Make Your Coffee or Tea Plastic Free

Every morning when you wake up, what do you pour into your cup? 

For many of us, an early cup (or a few!) of coffee or tea is a daily ritual. But did you know that along with your morning brew, you might also be sipping on a hefty dose of plastic?

A major focus of this Plastic Free July—a global month-long movement to encourage people to engage in solutions to plastic pollution—is the ubiquitous single-use plastic coffee (or tea) cup. So this month we are highlighting why it’s important to cut plastic out of your “morning brew” routine—and we will show you how to do it!

Get Plastic Out of Your Cup

Single-use plastic items, including the cups commonly used to hold coffee and tea, are rarely recycled and instead mainly end up in landfills and the environment, or are incinerated. Plastic pollutes the environment, where it contaminates shared resources such as water and soil, and harms wildlife.

And not only is plastic bad for the planet, it’s bad for our health: Plastic does not break down but instead breaks up into infinitely smaller pieces, which people inadvertently ingest along with food and beverages, inhale when we breathe indoors and outdoors, and absorb through our skin. Plastic pollution disproportionately burdens people of color, rural, and low-income people with toxic pollution.

These plastic particles accumulate in our bodies—including in our bloodstreams—where they leach toxic chemicals known to harm human health, such as phthalates, bisphenols, and UV stabilizers. These toxins are known to cause reproductive harm, neurological damage, and can increase the risk of cancer—among many other ill effects.

Unfortunately, there are many ways plastic particles may be brewing in your coffee or tea. From the cups used to hold beverages bought “to-go,” to the at-home machines and accessories used to make your own brew, plastic may seem unavoidable. But with the right information, you can make choices that minimize your exposure to plastics in your favorite morning beverage.

Choose Reusables Over Single-Use Cups

Do you buy your coffee or tea to go in single-use beverage cups? If you do, you’re ingesting plastic along with your coffee or tea.

Single-use cups are often made of paper on the outside, and inside are lined with a thin coating of plastic meant to insulate your drink and prevent hot liquid from leaking out. Scientists have demonstrated that a 12-ounce paper cup’s plastic lining sheds more than 1.5 trillion tiny plastic particles into the liquid it holds. They found that these tiny toxic plastic particles shed more rapidly when the liquid inside the cup is hot.

Thankfully, many coffee and tea shops are making it easier for customers to bring their own non-plastic (stainless steel, ceramic, glass) reusable cups for refill. Others offer standard ceramic, metal, or glass mugs for use if you can take the time to enjoy your coffee or tea inside the shop, such as PPC Business Member Wild Trails Coffee in BC, Canada. There are also reusable takeaway cups, such as those from PPC Business Member and Earthshot nominee Vessel, which can be returned and reused indefinitely. If you can make your morning brew at home, it’s even easier to choose to reuse! 

Some of our favorite non-plastic reusable cups for coffee and tea include:

  • Ceramic mugs or ceramic thermoses, such as those made by Soma
  • Stainless steel mugs or thermoses, such as those made by PPC Business Members Klean Kanteen or Carry Your Bottle
  • All-glass thermoses, such as those made by Tupkee

Make Your Morning Brew Plastic-Free

Here’s how:

1. Find plastic-free coffee makers and accessories

Many coffee makers—especially electric automatic models—are now made out of plastic. Plastic is cheap and insulates hot liquids, but these qualities create a toxic tradeoff. Just because the market is flooded with plastic coffee makers does not mean you need to use them.

There are plenty of coffee makers and accessories out there that can help minimize your exposure to plastic. Some may seem expensive to purchase initially. But because they are made with no-to-little plastic, they are long lasting and you will save money in the long run (as long as you take good care of them). Additionally, with a little research, it’s possible to buy these or similar products secondhand or from alternative sources for less than the retail price.

Manual coffee makers that require you to drip, percolate, siphon, press, or pour over are the styles most commonly made of glass and/or stainless steel, helping you to avoid plastic. Some good manual coffee maker and accessory options include:

  • Manual stainless steel burr coffee grinders, such as those made by Waldwerk (this is a manual grinder from Germany, ships internationally) 
  • Electrical stainless steel burr coffee grinders such as those made by Fellow Ode Brew (this electric grinder like most a plastic hopper but the burrs inside are stainless steel)
  • Manual ceramic burr coffee grinders, such as those made by Porlex
  • Glass pour-over carafes, such as those made by Chemex
  • Glass siphons, such as those made by Yama
  • Single-cup stainless pour-over brewers, such as those made by Sumptown Coffee Roasters 
  • Single-cup glass pour-over brewers, such as those made by Pure Over
  • Stainless steel and glass french presses, such as those made by Public Goods (most french presses have a small amount of plastic at the seal, which largely does not touch the coffee inside) or Bodum
  • All-stainless steel french presses, such as those made by Mueller
  • All-stainless steel percolators, such as those made by Farberware 
  • All-stainless steel stovetop espresso makers, such as those made by Alessi

If you prefer automatic coffee makers and accessories, it’s a bit harder to find plastic-free options since these machines are largely designed with plastic. Even steel espresso machines typically have plastic hosing inside to carry hot water. Drip machines minimize hot water’s contact with plastic. These two automatic options best limit your exposure to plastic by being mostly made of stainless steel and glass:

2. Find plastic-free tea brewing tools and accessories

Single-use tea bags may seem to be made of paper. But in reality, the majority of tea bags are made from plastic. With each plastic tea bag you steep, scientists have found that nearly 15 billion plastic particles are released right into your drink. This is a significant number of plastic particles, and concerning, again, given the dangers these particles pose to the environment and our health.

The best way to avoid toxic plastic in your tea is to purchase loose-leaf tea and use fine stainless steel strainers, such as those sold by Package Free. Not only are these strainers simple, but they are also inexpensive and widely available. 

You might also consider a ceramic mug-and-strainer combo, such as those made by Euna Living. Plain glass, ceramic, or cast-iron teapots such as those sold by Susteas are also excellent brewing options as long as you avoid painted or enameled options—which may contain toxic cadmium and lead. If you prefer a press-type model, try a brewing pot such as those made by Rishi Tea & Botanicals.

If you want to use tea bags without the toxic plastic, check out reusable organic linen (a fiber from the flax plant) or cotton tea bags, such as those made by Marley’s Monsters or Net Zero Co. Simply place your own loose tea leaves inside, and steep like you would a conventional tea bag (without all the plastic!).

Consider What Goes Inside Your Cup

Once you’ve established your plastic-free coffee or tea routine, the next step is to consider what you’re putting in your cup.

The fast-accelerating climate crisis is making it more challenging to grow coffee and tea, with droughts, flooding, heatwaves, and storms ruining crops and damaging the lands where coffee and tea is grown. For example, Kenya, which grows nearly half of all tea consumed in the UK, is expected to lose more than a quarter of its optimal tea-growing lands by 2050 to climate-related disasters and change. Climate catastrophes also disproportionately harm underserved communities, including groups like women, Indigenous peoples, and low-income people—who often depend on farming crops, including tea and coffee, for their livelihood.

Unfortunately, many people working on coffee and tea farms are mistreated by their employers, and are sometimes forced into labor. What’s more, even when workers are paid for their hard labor (most tea leaves and coffee beans are painstakingly picked by hand), the conditions on these farms commonly range from harsh to inhumane. Some workers have little to no access to adequate water, food, shelter, bathrooms, and other necessities. 

Additionally, one must consider the deforestation that goes hand in hand with the expansion of cropland, as well as the rampant application of pesticides and use of plastic in farming coffee and tea. Landscapes have been completely stripped of their natural health by coffee and tea growing—especially in Central and South America, Asia, and Africa, where much coffee and tea is grown—and polluted by pesticides and plastics used in growing.

Being informed about these issues is the first step to making positive change. Speak with your dollars by buying organic, fair-trade coffee beans and loose tea in non-plastic packaging from companies that are transparent about their practices and sourcing. For example, Arbor Teas has a wide selection of ethically sourced, organic teas in non-plastic compostable packaging, and Café Mam offers a selection of organic, fair-trade coffees grown in Chiapas, Mexico, in plastic-free packaging.

Make Today a Plastic-Free Coffee or Tea Day

Thankfully, with the right information, a little planning, and preparation, you can set forward a morning coffee or tea routine free of plastic and toxic chemicals that’s also considerate of the people who picked each bean or leaf in your favorite morning drink.

This Plastic Free July, how will you incorporate reuse as well as health, environmental, and ethical considerations into your daily coffee or tea routine? We hope this blog has given you plenty of ideas for getting started in taking your plastic-free morning routine to the next level.

The gift-giving season is upon us and you don’t need to spend a small fortune on waste-creating products to show your family and friends you care. This season, give the ones you love something meaningful with these plastic-free gift ideas.

1. Have a Favorite Houseplant? Gift a Clipping in a Jar of Water for Propagation!

Propagating a plant clipping in a jar of water can be done in just a few easy steps and makes a perfect gift for friends and family. As houseplants grow, they can begin to take up a lot of room in your home or office. Clipping a plant can help you save space and also makes for a great legacy or heirloom gift for the whole family. Learn more here.

2. Have A Favorite Book You’ve Already Read? Pass It Along!

Books make for excellent gifts—and books that have personally affected and enhanced our lives are even better. This holiday season, pass along your copy of a favorite book so someone you care about can enjoy it as well.

3. Who Says a Gift Needs to Be a Thing? Gift an Experience!

Research has shown that people are happier when they spend money on experiences rather than things. So consider forgoing a material gift for one of the following amazing experiences:

  • Tickets to a Concert, Symphony, or Live Theatre Experience
  • Escape Room Reservations
  • A Relaxing Massage
  • Passes For Mini-Golf, Bowling, or Go-Karts
  • Movie Theater or Sporting Event Tickets
  • Specialty Tours or Wine Tasting Reservations
  • A Yoga, Pilates, or Martial Arts Class
  • A Hot Air Balloon Ride

4. Gift Yourself!

We all know someone who could use an extra night out from the kids or an elderly neighbor who could use a visit. Maybe you have a friend or family member who is hosting a party and could use help whipping up an extra special meal. Or maybe you know someone starting a project who could use your talent in writing, graphic design, or organizing a cluttered room or garage. This holiday season, give your time and expertise to the ones you love.

5. Donate to Plastic Pollution Coalition in Honor of a Friend or Loved One

Help create a more just, equitable world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals, waterways & oceans by making a donation to Plastic Pollution Coalition. We’ll do all we can to keep giving back by working to make the world a better place for your friends and loved ones.

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Halloween can be a plastic nightmare, but the good news is you can still plan a fun celebration without polluting the planet with spooky, scary plastic. Plastic Pollution Coalition Youth Ambassador Eva Geierstanger and Co-Founder and CEO Dianna Cohen have lots of tips and treats for a fun, more sustainable Halloween—including plastic-free trick-or-treating, costumes, decorations, and Halloween recipes! Find out more in their conversation below. 

Eva: I want to be able to enjoy Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, without the added fear that my celebration is causing horrifying harm to the environment and our own health. After all, plastic pollution impacts human health along with that of wildlife. It’s so important that we look beyond these wicked and wasteful traditions to make Halloween both fun and sustainable! 


TRICK-OR-TREATING

Eva: With Halloween right around the corner, I’ve been eyeing the candy aisle at my local grocery store. I mean, who doesn’t love candy, especially FREE candy from trick-or-treating and Halloween parties? But as I look around at the bags of assorted chocolates, gummies, and lollipops, all that I can think of is the scary amount of plastic single-use packaging being used. 

Dianna: Halloween is a fun holiday for children and adults alike, but the single-use plastic left behind from parties and Trick-or-Treating can be downright scary.

According to the cleanup and brand audit report from Break Free From Plastic, food wrappers, made by companies such as Nestlé and Mars Inc., are among the top items found on beaches and in communities across the world. Plastic food wrappers are not recycled, and the ones that end up in our landfills will stay there forever, like ghosts of Halloween past. 

When it comes to treats, consider alternatives to plastic-wrapped candy. There are lots of candies still made and wrapped in wax paper and cardboard boxes, many of which come in mini sizes or may be purchased in bulk including: salt-water taffy, Dots, Nerds, Good and Plenty, Runts, Pixie Stix, Banana Splits, BB Bats, Wax Candy, Milk Duds, and Junior Mints and even mini chocolate bars wrapped in foil and paper! I found a bunch of these at Old Time Candy

Other Treat ideas include non-food items like pencils, word search or crossword puzzle books, seed packets, and bracelets – these are small gifts with purpose!

Eva: And how about ditching your plastic treat buckets for a cloth bag or tote? You could even customize it to match with your costume!


COSTUMES

Eva: Speaking of costumes, there are so many ways to reduce your Halloween waste this year by making them yourself (DIY)! 

Dianna: YES, Are you a fan of well-made and stylish vintage fashion? Well I am and I often start out by going through my closet at home to see what might make a solid costume. If that fails, I head to a nearby thrift store. I have frequented thrift stores since I was a teenager, always looking for treasures. A second-hand store is a great place to find elements for a Halloween costume.

Eva: For sure! Also, if you’re looking for something fancy this Halloween, consider renting a costume. Or, get crafty! Make your own costume out of cardboard, paper, or even felt! Make your costume extra fun, by wearing eco-friendly and non-toxic face paint, or make your own.

Dianna: That’s great, it’s important we surround ourselves with items that are good for us and good for the planet so that we don’t become the next climate horror story. 


DECORATIONS

Dianna: What about all those flimsy plastic decorations? The only thing scary about those is how harmful they are to our earth.

Eva: Exactly! That’s why this year I’m excited to use real stuff like pumpkins and festive leaf cut-outs to create a spooky, yet eco-friendly, atmosphere. One thing that my family does every year is carve pumpkins into Jack-o’-lanterns for decorations and we roast and eat the seeds afterward. Once the Halloween season comes to an end, the best thing to do is to compost your pumpkin.


HALLOWEEN RECIPES

Dianna: When it comes to fall foods, don’t you love to make real stuff?  Find a pumpkin and make tasty pumpkin soup! Have you seen the recipes for little mummies (pigs in a blanket), and the Cauliflower brain with red pepper hummus dip recipe from Kathryn Kellogg? Or how about these creepy witch finger cookies?

Eva: Little mummies are a must. I am definitely planning to make my own treats, including a spooky vegetable platter. Making plastic-free and healthy Halloween snacks is a great way to keep your Halloween possé fueled for Trick-or-Treating or that horror movie binge. 

Dianna: Now that we have all these treats and tips to remove plastic from our candy, costumes, decorations and snacks, I think we’re set for a spooktacular Halloween!

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Like so many things in 2020, this year’s holiday season might look a little different from years past. It might be harder to gather with your loved ones, and it might not be possible to travel to visit friends and family. Even so, there are many ways to celebrate the holiday season and remind the people who matter most that you are thinking of them.

Our 2020 Thoughtful Giving Guide features a number of Plastic Pollution Coalition business members that offer Earth-friendly gifts suited for just about anyone on your shopping list. At a time when many of us are physically distant from our loved ones, a thoughtful gift can still help spread some holiday cheer.

We at Plastic Pollution Coalition wish you a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.

P.S. Scroll to the bottom for plastic-free holiday tips and other fun ideas for celebrating the season.

Gifts For The Adventurer

Heritage Goods & Supply
Heritage Goods & Supply is a store based in Carpinteria, California where you can find unique goods from herbal supply, to specialty foods, animal supply, functional clothing & shoes, and more.

The Opinel Mushroom Knife is great for mushroom hunting, picking mushrooms, cleaning, and dusting them. The blade is made out of stainless steel and the handle is made out of durable beechwood.

Khordz
Khordz Mugs makes unique mugs that allow people to live sustainably whether they are stopping by their favorite coffee shop in town or hitting the road for a wild adventure. Handmade by ocean lovers in the Central California beach town of Santa Cruz, these awesome mugs help keep single-use coffee cups and lids (aka single-use plastic) out of the environment.

The Khordz Survival Drinkware mugs are made out of an endlessly reusable jar and 25 feet of paracord. An adventurer can do a lot with these two things: tie a hammock, make a snare trap, set a clothes ling, or hang a bear canister from a tree.

Klean Kanteen
Klean Kanteen is a family-owned business that makes non-toxic, BPA-free stainless steel water bottles. They are also a certified B Corp and a member of 1% for the Planet, so you can feel great when you buy their high quality reusable water bottles.

The 64oz insulated Klean Kanteen Water Bottle is perfect for the outdoors(wo)man in your life. Stainless steel and vacuum sealed, it keeps liquids hot for 38 hours and cold for 136 hours!

Rewilder
Rewilder makes high-performance, reusable bags from 100% salvaged materials. Everything is washed, cut, and sewn in California.

The Zero Waste Backpack from Rewilder is durable, water-resistant and made out of auto airbags and seatbelts, so your favorite adventurer can rest easy knowing that no new materials were used in the fashioning of this stylish bag.

Bountiful Bag
Bountiful Bag is a California-based family-owned business that upcycles grain bags used by craft beer brewers as well as banners from music & beer festivals into lifestyle goods and bags. A portion of their proceeds is donated to I Love A Clean San Diego.

The Black is Bountiful Bag is a special collection of Bountiful Bags made in support of Black Lives Matter. The collection features colors inspired by the Black is Beautiful beer design label and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit Embrace Race.

Personal Care Gifts

Allbalms
Allbalms makes powerful balms designed for health and beauty. Their products are made out of 100% natural organic and/or sustainable ingredients and are packaged in plastic-free containers.

Deep Tissue Massage Balm This all natural massage balm is designed to be used for massage therapy and can also be used for general relaxation purposes. Packaged in a plastic-free renewable paper container

@Bambuu
@Bambuu offers a range of bamboo products that serve as sustainable replacements for common single-use plastic items.

The @bambuubrush is @Bambuu’s flagship product offering. Its 100% bamboo handle and 100% compostable packaging make it an excellent alternative to single-use plastic toothbrushes that never biodegrade

C & the Moon
C & the Moon is a skincare line founded on the belief that the way we care for ourselves has a direct impact on how we care for the world around us.

Malibu Made Body Scrub is an absolute staple for anyone looking for an environmentally considerate product developed specifically for nourishing sensitive skin. Made with certified organic ingredients and packaged in a reusable glass container, this stocking stuffer is perfect for people who prioritize the health of their skin and the planet.

The Circular Living Co.
The Circular Living Co. is a small, coastal California-based business started by two fun-loving women who set out to help protect people and the planet from toxic chemicals and plastic.

The Plastic Pollution Coalition staff is crazy about the non-toxic, plastic-free deodorant line from The Circular Living Co. Not only are their deodorants effective, they free from a wide range of icky toxic chemicals and GMOs found in most deodorant products.

Do Good Soaps & Suds
Do Good Soaps & Suds makes delectable soaps, lotions, and balms that are completely free of plastic and toxic chemicals.

The Naked Truth Soap Bar is all about keeping it simple with just a few wholesome, all-natural ingredients—olive oil, coconut oil, and shea butter. This fragrance-free soap bar is perfect for those who value keeping things simple and honest.

Green Gifts
Green Gifts strives to make choosing the environmentally friendly option more accessible by eliminating the two most common barriers: convenience and cost.

Vegan Floss from No Tox Life is an excellent alternative to the plastic-coated, plastic packaged floss that usually finds its way into stockings. This bamboo charcoal floss comes in a reusable, refillable glass container to help you eliminate plastic from your dental hygiene routine.

LUSH
LUSH offers a wide variety of handmade, ethically sourced, naked (aka unpackaged) luxury bath and body products that you can feel good about while indulging in self care.

Plastic-Free Bar Soaps from LUSH offers a range of handmade bar soaps packed with fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and oils that leave skin smelling and feeling great. These are a sustainable alternative to body washes that come in plastic bottles

Made For Life Organics
Made For Life Organics grew from a need for skincare that nourishes your body from the inside out. Made For Life Organics is an ethos of healthy and wholesome living, from the labels on their recycled glass bottles and jars to the ingredients inside them.

Mindful Moments Body & Massage Oil is designed to help you regroup and restore your senses—a wonderful gift to give a loved one seeking calm and inner peace.

Native
Native makes aluminum-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, vegan & cruelty-free, deodorant that actually works.

We were so excited when we found out that Native was launching a Native Plastic-Free line. What better way to package their ultra-clean deodorant than in ultra-clean, plastic-free paperboard? We are so happy to see brands that are committed to only using ingredients that are safe for their customers and for the planet put the same consideration into their packaging. More of this, please!

Poppits Toothpaste
Poppits is a plastic-free toothpaste that will make both you and Mother Earth smile. Their soluble toothpaste pods come in recyclable (or reusable!) aluminum containers so you can say buh-bye to plastic toothpaste tubes.

Shop the entire Poppits line here.

Om Naturale
Om Naturale is a family-run farm crafted, sustainable, bath and body company based out of Armstrong, BC. They stand behind all things organic and care deeply about ethically sourced, natural ingredients. Oh, and we love that they know there is nothing green about plastic.

Om Natural’s Face Shave Bar is made with natural, organic ingredients and produces a rich, thick, and creamy lather for a clean, moisturizing shave.

Samudra Skin & Sea
Samudra Skin & Sea was born from a desire to bring the regenerative properties of seaweed to a healthy line of nourishing skincare. Guided by an ‘oceans-first’ ethos, their wild seaweed is hand-harvested from the pristine waters of the Mendocino coast in California. They collaborate with Blue Business Council, 5 Gyres, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Berkeley’s Ecology Center, and UPSTREAM Solutions on plastic pollution reduction efforts.

The Clay Mask from Samudra Skin & Sea exfoliates and polishes, leaving your face detoxified and renewed. We love that this amazing product comes in a glass jar AND that it is now available for refill at FillGoods.co!

Gifts For The Beauty Enthusiast

Bare Naturals
Bare Naturals was born out of a New Zealand mother’s desire to create beautiful, indulgent health and beauty products, without compromising consumers’ health with toxic chemicals.

Buttercream Organic Lip Balm is part of the Sweet Tooth collection from Bare Naturals. Made with just a handful of organic ingredients, this beautiful creamy balm smells so delicious it will have you smacking your lips and craving cupcake frosting.

Green and Gorgeous
Green and Gorgeous makes beauty products that people can truly feel good about. Their non-GMO, organic, vegan, cruelty-free products come in eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging because they are passionate about protecting the planet.

The glass and stainless steel Aerosol-Free Dry Shampoo Dispenser is a great solution to harmful aerosol cans. Not only is it an adorable addition to a zero-waste beauty routine, it is also safe for you and the environment.

Homemade Betty
Homemade Betty offers a selection of organic, vegan, zero waste skincare products. Check out one of our favorite Homemade Betty offerings.

Rich, creamy and handmade with love, the Organic Lavender Lemon Body Butter from Homemade Betty is an award-winning body butter that comes in a zero waste jar that can be refilled and used again and again.

River Organics
River Organics is an independent beauty company that offers makeup and skin care products that are formulated to be safe and hydrating for all skin types. Each product comes with a full list of ingredients that is simple and clear to understand, and their packaging is as zero-waste as possible.

The Vegan Blush Stick from River Organics is a gorgeous hue and it goes on smooth with a light and powdery finish. It is made with certified organic ingredients including pomegranate seed and red raspberry oil, plus it is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and plastic-free.

True Botanicals
True Botanicals makes pure, potent and proven products that are good for people and the planet. Every one of their products is MADE SAFE certified, meaning they are made without 5,000+ known toxic ingredients.

The Moisture Lock Overnight Mask is a rich yet lightweight night mask formulated to dramatically boost hydration for all skin types. This mask is free of pore-clogging waxes found in traditional night creams and will have you awaken to softer, more supple skin.

Gifts For Kids

Klean Kanteen
Klean Kanteen is a family owned business that makes non-toxic, BPA-free stainless steel water bottles. They are also a certified B Corp and a member of 1% for the Planet, so you can feel great when you buy their high quality reusable water bottles.

The Kid Classic Sport 12oz Water Bottle is a stainless steel water bottle was designed with active kids in mind. It features a spill proof sports cap with a dust cover, a soft silicone spout and loop so it can be easily attached to a bag or backpack. It comes in a variety of bright colors and fun graphics, and the chip-resistant finish is extra durable, making it safe for people and the planet.

LunchBots
Founded by a mother of two sons, LunchBots offers zero waste food containers that are easy to pack and that last a lifetime.

LunchBots offers a wide range of eco-friendly food containers that eliminate the need for single-use plastic including lunch boxes, bento boxes, thermoses, and dip/salad bowls. PPC staff members are big fans of their Lunch Boxes & Bento Boxes.

U-Konserve
U-Konserve was started by two mothers who wanted to find environmentally conscious solutions to packed school lunches. They knew that common single-use baggies and drink cartons were destined for landfill, so they created a waste-free lunch kit. To this day U-Konserve offers durable, long-lasting products that offer innovative solutions to eco-minded parents and kids.

U-Konserve’s trusted stainless steel containers now come with plastic-free, clear-as-glass silicone lids with their New Stainless Steel & Silicone To-Go Containers. These are the perfect waste-free solution for eco-friendly lunches. Leak-proof and dishwasher safe, these containers are popular with kids and parents alike.

Wisdom Supply Co.
Wisdom Supply Co. is a Certified B Corporation that believes that waste is a design flaw. It is this conviction that drives them to curate and create school supplies that prevent waste, for good.

The Stabilo Wax Markers and Dry Erase Markers are a fun and versatile substitute for lots of typically plastic items. They can be used as a color pencil or you can use a wet paintbrush to turn drawings made with them into watercolors! They even work on dry-erase boards (or windows), and they wipe off easily with a damp cloth or sponge.

Wild Minimalist
Wild Minimalist is an online story for people who are striving to live a plastic-free, zero waste lifestyle.

The Kids Wood Cooking Kit is the perfect gift for an aspiring young chef. Each tool is sized for little hands so that parent and child can experience the joys of cooking side-by-side.

Gifts For Pet Lovers

Boba&Vespa
Boba&Vespa is a brand on a mission to eliminate plastic pet products. They believe the desire to reward our pets shouldn’t come at the expense of the planet. They believe that companies, not consumers, should be responsible for ensuring that products are responsibly sourced, manufactured, and packaged. Their priority is to create happy pets, happy pet parents, and a happy planet.

The Water Gem Cardboard Cat House is a beautifully designed cat house that is the perfect place for cats to sleep, hide, and play. Best of all, it is made with no toxic dyes or glues, and, of course, no plastic!

Of course Boba&Vespa offers a Dog Shampoo Bar! Your dog’s skin can get dry and itchy just like any humans, so why not treat them to a soft, fresh coat using this natural, organic dog shampoo bar? These bars are way easier to use and less wasteful than any bottle shampoo. Plus they are 100% plastic-free and made in the USA.

Dulse & Rugosa
Dusle & Rugosa is a mother-daughter team dedicated to spreading the wonder of Maine’s oceans, and specifically seaweed. They harvest or grow their botanicals and seaweeds on Gotts Island, a tiny island off the coast of Acadia National Park.

Dulse & Rugosa’s Seaweed-Rich and Plastic-Free Dog Shampoo is the ultimate eco-shampoo for your furry friend. Their natural yet effective ingredients replace harsh chemicals that can leave skin itchy and raw. Let’s face it–your best friend deserves it!

Ethique
Ethique is all about protecting Mama Earth. Their products are plastic-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and palm oil-free! To date they have prevented over 8 million plastic bottles from entering the environment.

Shampooch Mini is the perfect plastic-free, bottle-free, hassle-free shampoo bar for (wo)man’s best friend. Ethique even offers a shampooch bar specifically designed for doggos with extra delicate skin.

Stocking Stuffers

Bagnet
Bagnet makes handmade, high-quality leather bag magnets (aka ‘Bagnets’) that keep purses and reusable shopping bags off the ground.

The Katie Bagnet is a Plastic Pollution Coalition staff fave. The mid-tone tobacco brown leather and antique style brass O-ring hardware give this piece an adorably rustic feel. This unique product can hold up to 8 pounds of weight.

Clam & Clasp
Clam & Clasp makes beautiful handcrafted seashell jewelry that donates a portion of proceeds to non-profit organizations dedicated to protecting our oceans.

The Advocate Necklace is handcrafted in California with sustainably collected, 14K gold or sterling silver plated seashells. 20% of proceeds from this necklace are donated to organizations that help protect the oceans, like Plastic Pollution Coalition!

EVERLESS
EVERLESS is a line of design-centric products that enhance the lifestyle of the conscious consumer of the future. They empower the minimal lifestyle through high-end design and breakthrough technical innovation. EVERLESS believes in creating products that make your life easier and the planet better.

The Smart Bag by EVERLESS is the world’s first self-collapsible reusable bag. This ultralight (less than 2 oz.), ultrasmall (4” x 2.5” x 0.5”), ultra-durable (it can hold up to 9lbs.!) gadget makes bringing your reusable bag easier (and sleeker) than ever.

Final
Final, the creator of the innovative FinalStraw, creates a range of Foreverables that reduce the need for plastics, empower individuals to change their buying habits, and raise awareness of the impacts of our everyday decisions.

FinalSpork is the perfect gift for anyone who is ready to quit ‘forking’ around with plastic cutlery. Full-sized cutlery meets pocket-sized portability with this ingenious multipurpose piece. Useful enough to be the only gift you give your adventure-loving sibling yet small enough to fit nicely in mom’s overflowing stocking, the FinalSpork is a must-have for Holiday Season 2020.

Kempii
Kempii is a company that adheres to the principles of REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, ROT. The name comes from Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys Kempii), the rarest species of sea turtle and one of the thousands of ocean species threatened by plastic pollution. Their hope is to inspire people to create a better future for Lepidochelys Kempii and other wildlife.

Did you know most tea bags contain plastic? This clever organic Reusable Tea Bag from Kempii allows you to ditch the single-use plastic and the toxic chemicals it leaches into your tea. This stocking stuffer is an absolute must for any tea fanatic.


Khala & Company
Khala & Company is a Colorado-based company that made a name for itself in the sustainability space as a producer of vegan and beeswax wraps for food on the go. They have now expanded their line to include even more zero waste homegoods. They are a Green America certified business and a member of 1% for the Planet.

The Organic Hemp-Cotton Reusable Coffee Filters from Khala & Co. are an excellent replacement for single-use alternatives. Did you know that an average of 2.25 million cups of coffee are enjoyed every single day? That equals around 140 million coffee filters a day! Help the coffee lovers in your life cut back on some of that waste with these sustainable alternatives.

Meliora
Meliora makes cleaning products that get the job done with MADE SAFE certified ingredients, meaning that they are as friendly for your home and the planet as possible. They are also a certified B Corp and a member of 1% for the Planet.

As a staff full of parents (people and pets alike), the Laundry Stain Removal Soap Stick is a Plastic Pollution Coalition household staple. It is plastic-free, dye-free, preservative-free, palm-oil-free, cruelty-free, and fragrance-free. Oh, and the best part–it WORKS. Tuck this little guy into just about anyone’s stocking and they will most certainly not be disappointed.

Stasher
Stasher offers a range of reusable silicone bags that are better for you and better for the planet than single-use plastic baggies. Stasher is also a member of 1% for the Planet, which means that they donate 1% of their sales to environmental non-profits.

The new Pocket Bag from Stasher is palm-sized for ultimate convenience. It is also the perfect size for squeezing into the toe of a holiday stocking.

Gifts For Foodies, Coffee Fans, & Tea Lovers

Khala & Company
Khala & Company is a Colorado-based company that made a name for itself in the sustainability space as a producer of vegan and beeswax wraps for food on the go. They have now expanded their line to include even more zero waste homegoods. They are a Green America certified business and a member of 1% for the Planet.

Khala’s Vegan Combo Pack includes four 100% plant-based reusable food wraps in a variety of sizes. These organic hemp cotton wraps are infused with six plant-based waxes and oils, and contain absolutely NO synthetics or beeswax.


Pondicherry Dry Goods
Pondicherry Dry Goods is dedicated to creating an evolved community that values great taste, purity, and eco-consciousness.

Pondicherry’s handcrafted artisanal teas are treasured for their flavor, goodness, and beauty. Handcrafted from seasonally harvested ingredients, you can take pride in the fact that when you sip their delicious teas you are supporting and empowering small farmers. While they promote loose leaf tea, they do offer handmade 100% cotton tea bags for convenience.

Spicers Mill
Spicers Mill has a mission that is near and dear to our hearts: to make a change in a plastic-dominant market by offering their products in 100% plastic-free packaging, all the way down to their shipping cartons.

The Little Bit of Italy gift box set from Spicers Mill is a great holiday gift idea for anyone who enjoys an environmentally-friendly kitchen. Treat the eco-minded foodie in your life to five plastic-free jars of delicious authentic Italian flavor.

Tea Vue
Tea Vue is a family-owned business that strives to exceed their customers’ expectations by scrutinizing and selecting the most authentic loose leaf teas and Pu-Erh tea cakes and packaging them in a way that is worthy of their character and complexity.

Shop the entire selection of Tea Vue offerings here.

Numi Tea
Numi Organic Tea makes a wide range of teas that are USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified, plastic-free, and absolutely delicious. Their commitment to the planet, global communities, and their consumers means you can feel great about giving the gift of Numi to the tea lovers in your life.

Numi’s organic caffeine-free Chai blends rich Rooibos and a sultry blend of spices. Piquant cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon mingle with sweet allspice, vivacious ginger and a kiss of cardamom combine for an excellent holiday flavor.

Home & Garden

Be Bold Box
Be Bold Box is an eco lifestyle company that offers gift boxes that are filled with practical eco-friendly goodies that are perfect for people embarking on their zero-waste journey.

Be Bold Box offers both seasonal subscription boxes as well as one-time gift boxes.

ECOlunchbox
ECOlunchbox is a mission-based, plastic-free lunchbox company with a vision to change the world one lunch at a time by making tools to reduce the use of plastics for people and the planet. This holiday season ECOlunchbox is feeling extra generous and has offered to donate 20% of sales over $35 to Plastic Pollution Coalition when you use code PLASTICPOLLUTES20.

This holiday season ECOlunchbox is offering several holiday gift sets featuring their new book, ‘Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide For Plastic-Free Living.’ Written by the ECOlunchbox founder, Sandra Ann Harris, this book is part memoir, part inspirational ode to the ocean and packed with how-to tips to say goodbye to plastic.

Paired with one some of their ultra convenient reusable food storage containers, these gift boxes are excellent for anyone looking to start their zero waste journey.

Faherty
Faherty is a family business dedicated to crafting great products that last a lifetime. They produce quality products that honor both their customers and the planet.

The Adirondak Blanket from Faherty is a versatile blanket with the perfect blend of ruggedness and comfort to get you through chilly nights around the campfire or cozy nights on the couch. Because the pattern on these beautiful pieces are inspired by Indigenous art and weavings, 10% of sales go to the Lakota Way Healing Center. Faherty is also actively partnering with Native designers so that soon 100% of “Indigenous-inspired prints” will be by inspired Indigenous designers.

Goods Holding Company
Goods Holding Company offers a simple and elegant glass reusable jar system for bulk bin shopping. The glass jars and metal lids are made in the USA and the tare weight is printed right on the jar so you can skip a step at the grocery store and take your filled jar right up to the cashier without pre-weighing. No plastic bag needed, take your jar straight from the store to your pantry shelf.

Goods Holding Company is now offering $5 shipping on their kits. Shop their kits here.

Honey Bee Candles
Honey Bee Candles make beautiful handmade candles out of sustainable, ethically sourced natural beeswax. They are naturally colored with the pollen the bees leave behind and they give off a subtle honey aroma when burned. All of their products and packaging are completely plastic-free, zero-waste, biodegradable, and palm-oil free.

Shop the entire line of beautifully crafted 100% pure beeswax candles from Honey Bee Candles here.

Life Without Plastic
Life Without Plastic is an online store that offers a huge selection of plastic-free goodies that make great gifts for everyone, no matter where they are on their zero-waste journey.

We were so excited when Life Without Plastic launched their seasonal gift boxes, and their Winter 2020 Box is perfectly suited for the cozy season. The box comes with an insulated stainless steel thermos, an organic cotton mesh bag, a natural body sponge, and a mason jar filled with homemade hot cocoa mix.

Made By Bees
Made By Bees is a producer of all-natural, Canadian-made honey and handmade beeswax products. They strive to save bees, the planet, and our food.

Beeswax Food Wraps from Made By Bees are plastic-free, washable, and reusable. They come in a variety of sizes and patterns and are a brilliant substitute for single-use plastic bags and cling wrap.

Plaine Products
Plaine Products is a company founded by two sisters with a shared dream: to live in a world without plastic pollution. Not only are their products never packaged in single-use plastic, they also run all of their ingredients through the Environmental Working Group database to ensure that they are safe and non-toxic.

Let’s face it, hand sanitizer is one of those things that has almost become synonymous with 2020. And unfortunately, most hand sanitizer comes in plastic bottles that are discarded once they are empty. Thankfully, Plaine Products offers a refillable aluminum hand sanitizer that can help keep both you and the planet safe and healthy.

Sackcloth & Ashes
Sackcloth & Ashes founder Bob Dalton was inspired to help the homeless population when his mother found herself living on the streets in 2013. For every blanket purchased, Sackcloth & Ashes donates one blanket to a homeless shelter in your community. Read their full story here.

The Heritage Blanket is an extra special piece in the already special Sackcloth & Ashes lineup. It is designed by Lehi ThunderVoice Eagle and 100% of the profits from this collection will be donated to Sovereign Bodies Insitute, an organization that generates new knowledge and understandings of how Indigenous nations and communities are impacted by gender and sexual violence, and how they may continue to work towards healing and freedom from such violence.

These blankets are woven from a recycled, dye-free, chemical-free, water-free, wool blend that is certifiably eco-friendly, and cruelty-free.

Teros
Teros strives to help their customers lead a healthier and greener lifestyle. At the core of their work are service, trust, inspiration, and great products. They diligently research and carefully select products that meet green, ethical, and healthy criteria. Teros is also a 1% for the Planet partner, which means they donate 1% of sales to environmental nonprofits.

Among the many product options available from Teros is the Haws Mist Sprayer, which is an excellent gift for any garden and/or houseplant aficionado. This item comes in copper, brass, or nickel.

Whoa Nelli
Whoa Nelli was started by an Iowa-based couple driven to create household cleaning products that were safe for families and for the planet. Their goal is to make healthy, safe, and sustainable products the norm.

We are fans of Whoa Nelli’s Natural Scouring Powder for several important reasons: 1) The ingredient list is short, easy to understand, and free from scary toxic chemicals, 2) it comes in a plastic-free stainless steel canister that can easily be refilled, 3) it works!

Happy Holidays from Plastic Pollution Coalition!

Join our global Coalition.

5 Ways to Reduce Plastic For the Holidays

10 Soups for Winter from Green Prophet

10 Clever Ways to Shamelessly Regift This Holiday Season

The Joy of No-Gift Christmas

One of the scariest things about Halloween is all of the plastic waste it generates. From plastic decorations to plastic masks to plastic candy wrappers to synthetic costumes… the environmental impact of Halloween is truly frightening.

This year we challenge you to use real stuff and make real stuff because we know it is possible to enjoy the spooky season without all of the terrifying plastic waste.

Check out these plastic-free DIY ideas and SHARE your ideas with us by tagging @plasticpollutes on Instagram.

1. DIY Fabric Pumpkin from Fat Quarter Shop

We absolutely love this DIY Fabric Pumpkin from Fat Quarter Shop! It is such a wholesome, festive decoration that works well for both Halloween and for Fall in general. Check out the tutorial here.

2. Scary Edibles, You’re Gourdeous Veggie Dip Tray, The Zombie Mummy Sausage Roll Family, Spiderberries, & Halloween Edibles from @foodbites:

When it comes to adorable and seasonal food inspiration, @foodbites is one of our absolute favorites. We enjoyed so many of their Halloween ideas we couldn’t pick just one.

Scary Edibles

*cucumber and cantaloupe skulls

*blueberry centipedes

*watermelon abominable snowman

*watermelon skeletons

*watermelon voodoo dolls

*watermelon ghosts

*white chocolate & pretzel mummies

*cantaloupe & chocolate Book on 2020

*white chocolate & pretzel spiderwebs

You’re Gourdeous Veggie Dip Tray

The Zombie Mummy Sausage Roll Family

Spiderberries

Halloween Edibles

*Strawberry Ghosts

*Cheddar and Pretzel Brooms

*Pretzel Vampires

*Mini Pepper Frankensteins

3. Skull String Art from @abeautifulmess

This stunning skull string art idea is one of the most popular DIY Halloween decorations sisters @elsielarson and @emmaredvelvet have ever made. We can’t say that we’re too surprised–are you?

4. Felt Ghosty Yarn Garland from @lunabeehive

Christen Glenn, the crafty gal behind @lunabeehive, creates absolute WONDERS with felt. And while most of her work is way out of our league, we are confident that we might actually be able to replicate this adorable DIY Halloween garland.

5. Book Page Pumpkin from @creationsbykara

Though most of Kara’s creations are culinary, it turns out she also has some tricks up her sleeve when it comes to crafting DIY Halloween decor. Check out her step-by-step tutorial for how to make this adorable Book Page Pumpkin.

6. DIY Ghost Windsock from Chicken Scratch NY

We love to see how creative people get with materials they find around the house. This DIY Ghost Winsock from Chicken Scratch NY is such a fun way to upcycle a tin can.

7. Paper mâché pumpkin piñatas

Trick-or-treating might not be possible this year, but you can still have fun with your family by making your own paper mâché piñatas using strips of newspaper and a paste made of flour, water, and salt. Here is a tutorial. Decorate the outside to make it look like a pumpkin, fill with treats, and hang with a fabric ribbon. These pumpkin piñatas are fully compostable once the tissue paper decorations are removed. Happy Halloween!

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By Earth Island Institute

Berkeley, CA (September 1, 2020) — The Plastics Free California initiative is heading to the November 2022 ballot after qualifying with 870,000 voters signatures — significantly more than the 623,212 signatures required. Two of Earth Island Institute’s projects, California Climate and Agriculture Network and Plastic Pollution Coalition, supported the initiative campaign.

Should the initiative pass, it will reduce plastic pollution, restore and protect environments harmed by plastic pollution, and increase recycling. It will achieve this by funding environmental restoration and protection of streams, rivers, beaches, and oceans harmed by plastic trash pollution; reducing the amount of plastic pollution in California by ensuring that all single-use plastic packaging be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2030; reducing the amount of single-use plastic sold in California by 25 percent by 2030; instituting a statewide ban on non-recyclable plastic Styrofoam food containers; funding new recycling plants that will turn single-use trash into new products; protecting drinking water, reducing runoff from pesticides, and funding new composting facilities; and charging corporate plastic manufacturers a penny tax on its single-use plastic packages to fund plastic recycling and environmental clean-up of plastic pollution.

“We have an opportunity with this initiative to support a clean environment for all of California, including our rural communities, by moving away from harmful plastics and towards sustainable solutions like compost production and healthy soils practices,” said Jeanne Merrill, policy director at California Climate and Agriculture Network. The penny tax on the single-use plastic packages would fund the healthy soils program.

“Garnering so many signatures even during the Covid lockdown shows how much the public wants this. It shows that California residents want to take responsibility for our roles in the plastic pollution crisis and enact real solutions to solve it, using just and equitable source reduction and waste reduction efforts. We are showing that we are ready to lead the way to clean up California with the Plastics Free California initiative,” said Jackie Nunez, founder of the Last Plastic Straw and advocacy program manager for Plastic Pollution Coalition.

In February, Earth Island Institute filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against 10 major food, beverage, and consumer goods companies for the nuisance created by their plastic packaging, including polluting California waterways with plastic trash and touting products as recyclable when they’re not. The ongoing lawsuit was also filed on behalf of four of Earth Island’s projects that work on plastic pollution issues, including Plastic Pollution Coalition, International Marine Mammal Project, Sharks Stewards, and 1000 Fountains.