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 - 

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. 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

Adding video on 7/6/2013:

Baby loggerhead turtles - Bonaire from Nathalia Castro on Vimeo.


  1. This trash problem really ruin lots of beautiful beaches. People should be more responsible to their environment. I love the advocacy that you have started and I wish success for you and your group.

  2. We have added a recent video to this post, we find it inspiring! Yes, much success to all of Earth's and Earth's Creature's advocates! :)