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 -

1 comment:

  1. What a great year it has been! Thank you for including me in your roundup!!

    I've been so grateful not only for GlassDharma helping me sip (and slurp) my smoothies without plastic... but also for your endless support and friendship over the years.