Hold off the next time you grab a disposable bottle of water while picking up your coffee at Starbucks. Their Ethos water may economically benefit some peoples , but the bottle most definately HURTS. Turns out that most of the Styrofoam Jamba Juice cups and discarded flip-flops in the oceans are washed from land and not dumped by ocean going vessels as is the normal thinking according to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. I became aware of this organization and it’s research while working on a new TV show recently that visited with a couple of their amazing scientists that are putting their lives at risk to make us aware of the trash we produce everyday. They are sailing into the ocean towards a texas sized patch of plastic soup that is referred to as the “Pacific trash gyre” or “plastic vortex”. The sailers and researchers heading this project, Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal, were featured on the green reality series called “Mario’s Greenhouse” with Actor and Director, Mario Van Peebles (Voom Networks). At the time of videotaping with them, they were still in the construction phase of their ocean going vessel affectionately named, Junk Raft, that departed from Los Angeles on June 2nd, 2008.Their vessel made of trash that they will live on for 8 weeks or more.

From the official website:

“Algalita staff set sail on “Junk,” a raft built on 15,000 plastic bottles. Their 2,100 mile journey will take them through the plastic-plagued Northern Pacific Gyre. Designed by Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal, the raft boasts an airplane fuselage, discarded fishing nets, a solar generator, and a wind turbine. This ambitious journey will bring further public attention to the plastic marine debris issue.”16 Billions pounds of plastic \'soup\' floating in the pacific alone.

Eriksen and Paschal manage to upload blog entries and video from the middle of Pacific somehow. For this their blog, junkraft.blogspot.com, deserves a visit by all of us. It’s amazing stuff and you can read about their trip AND the massive trash gyre that you may have heard about on the news that their parent organization, The Algalita Marine Research Foundation, is given credit for finding.

Seattle Weekly Writer, Aimee Curl, dug below the coffee grounds and into the dirt. Turns out that Tully’s is out-greening the coffee giant, Starbucks. They are using “eco-tainers” and really managing their waste flow. The smaller Seattle coffee chain report 78% recycling rate for all the waste their business creates. Read more….

Little coffee companies are leading the way.

Little coffee companies are leading the way.

We all know that using any sort of cup that is washable is far superior to disposable versions. It’s better for the planet, uses less land fill space, no trees get cut down, and more…

GreenHome.com offers suggestions for eco-friendly alternatives to popular earth-nasty products. Included in their offerings is a travel mug made from corn-starch. This sustainable and renewable organic compound looks and feels like plastic but under years of hot and moist conditions, will biodegrade . I don’t think you can put it in the dishwasher, buy hey, your christmas shopping just got a whole lot easier!

Cornstarch Coffee Travel Mug

You can choose from 3 different designs printed with vegetable derived inks.

Bottled Water Is A Scam

October 13, 2007

If you think you can taste the difference between Fuji brand water and ‘drinking’ water from the grocery store you’re the victim of some very powerful marketing. Turns out that a lot of Americans will choose tap water over fancy name brand water in blind taste tests. Here’s another blind taste test. More appalling is the flagrant mis-use of natural resources needed to ship ‘glacial spring water’ from the glacier to your neighborhood. Then there are the un-recycled water bottles that are made from plastic (derived from oil and natural gas) that clog landfills and beaches throughout the world. In addition to all of these environmental reasons for not drinking bottled water, it turns out that gasoline is actually cheaper(by volume) than most bottled water products.

water bottle trash

I thought clean drinking water was a basic human right. Small towns in the U.S. are witnessing their municipal water being purchased by conglomerates like Nestle Corporation, repackaged and sold back to Americans as “pure spring water”. On so many levels this is wrong. So wrong in fact the City of Burbank in California has a new bottled-water policy which calls for city employees to use tap water during official meetings and City Hall proceedings. Other parts of the country too are realizing the huge negative economic and environmental effect those ”healthy” little bottles can have. Inside the Bottle urges that everyone mobilize to prevent consumption of bottled water.

The bottled water industry even have their own website dedicated to helping people sell more of their harmful products.

The Environmental Working Group can help you determine the quality of the tap water in your area.

A trip to the water cooler will feel so much healthier if you don’t make any trash in the process.

Paper cup manufacturer, International Paper, has created a cup that is defininitely a step in the right direction. Ecotainer from International PaperTheir Ecotainer hot beverage cup is lined with corn protein instead of plastic. According to their press release this small move to replacing the petro-chemical ingredients could save enough energy to heat over 8,300 American homes a year. They mention on the site that they also use renewable energy to produce the cup but strangely there is no mention of the cups’ virgin paper content. While perhaps a bit of green-washing from a company whose core business still relies on trees for it’s profit, they offer a slightly less evil disposable cup that is ready for use in your local Starbucks today.

Billboards Recycled

July 18, 2007

I came across this great company that turns expired vinyl billboard material into a whole line of products ranging from messenger bags to bean bags chairs. Vaho is based in Barcelona Spain and really make a huge waste dilemna into something valuable. Your still stuck with a PVC product that is unsafe for humans and the environment but hey, fashion isn’t free! Now if we can only figure out how to insulate the walls of our homes with shredded paper coffee cups…

Vaho Bags

Goodbye plastic bottles!

June 30, 2007

innocent.gif

Looks like the biodegradable plastic bottle is finally here. All those disposable water bottles we just throw in the trash all come from refined crude oil, likely shipped from the Middle East. Innocent is a company with a healthy organic juice product that implements bottles made from modified corn starch. Save them up and put them in your garden instead of ‘recycling’ them like regular plastic bottles.