might assist you with your special requests.

GlassDharma Straws are Durable, Sustainable and Elegant
GlassDharma straws are made from borosilicate glass, the safest and strongest glass commercially available; they are even dishwasher and microwave safe! 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 repaired or replaced. Although every straw we make comes with our Hassle-Free Lifetime Guarantee against breakage, due to the high setup costs, we cannot guarantee the etching on the straw. If your etched straw should ever break, we will gladly replace it without the etching. If you want to have your replacement straw etched, you would need to pay the setup cost.

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 stages specialty drinks – bubble teas, iced drinks, shakes and smoothies
• Beautiful in cocktails – great accessory for stemware and martini glasses
• Concerned about staining your teeth? Use for wine, coffee and teas
• Kid friendly and safe
• 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 soft sleeves for carrying your straws on the go.

GlassDharma Glass Straws bring the new eco-definition to “Sipping Responsibly”.

For more information on GlassDharma, please visit www.glassdharma.com.

For high-resolution images, samples, and to learn more…

David Leonhardt, Pres.                        
GlassDharma Head Office
info@glassdharma.com
707.964.9350
                               
Gail Johnson, V-Pres.
Partnerships and Promotions
gail@glassdharma.com
707.964.9350

Cheryl Newcomb, PublicRelations
cn@glassdharma.com
209.406.2881



Sunday, September 25, 2011

New! Packaging for Store Display!

"She got me on the plastic tape!" declared David Leonhardt during a staff meeting in 2008.  His exclamation was in reference to Beth Terry's Blog review of GlassDharma Glass Straws.  David saw this strike against his trying to become totally environmentally freindly with his business as an opportunity to learn and take his own eco-minded attitudes to the next level.

Shipping GlassDharma Glass Straws with priority on the ecological effect of the packaging is a number one priority!  Many ideas, designs and recommended options were scrapped during the process of finding packing friendly, user friendly and store/shelf ready options that keep our environment's well-being in mind. Numerous consultations with many experts in the area of eco options and packaging have taken place over the span of time since GlassDharma Glass Straws made their debut. The careful weighing of materials and costs have produced some exciting discoveries and results.

Coming Soon!!
Are you operating a brick & mortar storefront?
GlassDharma is going to make it easy for glass straws to fly out the door!

Starting in October, GlassDharma will be shipping with new packaging designed to be displayed with standard peg hook, slatboard display systems.

We are taking pre-orders for our display system and here is what you get:
248 Straws
64 Cleaning Brushes
36 Hemp Sleeves

= $1481.50 Total value, plus freight

Here’s how GlassDharma will sweeten the deal for wholesale accounts. Pre-order the complete display system by October 1st and you will receive:
-$181.50 Discount
-$100.00 No charge for the display rack
-$75.00 Free freight (estimated) (US only, international orders receive a $75.00 credit)
-$356.50 Total estimated savings (approx 22.5%)

= $1200.00 Total cost for display rack and inventory shipped to you

You say you prefer our online shipping friendly packaging we have now? No worries – our current packaging will still be available for online retailers.

Or methods of keeping EarthCare forefront as we pack our reusable Glass Straws for transport are described below:

• Corrugated cardboard: 40% recycled content, 15% post consumer content (We just can’t get any higher recycled content without jeopardizing package stability.) Chipboard boxes/sleeves: 100% recycled 97% post consumer content.
• We use organic cotton balls when packaging the shorty straws for online shipping.
• We use a spray glue on packaging that is water based and non-toxic. The can, including the cap and nozzle is completely recyclable.
• Shipping filler: We design our packing for minimal if any filler. When filler is used, used newspapers plus any compostable reused paper products are used.
• Shipping tape: Paper shipping tape.

We are happy to manufacture and pack our products while keeping eco-mindful of our beautiful surroundings that we share with each of you, our customers from around the Globe.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"I Love My Straws!"

You might think that GlassDharma straw users would would be somewhat disgruntled if their glass straw accidentally breaks. Thanks to the GlassDharma Lifetime Guarantee Against Breakage, this occasional occurrence will bring the broken straw back “home” to the GlassDharma manufacturing facility for repair or replacement. The unprecedented GlassDharma Guarantee applies as a means of Quality Control - as well as making sure loyal glass straw users will continue to choose reusable over single-use and plastic straw options.

GlassDharma Glass Straws have a special claim to fame. One exceptional variable is GlassDharma’s specific formula used in the annealing process that produces the highest tensile strength possible for their Borosilicate Glass Products. The durability of GlassDharma straws will not deem them totally unbreakable, however. Some sippers may be tempted to “test” the durability factor and if they do, they are often surprised. But, please know that this type of experimentation may exclude you as a recipient of the Lifetime Guarantee Against Breakage.

There are two main reasons that a GlassDharma straw might break:
1. They are made of “real” glass.
2. Glass Straw care handling may vary.

Sipper Safety is a main concern of David Leonhardt who makes sure that the GlassDharma Guarantee process is followed through as quickly as possible. “I would never want someone to be tempted to keep using a cracked or chipped or defective straw. We offer this Guarantee to ensure 100% quality.”

Unlike many other companies, The GlassDharma Guarantee Against Breakage does not require a special replacement fee or the typical customer paid shipping cost for the replacement straw. Simply send the broken straw back to GlassDharma following the instructions on the website.

Many customers that return a broken straw for repair or replacement include a note that often contains three components:
1. An apology for not being more careful in handling choices.
2. Expression of gratitude for the quality of the product and its function.
3. The all-inclusive phrase, “I love my straws!”

“I can’t think of a business or product that honors a guarantee to replace a broken item that the feedback is so positive,” exclaims Gail Johnson as she tacks another “I love my straws” testimonial to the bulletin board. “Many of our customers express compliments to us about the product and appreciate the guarantee and customer service. How many people joyfully return a product to a company for replacement with positive testimony to the product’s worthiness?”


http://www.smallstepsonourjourney.com/
In response to an email from a customer asking about appropriate ages for children using glass straws, David writes, “As for children, we have a very large customer base that includes kids (even toddlers). We always advise age appropriate supervision. We have not had a single report of any injuries. If they can learn to drink out of glass (instead of a sippy cup), they should be able to learn to handle glass straws – the danger factor in my mind would be the same. Obviously, if a straw becomes chipped or broken it should not be used. This is one reason we offer our Lifetime Guarantee against Breakage. Return any broken or chipped straw made by GlassDharma to us and we will gladly replace it.” Gail adds, “No sword fights - please”.

GlassDharma maintains the highest integrity sales and service, honoring customers with a superb product and rapid delivery. Each step taken is to make sure that sipping through glass straws is safe, enjoyable and a step toward learning how to say no to single-use plastics.

If you have not yet joined the “I Love My Straws” Club, consider this post an open invitation!

---------------

Some Testimonials from our growing “I Love My Straws” Club.

“I just can’t tell you how much I am enjoying the glass straws. When my friends and I meet for dinner, I pull out a clean straw for everyone and we enjoy our drinks and dinner in style, refusing the plastic straws offered. I had never realized how many straws that we use… at work, getting drinks at fast-food places and at restaurants. Just one person can use several in one day and never give it a thought! I am becoming aware of how wasteful we all are.

"Thanks again for a great product and your awesome customer service. I will continue to pass your information on to others.” – Joy L.

And from Texas-
"My glass straws remain my very favorite 'green' purchase" – Sheri F.

From FaceBook:
Meagan wrote: "Wow!! I love it! Congrats David! Can't wait to see where you go with it. My straws you made are indispensable :)"

“Love them! Thanks!” L.M. Seattle, WA

“Mr. Sippy took a 2 ft dive out of a water glass and much have hit his ‘head’ just right….): But we love (triple underline) these straws!!!! (:” A.F. Green Bay, WI

“Love your straws; they just can’t quite handle a fall from our kitchen counter top to the tile floor. We’ll be more careful!” M.V. Norman, OK

“My husband bought me 2 of these – I love them. I use them for tea drinking. Please send me another straw soon!” S.D. Lake Wales, FL

“My husband broke his straw. Thank you for replacing it”. D.S. Tucson, AZ

“Please replace. Can’t live without it!!!” M.M. Placentia, CA

“I want to say thank you in advance for replacing my straw. Unfortunately it fell on the tile floor after my glass tipped over. I used this straw everyday since I received it and have to tell you I think it is great! Thanks again for replacing it.”  J.K. Palm Springs, FL

“The straw was part of a gift to me from a past boyfriend… He gave me two sets of four Decorative Dots straws, and I absolutely LOVE them. I was hoping to get more for Christmas or my upcoming birthday, but if not, I will be purchasing more!” S.W. Pensacola FL

“P.S. Love your straws!” D.P. Pinellas Park, FL

“Dear GlassDharma,
Apologies but one of our lovely new glass straws has broken. We are returning it for repair/replacement. We love the straws. They are brilliant. Thank you so much” G.Q. Wales, Britian

“I love the set of 4 I bought….Thanks so much!!” S.R. Kamuela, HI

“Thank you – my toddler & I LOVE your straws and use them daily! (:” N.C. Orlando, FL

“…Love your straws & so do my readers!” B.M. Portland, OR

“Thank you very much. Your straws are great. We use them to avoid plastic leaching into our drinks.” P.F. Camarillo, CA

“Sorry ): We love our straws…” K. C. Goleta, CA

“Love your product and have turned lots of others on to it.” C.V. Livermore, CA

“Hi! Love the set of four straws that I bought…..Please repair or replace..Thank you! L.B. Delray, FL.

"I went to the PO the other day and got my straws. I LOVE THEM! I wasn't totally convinced that I would use them, as I don't normally use straws, but they are great with the latest 'cocktails' that I am drinking."  D.E. Stockton, CA

Friday, June 3, 2011

Press Release - June 2011 - Sip The World. Taste The Difference!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sip The World. Taste The Difference!

GlassDharma – The Original Glass Straw, handmade in the U.S.A


(Fort Bragg – CA) –June 3, 2011 – Glass Straws are the latest eco-trend with GlassDharma leading the way as more and more people across the globe say “No Thanks!” to plastic straws. Known for their uniqueness, strength, and beauty, GlassDharma straws are about the best life has to offer - healthy living promoting a healthy world with a “touch of glass”.

Glass Straws – Reuse and Reduce
David Leonhardt, founder and master lampworker at GlassDharma, believes in the mission behind his exquisite glass straw product line. David explains how Reusing glass straws Reduces the waste that shows up in our landfills and the oceans. “My commitment is 3-fold - creating the highest quality, most durable glass straws, having them be elegant and stylish and for them to serve an important purpose! As I work with other people in the sustainable living community, educating people about the benefits of glass and the negative effects of plastic, I benefit in return, by learning more about living with a greener footprint.”

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 repaired or replaced. GlassDharma straws are made from borosilicate glass, the safest and strongest glass commercially available; they are even dishwasher and microwave safe! The GlassDharma team is so confident with their product, that they will extend a full refund if a customer is not satisfied. When asked how reusable steel straws compare to GlassDharma glass straws, David states, “We have been told that people don’t like the metallic taste, and that they love the ability to see that their GlassDharma straws are sparkling clean on the inside especially when they use our stainless steel cleaning brushes! Try them and let us know what you think!”

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 stages specialty drinks – bubble teas, iced drinks, shakes and smoothies
• Beautiful in cocktails – great accessory for stemware and martini glasses
• Concerned about staining your teeth? Use for wine, coffee and teas
• Kid friendly and safe
• 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 soft sleeves for carrying your straws on the go.

I Love My Straws!
The most common phrase heard at GlassDharma from their customers. Create your own GlassDharma Experience and you too will become a member of the “I Love My Straws” fan club! Take your GlassDharma straw in your favorite GlassDharma Hemp Sleeve on the go and taste the difference while you are making a difference!

GlassDharma Glass Straws bring the new eco-definition to “Sipping Responsibly”.

For more information on GlassDharma, please visit www.glassdharma.com.

For high-resolution images, samples, and to learn more…

David Leonhardt - President
GlassDharma Head Office
info (at) glassdharma.com
http://glassdharma.com/

Gail Johnson - Vice President
artnerships and Promotions
gail (at) glassdharma.com

Cheryl Newcomb - PR Dept.
Public Relations & Marketing
cn (at) glassdharma.com


Friday, April 29, 2011

600 LETTERS!

Wow! over 600 letters have been mailed to favorite restaurants asking them to look into ways to reduce their trash - specifically - straw trash!

Why straws?

Think how many you have used in a lifetime ... where do they go once you have finished your beverage?

Earth Day 2011 - GlassDharma "write a letter for a free glass straw" campaign continues through April 30th. There is still time to get a free straw! - But wait - There is a momentum that seems not so much about getting a free glass straw... might the letters continue and multiply?

We want to thank our dedicated Blog Team for helping us get word out that each of us is able to do something to improve our Home Planet that we all share together. Yes, we are all roomates - sort of..... we need to get along and keep things cleaned up! :)

Introducing our Earth Day 2011 Blog team:

Safer Choices

My Plastic Free Life

It Starts With Me

Sip The World

Retro Housewife Goes Green

Clean Eating Chelsey

Seven In The Ocean

It’s not the destination

The Green Phone Booth

That’s The Spirit

More importantly, We thank YOU! Over 500 letter writers that approached their favorite Establishments asking them to lead the way to better future......

Not everyone was so excited about the 2011 Earth Day Capmpiagn.

David Leonhardt recieved this email from Ginger:
"I came upon your website and found it interesting. The concept seems fine but I don't see how it would work. Are you suggesting that people bring their own glass straws to the restaurant? I can't see the restaurant providing these since they seem to be pricey.

I don't really think that I would have a use for them. I am concerned about the cleaning and breakage issue and what if the children chew on these. I do not think this is something that I would trust for use with my little grandson. I can see that over time there could be an issue with chipping and that could lead to something serious. I think that this is an expense that people could do without. Thank you for your time."

His response:
"Thank you for your concerns and comments.

I am not a big straw user either except when it comes to thick shakes or smoothies (My wife Gail is though). Yes, why do we need a beverage delivery system, anyway? Well the fact is, is that there are plenty of folks out there that do use straws. And they might as well be sustainable if they do. McDonald’s serves over 60 MILLION meals a DAY!! How many do you thing were given plastic straws? Straws are here to stay – we just need to make them more sustainable. And, yes, many folks do carry their straw with them. Sometimes with their To-GoWare or similar paraphernalia similar to folks that bring their own grocery bags when shopping.

As for children, we have a very large customer base that includes kids (even toddlers). We always advise age appropriate supervision. We have not had a single report of any injuries. If they can learn to drink out of glass (instead of a sippy cup), they should be able to learn to handle glass straws – the danger factor in my mind would be the same. Obviously, if a straw becomes chipped or broken it should not be used. This is one reason we offer our Lifetime Guarantee against Breakage. Return any broken or chipped straw made by GlassDharma to us and we will gladly replace it.

As for the cleaning; we offer cleaning brushes and for carrying your straw with you, we offer hemp sleeves.

As for pricing, yes 1 glass straw costs much more than a plastic one, but the plastic one is used once and thrown away (BTW - where is away?). We have reports of folks that buy plastic straws by the box repeatedly. A glass straw will last a lifetime – much cheaper in the long run.

All in all, our society has a disposable mentality and plastic has certainly filled that mind set. However, we are just now finding out how damaging plastic is to the environment and to our bodies. If you have not heard much about this, I recommend Beth Terry’s blog “myplasticfreelife.com”. She is an excellent writer and researcher on the subject of plastic and entertaining as well.

My hope is that I have alleviated at least some of your concerns as stated in our email. I welcome civil conversations with differing viewpoints and if I have not addressed your concerns to your satisfaction, I invite you to continue this conversation."

Sip The World recieved so many comments so quickly that the comments section got all jammed up (a nice problem to have)!  If you are having trouble posting in the comments section, please use this post or any of the above mentioned posts.  Your letter counts!

We are all in this together!

Now here is a very cool part of the whole story: Through this campaign, GlassDharma has connected with Milo Cress! It turns out that Milo and GlassDharma community members were doing the exact same thing!


See this video --> http://www.wptz.com/news/27123771/detail.html

Check out some more suggestions from Milo.  Thank you, Milo!

Happy Earth Day - Please Sip Responsibly!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Earth Day 2011 - Free Glass Straws!

David Leonhardt walks along the beaches of the Mendocino Coastline, occasionally bending down to pick up a piece of trash to carry away with him in an effort to preserve the beauty of this magnificent area. He realizes how futile some would think this simple act is to remove a couple of pieces of trash, when the problem of more trash seems so daunting. Yet, most of David’s philosophies about making the world a better place start with a simple item, a simple act, a simple change in habit. He believes in the power of just starting somewhere… and how a simple, small act can gain momentum and become the catalyst for greater solutions that have a huge impact!

David and Teddy on Mendocino Beach - David is holding a broken plastic oar that he found lying on the beach.

David founded his Company, GlassDharma on the idea and principle of starting with something small, simple and ordinary, a drinking straw! This example of replacing an everyday single-use plastic item with a reusable straw has become a “teaching tool” that inspires many to make a switch toward reducing waste and eliminating the need for plastics in general. His vision of a clean Planet and Healthy environment for all who live here is only attainable if we just start somewhere. Awareness is the key toward action.

For Earth Day 2009, GlassDharma gave away Free Glass Straws. Determined to get 500 free glass straws into the hands (or lips) of those who never considered the impact of “throw away” straws, was David’s goal and he succeeded well beyond that number. Earth Day 2010, he and his wife, Gail Johnson approached CafĂ© Gratitude with the idea to co-brand 1000 Glass Straws to give away at their locations. The successful Earth Day project brought together ideas and philosophies of Food and Gratitude linking to a desire for Planet Care.

 As Earth Day 2011 draws near, David turns to his trusted friends and mentors, the Blogger Community who faithfully promotes his Company and products. The group quickly brought forth ideas to expand on the idea of giving away free glass straws and how the “gift” might produce the most impact.

 You are invited to participate in The GlassDharma Free Glass Straw Giveaway for Earth day 2011!

To enter, simply choose a restaurant and write a letter to the managers/owners suggesting they take responsibility for the growing amounts of single use straw trash that is clogging waterways, choking wildlife and littering our entire Planet. The letter is intended to spur thought and contain helpful suggestions of how they can be leaders in the changes that will heal our Earth’s trash problems. Keep in mind there are many people that do not even give a thought to where plastic straws might go to once they are “thrown away” or just how many accumulate over time!
This link will show some example suggestions to restaurants. http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html

Here are the steps to take to win a your free GlassDharma Glass Straw and qualify for the Grand Prize of $100.00 Gift Certificate for GlassDharma products:
1) Write and send a letter to a restaurant -- (up to 5 different restaurants for up to 5 free straws)
2) Copy your letter (please include full contact information of the restaurant) into a comment on this blog.
3) Send an email to earthday@glassdharma.com with a copy of your letter and please include the contact info of the restaurant AND your personal contact info so that a free GlassDharma Glass Straw can be mailed to you.
Note: *Contact information for entrants and restaurants must include, full name, mailing address and email address.

A GlassDharma Simple Elegance Glass Straw (SE9.5NA8) will be mailed to each participant directly from the GlassDharma manufacturing facility in Fort Bragg, CA for writing the letter and including the contact information. Yes, each participant gets a free glass straw!  One free straw per entry (limit 5 per participant, one for each letter/restaurant).

 GlassDharma will award one Grand Prize Winner a $100.00 gift certificate coupon code. There will be a few bloggers involved in this project, but only one Grand Prize Winner. Entries will be received through 4/30/2011 and all straws will be shipped between May 2nd and 4th. The Grand Prize drawing will be held on May 4, 2011.


*Participants from USA and Canada only will be eligible for this contest.

 Some additional Earth Day 2011 promotions hosted by GlassDharma include:

Earth Month Special Buy a “Shorty” bamboo straw case and a cleaning brush to receive a free 12mm X 6.25” Shorty” Glass Straw!


Finally, but more importantly GlassDharma reaches out to Japan in this time of great need. David Leonhardt and Gail Johnson are designating 100% of your purchase dollars for a SE9.5x8 inch glass straw to be sent directly to the city of Otsuchi, sister town of the GlassDharma manufacturing facility location - Fort Bragg, California.

Together – we make the difference!


- Happy Earth Day 2011 – from GlassDharma -

note: As the days near the end of our campaign, our comments section has been so busy that there are a few bugs being reported.  If you are having trouble posting in our comments section there are more options:  Please see --> http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2011/04/500-letters.html
You might want to post your letter in the comments sections of either of these posts OR in any of the featured Bogs listed.  Your letter counts!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rethinking Plastics

David Leonhardt and Gail Johnson, owners of GlassDharma attended the “Rethinking Plastics” seminar on March 25th . The event was held in Fort Bragg, CA and featured Stuart Moody of Green Sangha who spoke to their own local community about the effects of plastics in our oceans and on our planet.

Their interest in this topic is at the core of why their company is manufacturing Glass Drinking Straws, presently sold in over 30 countries around the globe. Promoting the idea of reusable glass straws is a powerful tool to teach the idea of choosing reusable items vs. single use plastics. One small item like an ordinary drinking straw can spur a much broader thought process, which is applicable to other choices that are environmentally sound.  David is seen in this photo with "Teddy" as they scour the Mendocino coastline beaches for trash.

Moody is a representative and advocate of Green Sangha, an Oakland-based spiritual group dedicated to environmental activism. The philosophy of inspiring “awakened” action has helped create several active chapters in Marin, Sonoma and the East Bay. In is talk, Stuart Moody inspired Mendocino Coast residents to increase their awareness of using single-use plastics by keeping track of how much they actually use in a year.. “This includes everything from dental floss to the stickers from your organic fruit, he said. “Save it up and weigh it at the end of a year,”

He spoke of fellow Green Sangha member Beth Terry who is also a friend of Gail and David’s. Beth Terry, Founder of “My Plastic Free Life” (formerly fakeplasticfish) began with her quest by simply tracking the plastic in her life. .

Moody isn’t a plastics hater. He started the presentation by laying out the history of innovation and adaptation that made plastics one of the most amazing products in human history.

Moody spoke at the meeting, detailing the downward spiral of harm this ingenious product is causing and will continue to cause. Ideas that other communities have developed with the help of Green Sangha include setting up meetings with merchants that track the costs of single-use plastics, not just bags. Other ideas include special beach cleanups and getting people to see how long they can stick to the pledge of not buying any single-use plastics.

The event, sponsored by ‘Mendocino Coast Transition Towns’ Recycling and Reuse Working Group was co-sponsored by MendoPower Employment Services. MendoPower offered a barter pile during the meeting where people brought one or more reusable items and in return, they were invited to take an equal number away. “Reuse is really important. Recycling is often just a fancy way of throwing things away,” said Moody.

During the meeting, MendoPower detailed plans for its April 2 “Whale-of-a-Sale” Live Auction to be held at the Senior Center. Whale-of-a-Sale will raise money for both the Senior Center and MendoPower and will help to create a community recycling and reuse center as well as temporary employment services. Co-sponsor Mendocino Coast Transition Towns is part of a national and international movement to recreate new regional economies so that they are local, sustainable, and resilient.

If you were unable to attend, and would like to get involved, please email us at info@transitionmendocinocoast.org
or call Charles Cresson Wood at 707-937-5572.
Stay connected:
Join our Mendocino Coast Transition Towns listserv:
http://mcn.org/listpages/subscribe.php

Follow us on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Mendocino-Coast-Transition-Towns/146910462016439

Monday, March 7, 2011

Save Our Beach

Update: September 8, 2014 ~ New website launch for 
Save Our Beach!  http://www.saveourbeach.us/


The production of GlassDharma Glass Straws was just beginning when David Leonhardt was contacted by Kim Masoner from saveourbeach.org. Her inquiry included a plan to use a single glass straw with a bamboo carrying case for the purpose of her introductory talks to groups of volunteers who gather for Beach Cleanup sessions on Seal Beach, CA. Not only does Kim organize these groups, she uses the opportunity to suggest ideas that help us all consider our own impact on the environment.





Kim’s story:
“We started ‘Save Our Beach’ because we live along the ocean (it's literally our backyard) and we take long walks and pick up trash along the way. We were asked many times if we had any extra bags as people would see us pick up trash and they thought they'd like to help, so we started carrying extra trash bags on our walks. Then we started carrying a box of trash bags with us and setting it on the sand and people would pick up a trash bag and help out. And then we decided if there is that much interest in people that want to help, we'll just make it easier for them by conducting a Beach Cleanup on a monthly basis.”

I asked Kim about the volunteers that are involved in her beach cleanups:
“A few years ago a young man and his three young daughters participated in my beach cleanup and the dad was smoking and dropping his cigarette butts in the sand the entire time while they were participating. His youngest daughter (after being fed up with having to pick up not just trash, but her very own dad's cigarette butts) finally said "Dad, please don't drop your butts in the sand - the beach is not your ashtray!"

We didn't know about this until a few months later when the dad and his 3 daughters came back again to a cleanup and the dad confessed to me that he didn't even realize what he was doing, it was just a habit and that everyone dropped their butts along the highway or in the sand at the beach. He was so touched by his daughter letting him know that it was not okay and that she hoped that someday soon he would quit smoking.


A month later, he stopped smoking and they continue even today, participating in our cleanups to see what other habits they might be able to change.”

Kim explains how she starts each Beach Cleanup:
We currently conduct monthly Beach Cleanups in Seal Beach and in Long Beach and recently added a Los Cerritos Wetlands monthly cleanup.

At every Beach Cleanup I show my participants all the changes I've made in my day to day routine and I also tell them where to get them”. And if you want to have your own beach cleanup during the week, I can arrange for this on any beach anywhere from San Diego to Santa Monica. I supply everything – all you need to do is have participants show up!

This is where I like to show off my story boards at my beach cleanups in hopes that participants will take my lead and change everyday things in their own lives and it's been working so far!

  • I show off my glass straw and bamboo case from GlassDharma and let them know I will never need to use another plastic straw as I keep it in my glove-box of my car and I let participants know that if they break their glass straw, that Glass Dharma replaces them for free!
  • I'm collecting the cigarette lighters and straws for Algalita in Long Beach so they can make a paddle boat out of them! They've already sailed a boat from San Francisco to Sydney Australia that they made out of plastic bottles.
  • I collect foil juice packets and send them to http://www.terracycle.net/ and they send me 5 cents per packet - they recycle them into backpacks and purses.
  • I take bottles and cans to Cal State Long Beach for recycling.
  • I also show off my reusable bags from “ The Tote Buddy ” so now I never forget to bring my bags at the store - I keep them in my car.
  • And I show off my towels that I keep in my car peopletowels instead of using paper towels.
  • We now give participants Botanical Interests vegetable and herb seeds to help them start their own garden (they are donated by BI - and the participants get to choose from hundreds of varieties).
Kim continues as she shares this story:
Two years ago Phonna, a young mother of a 5 year old named Paris, emailed me. She asked if there was a way that I could possibly help her daughter have her own Beach Cleanup in Long Beach since they live in Signal Hill. Paris had seen a movie at school about how our beaches are so dirty, so she decided she wanted start her own “Go Green” campaign. So Phonna helped Paris create Evites and they sent them out to everyone they knew: classmates, teachers, relatives, neighbors and friends. And by the time the Beach Cleanup date rolled around, there were over 89 RSVPs! (How can you say no to a five year old that is asking you to join her in her own Go Green Campaign!) It was a wonderful day for all! Paris and her entire family still continue to attend my Beach Cleanup in Long Beach, CA.

  left to right:  Kim, Milan (Paris' younger sister), then Paris


HERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP: It's very easy - just take a good look at your trash. Pick one item to eliminate, and figure out how to do it. Repeat as often as you can and we well all make a big difference! Before throwing anything away, ask yourself if it could be recycled, reused by someone else , donated or composted.

"We are inspired by many people and we guarantee that if you participate in one cleanup, you'll be inspired too!" - Kim Masoner

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Straws left on beaches suck!

Within the offices of GlassDharma, communications from across the globe contain daily reminders that just one simple idea can resonate through countless communities… just one simple glass straw can be the catalyst for uniting causes and creating bridgework for thoughts about planet-care.
Just one idea, one person, a passion for clean beaches and thriving Marine life …  meet Christina from Eco Maniac Company. She loves Sea Turtles and has agreed to guest post for “Sip the World”

by Christina Trapani -

Three years ago, I started Eco Maniac Company, an online retail business offering reusable bags with fun designs. Why? Well, in the famous words of the Zombie Boy, “I like turtles.” And the beach, and the ocean, and all animals really, but especially Sea Turtles. I started Eco Maniac Company because I was sick of seeing so much trash on the beach: plastic bags, balloons, plastic drink bottles. And if it’s on the beach, even though most of us can’t see it, it’s in the ocean, and it’s affecting the animals that live in the ocean, including the charismatic Sea Turtles.

Sea Turtles have been around for millions of years, wandering the world’s oceans, many travelling thousands of miles every year. As we enter into 2011, six of the seven sea turtle species on this planet are considered either threatened or endangered. Many young turtles spend their first years drifting with sea grass in warmer waters, often miles away from human civilization, feasting on small critters living in those grasses with them. Throughout their lives, they survive on crabs, shellfish, jellyfish, sea grass, etc., depending on species, age and location. They live in the sea, and that is all they know. So when our trash finds its way into their garden, their buffet, they don’t know that it can kill them.
Loggerhead Hatchling  by Barbara Bergwerf - http://bergwerfgraphics.com 

So many pieces of trash, especially single use plastics, end up in our oceans and float into convergence zones, also often referred to as garbage patches. As plastic degrades, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, and often gets caught up in the sea grass.What do these little pieces look like to a hungry Sea Turtle? They look like they are edible! Too much plastic in a gut can cause a blockage and inevitable starvation. With any luck, it will pass through, surely leaching non-turtle friendly chemicals along the way. Watch Synthetic Sea 2010 for some great information on this problem.  Seaturtle.org is a great resource for anything sea turtle. So look at these photos and see if you see anything familiar. It is a global Sea Turtle problem. Moreover, the problem expands as plastic are often found inside or wrapped around sea birds, whales, dolphins and fish.


Several days ago, while walking my three dogs, I came across a plastic straw that was on the verge of making its way into the storm drain. Despite being pulled in three different directions by my happy mutts, I picked it up, because I know that once it enters that drain, it is destined for the ocean. Ironically enough, later that day I was asked to write a blog post for Glass Dharma. As I began to really look around for straws as pollution, I began to find them; in the woods, in the marsh and on the street.

Straws made the top ten list of items picked up off beaches during the International Coastal Cleanup . Over 400,000 plastic straws and stirrers were picked up internationally. How many straws did you use last year? How many plastic straws with plastic wrappers did you use last year?


I am so excited about the Glass Straw! Thank you Glass Dharma for creating it. Eco Maniac Company is expanding its product line to include reusables other than bags. What a great opportunity the glass straw will be to strike up educational conversation! My job at Eco Maniac Company will be to help get the glass straw out to people who have been using plastic straws all along (including me). Educating and changing habits, that’s what it’s all about. This will assure the survival of my favorite critter, the Sea Turtle!

National Wildlife Refuge – Virginia Beach


footnote: every time a Sea Turtle product is purchased from Eco Maniac Company a monetary donation goes to http://seaturtle.org/

Adding video on 7/6/2013:

Baby loggerhead turtles - Bonaire from Nathalia Castro on Vimeo.