My Zero-Waste Adventure: The Plot

Hi! My name is Kareena Desai. I am the founder of Perform For Change, a non-profit organization that raises money for important environmental causes through projects and performances, and a Plastic Pollution Coalition Youth Ambassador.

Recently, my family and I visited The Plot in Oceanside, California. The Plot is a plant-based restaurant founded by Executive Chef Davin Waite and CEO Jessica Waite in January 2020, and is a Plastic Pollution Coalition Business Member.

At the restaurant, our waitress Kat explained how the whole restaurant is zero waste. Here are some of the amazing things The Plot does to eliminate plastic pollution and wastefulness:

  • Use reusable utensils and crockery.
  • Offer menus made from compostable materials.
  • Create a tradition around conserving all parts of food used in cooking. Before we ordered, we were presented with an “amuse bouche” of squash with kale stem relish. Pronounced “ah-myooz boosh,” it directly translates to “it amuses the mouth” in French. At The Plot, they call these dishes, “A gift from the kitchen that we share with each guest at the beginning of their meal.”
  • Growing a garden that provides almost 30% of the produce on the menu. After the meal, we were lucky enough to meet Chef Travis, who gave us an amazing tour around their organic, raised bed garden, which is located next to the restaurant. In the garden, we saw growing all different types of vegetables, fruits, and herbs that will be used in The Plot’s kitchen. 
  • Composting food scraps. Chef Travis also told us how they compost all of their food scraps. The scraps from the kitchen get composted in their garden, and the ones from the tables get composted industrially.
  • Using reusable and biodegradable containers for takeout. The Plot makes sure that their takeout utensils and boxes are completely biodegradable. They have also partnered with Plastic Pollution Coalition Business Member ReVessel to create a reusable takeout container swap program. 
  • Refusing ingredients in single-use plastic. The Plot works with trusted vendors to make sure the produce that can’t be grown in their own garden doesn’t come in plastic packaging. They said if they received any produce wrapped in plastic, they would send it back.

At The Plot my family enjoyed an amazing Caesar salad, “cheesy” truffle fries, tomato bisque, and their delicious mushroom-based “chronic” sushi! For dessert we had a delicious olive oil and vanilla cream “plot cake” and chocolate mousse with walnut crumble.

The Plot continues to serve delicious and waste-free food to their customers every day. They are now planning to open up a new location in Costa Mesa, California. If you want to learn more about their amazing work, please visit their website at theplotrestaurant.com.

Kat, me (Kareena), and Chef Travis

More Resources to Keep Your Eatery Plastic-Free

The Plot is one of a growing number of food businesses now making the change we need to end plastic pollution and wastefulness. And for good reason: In addition to being better for people and the planet, these businesses are helping to advance real, systemic solutions to plastic pollution by tapping into the plastic-free principles: reuse, refill, repair, share, and regenerate. 

Do you work in the food business? Restaurant and other eatery owners and operators can learn more about how to reduce plastic in food prep, service, and delivery with Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Plastic-Free Eatery Guide. In addition, we invite your plastic-free eatery to join our Coalition

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February 12 , 8:00 am February 14 , 5:00 pm EST

GreenBiz 24 is the premier sustainability conference for business leaders seeking hands-on, tangible solutions in 2024. Join this growing community to recharge and learn what’s next in decarbonization, biodiversity, supply chains, strategic communications and much more — so you can continue to accelerate your impact and your career.

Location: JW Marriott, Desert Ridge, Phoenix AZ

May 22 , 8:00 am May 24 , 5:00 pm EDT

As the leading convening of professionals building the circular economy, Circularity 24 offers thought-provoking keynotes, actionable breakouts, a solutions-oriented expo and unparalleled networking opportunities. Join the growing community of visionaries and practitioners to move beyond incremental action, catalyze systems change and accelerate the circular economy.

Location: Marriott Marquis Chicago

Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) Members come from a wide range of sectors and are aligned in their mission to build a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on communities and ecosystems around the world. The Coalition Spotlight is our monthly blog to uplift and showcase their work, giving our readers an inside look at some influential change-makers. This month, we highlight four members who are helping people start the new year with less plastic by making more informed purchasing decisions, navigating the toxicity of everyday products, and adopting less consumptive habits.

Karma Wallet

Karma Wallet is a financial platform that leverages cutting-edge technology and impact data to empower consumers to make better informed purchasing decisions. The platform makes it easy for people to align their sustainability priorities with everyday spending, by receiving personalized carbon footprint data and insights into their shopping habits, while earning rewards for choosing more sustainable retailers. 

Users can search over 15,000+ brands according to their people and planet scores, derived from social and environmental metrics from over 30 data sources that Karma Wallet has mapped to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. As a trusted data partner of Karma Wallet, Plastic Pollution Coalition enables consumers to compare retailers based on their commitment to plastic-free business practices. Filter companies according to the values you care about, which now includes an option to find PPC Business Members exclusively!

Karma Wallet was just named to the Inc. 2023 Best in Business list, is a Certified B Corp, and is a member of 1% for the Planet. Additionally, they are soon to launch their Karma Wallet Card: a prepaid, reloadable debit card that gives back to people and the planet. This card offers up to 20% cash back with thousands of sustainable merchants, provides eco-friendly rewards, and educates consumers about the social and environmental impact of the companies they shop with. 

You can support better companies with your dollars this year. Visit Karma Wallet for easy ways to switch to more sustainable brands.

MADE SAFE

What we buy matters. Our purchasing decisions send market signals that lay the foundation for large-scale change, and through them, we have the ability to build safer and healthier communities. 

MADE SAFE is a nonprofit organization that provides rigorous scientific and independent certifications for products free of any toxic ingredients known or suspected to harm human health, animals, or ecosystems. Products with the MADE SAFE (Made With Safe Ingredients™) seal are screened to ensure that over 6,500 Banned / Restricted List substances are avoided in product ingredients to eliminate chemical hazards that people are commonly exposed to in everyday routines. This takes the guesswork out of finding products that are safe for your family and the environment, making it easy to adopt better habits and support responsible brands this new year. 

In an effort to “revolutionize how consumer products are made,” the MADE SAFE team works with brands to develop ingredient formulas that adhere to substance-level specifications and ultimately meet the stringent certification standards. Unlike other certifications in health or sustainability, they are not beholden to corporate interests, and thus have gained an impeccable reputation of independence and trust. 

Connect with Amy Ziff, MADE SAFE Founder and Executive Director, during our upcoming webinar on January 18th—Plastic-Free Resolutions: Protecting Your Health in 2024. She will be moderating the event and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to what will surely be an enriching conversation.

Naturepedic

Did you know that most conventional mattresses contain toxic polyurethane foams (including memory foam, soy foam, and “eco” foam), which are derived from petrochemicals and typically contain plasticizers, harmful flame retardants, antimicrobials, and preservatives? 

Naturepedic, pioneer of the organic mattress revolution, completely eliminates polyurethane foam from all its mattresses, instead providing comfort and support with environmentally safer materials, such as organic wool and organic cotton—materials that are MADE SAFE certified and GOTS certified organic. For babies and kids, Naturepedic provides innovative food-grade waterproofing made without polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic of high concern as defined by GreenScreen® Benchmark 1. All of Naturepedic’s mattresses are also GREENGUARD® Gold certified to demonstrate their high standards for chemical management and prevent air pollution in our homes.

Recently, Naturepedic reinforced its position as a leader in the mattress industry by implementing a kraft paper roll-packing machine that allows the brand to roll-pack all mattresses, mattress toppers and comfort layers in fully recyclable kraft paper instead of single-use plastic. This effort alone will keep 55,000 pounds of plastic out of landfills each year. 

Last year was Naturepedic’s 20th anniversary, and we applaud their commitment to non-toxic products, continuous carbon- and plastic- footprint improvement, and transparent business practices for consumer safety. The company was recently featured in our 2023 Plastic-Free Holiday Guide, and are members of 1% for the Planet. 
Consider upgrading to healthier sleep for your family with Naturepedic.

Perpetual

Perpetual is a new PPC Organization Member and an established leader in the reuse space. Through multi-stakeholder engagement, they are working to catalyze system shifts that enable reuse infrastructure to be scaled and accessed by all. 

Perpetual’s current focus is to provide efficient and safe reusable foodware solutions for cities. Their team is designing open-loop systems for four communities in the U.S. through participatory cross-sector engagement and Ecosystem Mapping. They are establishing city-wide reuse systems that can exist in perpetuity for and from the communities in which they are built, overcoming inefficiencies and “imagination gaps” that can’t be tested in pilot programs. To bring proven reuse systems to city scale, they engage in workstreams such as: Interactive Community Design Processes, public and private funding mobilization, Life-Cycle Assessments (LCAs), and Circularity Assessment Protocols (CAPs) with academic partners like University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems and University of Georgia’s Circularity Informatics Lab.

Some of Perpetual’s most important work has been advancing reuse solutions for a global audience through their Living Landscap­e of Reusable Solution­s, a global list of for profit and nonprofit programs, campaigns, and systems that has demonstrated the feasibility of reuse around the world and inspired further action. From technical assistance and policy advocacy support to shipping & logistics solutions, the database includes both formal and informal ways of rapidly adopting reuse and refill systems. Their team authors a practical and informative bi-weekly newsletter showcasing these solutions and providing readers with pathways to stay connected and inspired. Sign up for it here.

Recently, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Hilo, Hawaii, Perpetual’s team has progressed to the next phase of unique systems design, incorporating feedback gained from community workshops, industry knowledge, and ongoing discussions with stakeholders. Their work in Galveston, Texas, and Savannah, Georgia will soon follow similar processes. Stay tuned!

Does your business or organization align with our mission to build a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts? Apply to join our global movement.

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Despite pledging to reduce their use of plastics, businesses and governments are failing to meet goals to cut plastic pollution. This, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s latest Global Commitment Report, which assesses the integrity of commitments to reduce plastic pollution that were made by 123 businesses and 17 governments five years ago in 2018. 

Reacting to the new report, “The Global Commitment Five Years In: Perspective on Progress“:

This report emphasizes the glaring mismatch between business and government efforts to address plastic pollution and the real solutions that are urgently needed. Instead of making “commitments” that hide and greenwash false solutions to plastic pollution, including “chemical” or “advanced” recycling, waste exports, and the idea of “circular” use of plastics, we need just, equitable, and truly circular systems of reuse, refill, repair, share, and regeneration, along with the stopping of future plastics production. All plastic is pollution, and plastics quite literally poison the circular economy, not to mention our bodies and planet—from the moment plastics’ fossil fuel ingredients are extracted to plastics’ eventual disposal in the environment, incinerators, and landfills. The longer that companies and governments delay real solutions so that they can continue to profit from plastic pollution, the worse the impacts of plastic pollution will be on people and the planet. Plastic pollution is a planetary emergency for human health, social justice, the climate, the environment, and wildlife.

— Julia Cohen, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Plastic Pollution Coalition

Take Action

It’s clear that voluntary actions to end plastic pollution are failing to address the scale and timeline necessary to avoid the very worst outcomes for people and the planet. People living on the fencelines of the plastic and fossil fuel industries’ are already facing extreme hazards and injustices. The time for action is now: We need a legally binding, global agreement that requires governments and companies to actually make change. With the United Nations (UN) Global Plastics now being negotiated, we have the opportunity to create such an agreement.

The evidence is clear: Plastic pollution harms everything, and everyone. Make your voice heard, and tell world leaders we need a strong UN Plastics Treaty:

We also encourage you to put extra pressure on the government of the United States, the world’s biggest plastic-polluting nation, and exporter of plastic waste, to take a stronger stance on the UN Plastics Treaty:

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October 22, 2023 , 5:00 pm 6:00 pm EDT

Learn about the movement to make “polluters pay” during this free webinar.

The principle of Polluters Pay is simple: those who make a mess should be the ones to clean it up. Any well-behaved 5-year-old would tell you this is fair. So why do we let big oil, coal, and gas corporations get away with it? 

For decades, fossil fuel corporations have made record profits while destroying our shared environment. And for decades, taxpayers have footed the bill for cleaning up the mess. It’s time we turned that around. The costs of climate change are growing every year as the effects become more and more extreme. We need strong legislation to ensure that the profitable fossil fuel corporations are held accountable for their actions.

Better Future Project, in partnership with 350 Massachusetts and Mass Power Forward, will be filing legislation to create a climate change superfund which will establish the climate change adaptation cost recovery program. It will require companies that have contributed significantly to the buildup of climate-warming greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to bear a share of the costs of needed infrastructure investment, raising an estimated $75 billion over 25 years from the 20 largest polluting companies. This influx of funds will enable the commonwealth to prepare for the coming climate impacts.