Wednesday, June 20, 2012

She Got Me On The Plastic Tape!

Are you interested in other ways to reduce your plastic habit? Beth Terry (our favorite blogger at (MyPlasticFreeLife.com has released her new book: Plastic Free – How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too!  Click here to order your own autographed copy! Make sure you check out Chapter 5 where Beth says, “Keep Your Straw, I Have My Own!”
The book is out!  You might want to check out the contents, knowing that the publisher took great care in the printing and manufacturing of Beth Terry’s  new book “Plastic-Free How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too”.  Unlike so many books published about the topic of plastic and how problematic this material has become, this book offers real solutions and suggestions of how to choose plastic alternatives. The plastic materials used in the making of most books would not be acceptable for this book. The Publisher sought out plastic-free alternatives to the plastic materials traditaionally used to produce most books. The book is actually compostable!

Beth found GlassDharma glass straws while on her journey to learn to live a plastic free life.  She offered to feature a product review for GlassDharma on her blog (My Plastic Free, which GlassDharma ws happy to accomodate as a way to help get the word out about reuasble alternatives to single use plastics. Little did the folks at GlassDharma know that though great care had gone into packaging considerations for environmental concerns, the sample package would still be docked on the Beth Terry rating system for the choice of tape used!

“She got me on the plastic tape,” exclaimed David Leonhardt at a staff meeting!  He immediately began searching for a better alternative to plastic packaging tape.  Over the years, Beth became a mentor, ready to give input when consulted by GlassDharma about materials and methods. She continues to nudge and inspire many companies to make careful considerations in their practices of manufacturing and distribution their products.

Here is a sneak peek excerpt from “Plastic Free” for our readers:

Me and My Glass Straw

One of my favorite reusable items is my GlassDharma drinking straw. No, it’s not necessary. In fact, many people question why we feel we need to suck up our beverages with a straw at all. That’s a matter of personal preference. A straw can be helpful for people like me with sensitive teeth. And reusable straws made from glass are nice because they’re see-through, so you can tell if they’re clean or not. But if you’re worried about breaking a glass straw (which has only happened to me once when I stupidly tried sticking a fork tine inside one to remove something stuck), there are stainless steel straws available as well. I keep my straw in a little cloth wrap, along with my bamboo utensils, but GlassDharma sells cases specifically for carrying their straws.
  In addition to being fun to drink from, my glass straw is a conversation-starter and a way to get restaurant staff to pay attention when I ask for no straw. Many times I’ve requested no plastic straw when ordering a drink, only to have my drink delivered with a straw anyway. Wait staff are in a hurry and work on auto-pilot much of the time.  By showing my reusable straw and explaining why I don’t want a plastic one, I get their attention and help them remember not to automatically stick one in my glass.

One person I hope will remember my glass straw is Project Runway personality Tim Gunn. Project Runway is an addictive reality show in which fashion designers must complete all kinds of crazy challenges to win a fashion spread in a major magazine and big bucks to start their own line of clothing. Being highly critical of the fashion industry’s role in promoting consumerism and waste doesn’t stop me from marveling at the creativity of Project Runway’s designer contestants who must work under strict time constraints to fashion clothing out of all kinds of unconventional materials, including scraps from a recycling center! So when I heard that the website was sponsoring a contest for a lunch with Tim Gunn, I entered right away. I never thought I’d actually win. And when I found out I had won, I was nervous for days about what I would wear.  Fortunately, I forgot my own self-consciousness for a second and thought about what I could bring Tim. I knew I didn’t have to, but I wanted to bring him a gift to show my appreciation for the grace and generosity of spirit he displayed on the show each week.  I decided to give him an elegant GlassDharma straw.

Meeting Tim Gunn at the Four Seasons in Chicago during the BlogHer conference is one of my favorite memories. Tim was as gracious in person as he seems to be on the show. He accepted my gift with apparent delight, exclaiming, “Oh, how novel,” in his inimitable Tim Gunn style. Once again, the straw was a great conversation starter.  Talking about reducing restaurant waste led to the topic of fashion based on reusing and repurposing old clothing rather than simply buying new stuff. Tim was receptive and easy to talk to. Plus, he told me I have a perfect hourglass figure. So there’s that.  The point is that even in a situation that ostensibly had nothing to do with environmental issues, I found a casual way to work the topic into the conversation.  We don’t all get to have lunch with celebrities, but we can find creative ways to bring up environmental topics with our friends and associates without nagging or preaching."

In 2011, David and Beth had a conversation where David announced that etching services would soon be available.  The etching and sandblasting method would add room for much creativity for customizing GlassDharma glass straws with logs and messages. Beth’s immediate reaction was to question the method used and point out that the tape used in the process was vinyl. (A huge no-no according to Beth’s plastic free ethics.)  David worked with the Engraver to devise a method that uses alternate materials to the vinyl tape.  Once again, Beth’s attention to how we might live plastic free won the decision to make a change toward sustainability in the practices used at GlassDharma.

It was no surprised that as soon as Beth opened her first shipment of her new book before her debut book signing, she would quickly publish a blog post with full color images of the packaging.  She knew she would have to ask the company to change their methods for future shipments. The photos in her blog post displayed how the boxes were taped together - with plastic tape of all things!

Monday, June 4, 2012

World Oceans Day 2012

June 8th is World Oceans Day, the UN-designated day for the global community to celebrate and take action for our shared ocean. One of the greatest threats to the ocean is also one of the most insidious because chances are it’s so mundane you don’t even notice it. Look around you right now: how much plastic do you see?

The ocean is downstream from all of us so no matter where we live, so we can all help address the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean. Each year a huge amount of plastic eventually makes it into coastal waters and harms ocean life. Many animals such as seabirds, sea turtles, dolphins, and whales die every year from plastic entanglement or starvation because they fill up their stomachs on plastic they mistake for food. Take action for World Oceans Day and prevent plastic from harming ocean wildlife!

Reduce plastic use . Help stop plastic pollution at its source! As consumers, we each have the power to reduce demand. And if you encourage family and friends to do the same, the more the more good we can do to keep the ocean clean and safe. Here are a few disposable plastic products everyone can reduce in our daily lives:
Plastic water bottles. Invest in a reusable water bottle, and filter water if necessary. Help the ocean and save money; it’s a win-win for you and the blue. On average, Americans now use 4 plastic water bottles a day—the highest ever recorded! Let’s turn the tide against wasteful plastic consumption.

Plastic bags. People use nearly 1 trillion plastic bags each year, and unfortunately, many of those end up ingested by sea turtles that mistake plastic for jellyfish. Remember to bring a reusable bag for food (including vegetables) and other shopping and save a life!

Clear Decorative Dots Glass Straw by GlassDharma
Straws, cups to-go, food containers, and utensils. Bring your own reusable products like mugs when you get coffee and take a pass on the plastic utensils when you get take-out food. And if you must have a straw, there a number affordable options!

Be aware of packaging. Pay attention to how much incidental plastic that comes with what you buy—your candy, headphones, pens, etc., all come in plastic packaging. Strive to cut down on your daily plastic consumption and reward corporations that package responsibly!
Act for World Oceans Day!

Hold a ‘Switch for the Sea’ contest! Ask friends and family to switch one of their disposable plastic habits for a sustainable, ocean-friendly one: such as bringing reusable food containers from home when eating out for your ‘doggie bag.’

Organize an aquatic clean-up! Head out to your nearest and dearest body of water with some friends and pick up all the trash you find. You’ll be surprised at how much of it is plastic.

Ban the bag in your town. Many communities around the world are banning plastic bags from being used at their stores. Learn how to start a campaign to stop plastic bags use in your town!

There are hundreds of events being held all over the world, find one near you and celebrate with a purpose this World Oceans Day! You can also go the extra mile and organize an event yourself using ideas and free materials provided at!