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!

4 comments:

  1. 500 letters!! Wow! That's a big statement as to how people feel about plastic straws!! We did our 59th beach clean up last night... and once again plastic straws were everywhere. (I'll be counting them momentarily) Hopefully this letter writing campaign is just the beginning of many restaurants thinking about plastic straws-- how many they use, where they go, and solutions around this huge waste.

    Thank you so much for including me as part of your team... love and gratitude to our entire team (including everyone who has taken the time to use their voice by writing letters to their favorite restaurants)! :)

    Danielle

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  2. Flight Deck
    109-A Old Chapin Road
    Lexington SC 29072

    Gilligan’s
    938 North Lake Drive
    Lexington SC 29072

    Uno Chicago Grill
    5304 Sunset Boulevard
    Lexington SC 29072

    Carolina Wings & Rib House
    105 Northpoint Drive
    Lexington SC 29072

    Lizard’s Thicket
    621 West Main Street
    Lexington SC 29072

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I constantly evaluate my life and its impact on our planet. My family loves your restaurant, and appreciate that you use durable dishes with real flatware and glasses. Our meals at your restaurant are waste free, except for one thing – the disposable plastic straws. I don’t need or want one, but unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring me one they stick a straw in my drink automatically generating plastic waste lasting for thousands of years.

    In honor of Earth Day and for all of our children, I implore you: Change your plastic straw policy!

    Please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving one. Some people don’t like straws and appreciate being asked. All others can stop and think about whether they actually need this item. This is similar to grocery stores training their employees to ask whether customers want a bag.

    If your to-go containers are single-use plastic or, even worse, Styrofoam, switch to biodegradable paper containers or compostable corn products. Even better, offer a small discount (a $1 or so) if your customer brings their own container.

    Finally, participate in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. I carry a glass straw from Glass Dharma so I don’t waste plastic. On their Web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade Program for restaurants (http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2010/11/whats-on-menu.html), which I think is a great idea.

    I appreciate your restaurant and hope you support customers like me who strive to live waste free as well as our land and resources.

    Sincerely,
    Toni XXXXXX

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  3. Chaco Canyon Cafe
    4757 12th Ave NE
    Seattle, WA 98105
    chacocanyoncafe@gmail.com

    Healeo*
    1520 15th Ave
    Seattle, WA 98122

    Jamba Juice Company*
    6475 Christie Ave, Suite 150
    Emeryville, CA 94608

    Starbucks Company *
    2401 Utah Ave South
    Seattle, WA 98134

    Thrive Cafe
    1026 NE 65th Street, #A102
    Seattle, WA 98115
    yum@generationthrive.com

    * These restaurants do not list an e-mail address on their website. I submitted my letter to these restaurants through their “Contact Us” forms.

    Dear Management,

    In honor of Earth Month, I wanted to let you know about a way that you can cut down on waste. Although many things are contributing to our planet's growing trash problem, one that gets very little attention (and is specific to the restaurant industry) is the waste caused by straws. Most straws are meant to be used once and thrown away. As a result, they usually end up in landfills or as litter, both of which pose a danger to wildlife and to the environment in general.

    There are a number of ways that this issue can be addressed. Restaurants that serve drinks in glassware can use re-usable glass straws instead of single-use plastic ones. Restaurants that serve drinks in “to-go” containers can ask their customers if they would like a straw rather than automatically putting them into drinks. They can also provide straws that can be recycled instead of thrown-out.

    I know that this may seem like a small issue in the day-to-day running of a restaurant, but I would encourage you to look into steps that you can take to help limit the amount of waste that your restaurant produces. I'm sure that your customers (myself included) would appreciate your continuing efforts to be environmentally sustainable.

    As a side note, if you're interested in learning more about re-useable glass straws, I would recommend that you take a look at the website www.glassdharma.com. I'm not affiliated with this company in any way, but I do use their straws at home and find that they work really well. Thanks for your time!

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  4. Reply to letter from Tiffany Norton
    Owner of Crooked Creek writes:

    Tiffany,

    Thank you for your letter. I can assure you that we are on the same page about our environment. In fact, I met with vendors just yesterday to discuss alternatives for "to go" packaging that are more earth friendly. I have also been investigating straw options. We do have recycling in place and attempt to recycle our aluminum, glass, and plastics. And, yes, more server training is needed. But our recycling containers are full each week.

    I have also just hired a new wonderful Chef, Frank Biondo, and he is also on the same page. We are changing to free range chickens, more local produce, more organic options, etc. I am hoping to make my place as earth friendly as possible. Thanks again for your feedback and kind words regarding our food and service. I look forward to seeing you when you are in. Have a wonderful and happy week.

    Toni Hallgren
    Owner

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