Saturday, February 27, 2016

The History of Free Glass Straws for Earth Day

GlassDharma - The Mission

Forty years ago, the first Earth Day started a revolution of change. Each Earth Day we focus on ideas of Earth Care and how our choices can change and affect the world we live in. Each of us make decisions every day about how our routine practices will affect our planet, a place we will one day leave behind.

Eight years ago, David Leonhardt, founder of GlassDharma decided the best way to get the new idea of reusable straws noticed, was to give them away.  Soon after the GlassDharma company website went live, he began getting the word out that he would give away glass straws for Earth Day.  The word got around and hundreds of people got a free glass straw once they emailed their shipping information to GlassDharma.  Every year since, GlassDharma celebrates Earth day by giving away free glass straws!

“Earth Day is about awareness and about focusing thoughts on something that is important to us.” says Gail Johnson, co-owner of GlassDharma. She continues, “I believe Earth day and the many related activities have made a huge difference in our awareness of our Planet’s needs and how we can best work and play in synergy and with gratitude. People really want to change their ways but often get overwhelmed. We are hungry for small things we can do occasionally… and then more consistently, to help ourselves and our Planet Earth.”

GlassDharma Free Glass Straws for Earth Day Timeline

2008 - David announced he would give away free glass straws for Earth Day on the GlassDharma website.  Hundreds of simple elegance straws were shipping out of Fort Bragg, CA to various locations in the USA.  To this day, many of GlassDharma's customers have emailed saying that this is how they found out that glass straws existed and continue to buy them for gifts for others.  This was the first "unofficial" Earth Day giveaway.

2009 - David Leonhardt gave away over 500 "Simple Elegance" Glass Straws through the GlassDharma.com website. The giveaway quickly became popular and brought together a huge gathering of people that were willing to share their ideas through emails. The common goal of EarthCare became present throughout their communications.

2010 - Earth Day 2010, David Leonhardt 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.  Over 1000 straws were given out to customers who visited Cafe Gratitude at different locations.

2011 - GlassDharma gave free glass straws to participants that wrote letters to their favorite restaurants asking them to consider alternatives to plastic straws ar at least to ask the patron before automatically serving beverages with straws in them.  600 letters were written!

2012 - GlassDharma gave Free Glass Straws to participants of an essay contest! . Suggested content was to encourage participants to declare how their glass straws relate to a better world, the Environment, Elegant table-ware, made in USA and/or Personal Joy.

2013 - Pledging PlanetCare was the theme on this Free Glass Straws for Earth Day giveaway and 1300 packages were sent out with contents of a glass straw for GlassDharma a discount coupons form various eco manufacturers that partnered with GlassDharma for this event.  GlassDharma continued the project with additional coupons that were emailed to more participants through Earth Day.

2014 -  This TriviaProject, themed Plastic is Drastic produced 1,000 participants in our Earth Day project in under 48 hours, GlassDharma kept the site live to encourage more participants for the chance to receive a $6.00 coupon code for the value of the Earth Day Straw.  There were over 2,800 entries, which includes the 1,000 free straws shipped, in addition to more than 1,800 coupon codes awarded.

2015 - Participants are asked to view a video and answer some multiple choice questions under the guidance of GlassDharma's own animated "Sipper Hero", the GlassDharma Dude. Participants completed a 3 step process to get a $10.00 coupon to use towards our Earth Day straw and shipping. Over 5,000 participants in just 5 days exploded expectations for this video viewing and questions series event!

2016 - Participants were asked to write letters to restaurants and businesses encouraging them to have an "ask first" policy and/or to replace their single-use plastic straws with a more sustainable option. From this hundreds of letters were written and we received some responses from restaurants! Each participant received a free Earth Day Straw (we have recently started calling the Earth Straws) and we offered the participants who wrote the most letters gift certificates to our webstore.

2017 - Participants are being asked to submit either a YouTube Video and/or an informational graphic with educational information about the negative effects of using plastic-straws and what we can do about it. This year we had 10 different eco-friendly companies donate to the prize baskets! Check out the blog here for more information!

About The Earth Day Straw!

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The creation of the Earth Day Straw has a two fold purpose, allowing GlassDharma's footprint to lessen at the same time as yours. There is always extra glass when straws are cut; some of this glass is very small in size, and often gets reused by local friends of GlassDharma for crafts and gardening purposes. Other cuts are just shy of being part of the "Shorty" size line, but are just as useful for mugs, short glasses, and stemware; these are our Earth Day Straws! We say they are 5" but this is our one straw that has a +/- variance of ¼" since they are the end of the glass tubing.

The Earth Day Straws are made with the same high quality borosilicate glass using the same specific annealing formula exclusive to GlassDharma straws. Their durability is comparable to all of our other straws and they come with the same Lifetime Guarantee against breakage.