The CO2CYCLE Solution to Green Commercial Production

By Paul Kradin, CEO, CO2CYCLE

We all seek to lead lives with purpose. I recently discovered — at age 50 — that my purpose is to help address the gathering threats of rising greenhouse gases and our rampaging abuse of disposable plastics. Our atmosphere is clogging with carbon dioxide and other heat capturing compounds, and the earth that sustains us is submerging under a mountain of single-use plastics — their masquerade as a “convenience” is officially over.

My practice had been to use earnings from my comfortable career as a corporate communications writer to support charitable groups that aligned with my values. But I felt I needed to do more. My partner has a well-established commercial production company and had long-lamented the industry’s wastefulness. We conceived a start-up that could provide green set services for – initially – commercial productions and instill sound environmental practices that wouldn’t compromise creativity.

In May 2018 I quit my job to start CO2CYCLE (pronounced cocycle) to do exactly that. On set we implement several systems to reduce waste, eliminate single-use plastic water bottles, offer solar-charged table-top batteries for light-duty work to displace Diesel-powered electricity, and collaborate with caterers to ensure their serving items are reusable or recyclable. At the end, we tally up the shoot’s total carbon footprint and invest in an offset project so it nets out to carbon-neutral. So far, we’re finding 20 tons of CO2 to be the average footprint per shoot!

On August 20 I worked my first commercial shoot for Ulta Beauty for four days — my first time ever working on set. Our presence is designed to be visually engaging, non-intimidating and highly educational. For example, we handle all trash collection, sorting and proper disposal with an array of graphic bins that are hard to miss. Our pop-tent is custom-made with four 100-watt solar panels that charge two portable batteries at a time (for computers, laptops, a water dispenser, catering appliances, etc.). And our onsite attendant — me — helps to make it a seamless experience.

The response from cast and crew was truly heartening.

“CO2CYCLE keeps a watchful eye to make sure everything on set is properly sorted — seamlessly and without any disruption to our creative process, said Cara Bonilla, Sr. Creative Director, Ulta Beauty. “With a commitment to education and dedication to saving our Earth, this company is chipping away – making a huge impact with many small, important steps.”

Our challenge is to build a bridge for production decision-makers between their desire for a green set and the more difficult step of allocating budget for it. However, we are not that expensive. On our last few shoots, CO2CYCLE accounted for an average of 1.2% of the total budget. Had we not been there, production would have spent about 0.2% on services we would have covered. So, the net cost for have a green, carbon-neutral production is 1% of the budget. Given the stakes I think this is a pretty good value.

We want to inspire a cultural shift away from constant consumption and disposal, and move toward a more sustainable practice. Are there other reasons beyond social responsibility that should motivate producers and their clients? Well, one marketing survey after another reveals that Millennials and affluent shoppers overwhelmingly prefer to spend their money with socially responsible companies. These customers will spend up to 30% more for products and services from climate-friendly brands when they’re aware of their altruism – which is why we provide a Carbon Impact Report and Instagram-ready graphics that highlight our successes on set.

For a long time, people didn’t understand how day-to-day habits could ricochet into our ecosystem. But now we do, and our situation is critical. These issues are daunting for people who can’t quite square how their small, personal efforts can alter a planet-wide problem. I would simply say that if each of us does what we can to reduce our carbon footprint and phase out our use of disposable plastics it would add up very fast.

Join our global Coalition.

Aiming to end the single-use plastic epidemic, Tap implores users to “Drink different” with its network of reusable bottle Refill Stations available to users in 30 countries and growing

Los Angeles, CA – Today Tap Projects Inc., a “soft(ware) drink company,” launched its namesake app, Tap – the world’s first global search engine for clean drinking water. Consumers report that the prevailing reason why they buy bottled water is “convenience.” Instead, Tap believes that bottles are purchased because thirst is highly inconvenient. Anyone can search online for the nearest gas station, coffee shop or nail salon, but when it comes to thirst, what options does one have? Go ahead, open Google Maps and search “water fountain” – how many fountains do you see?

Now, ask Siri or Alexa, “Where can I fill up my water bottle?”… They’ll have to get back to you on that. In the history of mankind, no one has ever indexed the locations and prices of clean water around the world…until now.

Tap has built a search engine for clean water – as long as people carry a reusable bottle, they will never have to buy bottled water again. From Amsterdam to New Delhi to Los Angeles, Tap helps everyone find water by connecting it to the Internet. Tap’s free app geolocates users to the closest water refill stations, empowering everyone to #Drinkdifferent by knowing where to fill up their own bottle. The app’s network includes free public drinking fountains, bottle refill stations such as those in an airport, and water “ATMs” where people purchase “unpackaged” water to refill an existing container. This app also helps drives awareness, foot traffic, and sales for businesses in the rapidly growing Tap Authorized Refill Network, which is composed of over 34,000 cafes, restaurants, and other businesses in 30 countries around the globe – that’s more locations than Starbucks globally. One day there will be millions of Tap refill locations.

“Our team has one mission: to save Earth and the people on it,” shared Samuel Ian Rosen, Founder and CEO of Tap. “Approximately one percent of Earth’s water is fresh and accessible. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages. Water is a basic human right, but it will be priced as a commodity as we face global scarcity. People around the world will use Tap to find the cheapest, cleanest water, thereby decoupling our need to quench thirst from the plastic bottle causing horrific pollution. Water will be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century. Cleaning up our planet and preventing further climate change is one of the largest economic opportunities of the next decade.”

With Tap, thirsty consumers can simply open the app and filter the closest Refill Stations by whatever they crave, from unfiltered tap water to sparkling or flavored water. Together, Tap and its network of refill partners are freeing consumers of the marketing veil the water industry holds over our most essential resource. Globally, humans buy approximately 1,000,000 water bottles every minute, yet less than 10% of the world’s plastic is properly recycled. At this rate, the amount of single-use plastic ending up in our oceans will outweigh fish by 2050, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Today, powered by its network of influencers, celebrities, entrepreneurs and brand partners, Tap invites the world to #Drinkdifferent and pledge not to purchase single-use plastic water bottles for 30 days. The average American purchases 167 water bottles a year – roughly one bottle every two days. In only 30 days, the #Drinkdifferent social movement could save 4.8 million plastic bottles from landfills and our oceans, even if just one-percent of Tap’s social media reach completes the pledge.

Additional Tap features include:

● Directions – Navigate to Refill Stations with quick walking directions.

● Refill Station profiles – Find additional information about refill stations, like contact information

and other products or services they offer.

● Refill Station preferences – Filter through Refill Stations by selecting the water type like flat,

sparkling, purified, or chilled. Users can also filter through types of Refill Stations such as

public fountains, water ATMs, or pet-friendly.

Tap’s Current Refill Network includes:

● 34,000 Refill Stations

● 30+ Countries

● 7,112 Cities

● Popular cafes and restaurants, including Shake Shack, Umami burger, sweetgreen, Van Leeuwen, Dr. Smood, Bareburger, Barry’s Bootcamp and more.

“Barry’s is working on reducing single-use plastics across its studios,” stated Vicky Land, V.P. of Communications and Brand Strategy for Barry’s Bootcamp. “Being part of the TAP app is an opportunity to support our efforts for progress on a broader scale.”

“Umami Burger is proud to support sustainable initiatives,” added Sebastien Silvestri, Chief Operating Officer of Disruptive Group at sbe. “We are thrilled to work with Tap and further support their mission to reduce the amount of single-use plastics ending up in landfills.”

About Tap

Tap is the mobile app that allows you to find and access water on the go. The Refill Station network is made up of public places where you can refill your water bottle as well as partnerships with coffee shops, fast-casual restaurants, fitness studios and others who will do the same for no cost. Whether a drinking fountain or a filtered water ATM, you’ll be sure to find it on Tap. We’re expanding every day to make Tap a convenient and reliable alternative to bottled water and to help eliminate plastic pollution around the globe. Take the pledge to #DrinkDifferent.

The people behind Life Without Plastic, an online store for plastic-free gear, have a new book LIFE WITHOUT PLASTIC: The Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Avoiding Plastic to Keep Your Family and the Planet Healthy.

Printed on FSC-certified paper with BPA-free ink, the book explains the health and environmental problems of plastic and provides readers with ideas for safe, reusable, and affordable alternatives.

How did the book come about? After the birth of their son, Chantal Plamondon and Jay Sinha set out on a journey to avoid plastic baby bottles as the Canadian government moved to ban bisphenol A (BPA). When they found it was difficult to procure glass baby bottles, Chantal and Jay made it their mission to not only find glass and metal replacements for plastic, but to make those products accessible to others as well.

In this step-by-step guide, Chantal and Jay show readers how to analyze their personal plastic use, find alternatives, and create easy replacements.

About Chantal Plamondon and Jay Sinha

Chantal Plamondon and Jay Sinha are the co-founders of Life Without Plastic, an online shop and information resource for safe, high quality, ethically-sourced, Earth-friendly alternatives to plastic products for everyday life. They live in the rolling Gatineau Hills of Wakefield, Quebec, Canada (in a twist of ironic black humor—though it’s really not funny at all—their beloved hometown recently became the location for an expanded polystyrene factory!).

Chantal Plamondon is an ecopreneur and lawyer born and raised in Ste-Thérèse, Québec, Canada. She attended McGill Law School and went on to obtain a masters degree in law with a specialization in business ethics from the University of Ottawa. She also graduated from HEC Montréal with a degree in Management. Starting a multiple bottom line, conscious business has always been at the top of her life goals. Since co-founding Life Without Plastic with Jay, she’s been dealing primarily with strategic development, product sourcing and accounting. This passion to protect the environment was passed on to her from her Huron-Wendat mother who told her about the importance of being grateful for what the Big Turtle, our planet Earth, offers us every day. She hopes that during her lifetime, everything produced on our planet will go back to feed the Earth and its creatures in a healthy nutritious way, without any bits of plastic being caught between the teeth.

Jay Sinha is is an ecopreneur, scientist and lawyer who hails proudly from the windy prairies of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where the sun shines bright and the sky is huge. He has always been captivated by nature, and his environmental protection instincts really kicked into gear when doing a grade six project on acid rain. Now he sees chilling parallels between yesterday’s acid rain and today’s borderless toxic microplastics. An honors degree in biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario taught him about the microscopic world within and around us all. He spent a year living and travelling in Europe, and in India exploring his Bengali roots—all the while absorbing first hand how we are one people, regardless of whether we’re from Grenoble or Kolkata…or Winnipeg. Continuing his international and eco-oriented life focus, he completed civil and common law degrees at McGill University in Montreal, followed by a dip back into science with a graduate diploma in ecotoxicology from Concordia University—all the better to understand the toxic effects of plastics. He is a writer at heart who hopes his words will help people, and contribute to making the world a better place.

Take Action to stop plastic pollution.

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By Way PapaMuse

The plastic pollution problem affects all of us and people around the world need to come together to solve it. This is why I founded the Plastic Free Challenge one year ago. When I started this campaign I was determined to raise awareness and help tackle this problem, but I had never done anything quite like this and didn’t realize how hard it could be to get people to understand the serious threat we are facing and to take action. Fortunately I am inspired every day by the amazing work of my peers and the participation we see that fuels this campaign.

What is the Plastic Free Challenge?

The basic idea of the Plastic Free Challenge is actually borrowed from the ALS challenge that happened on social media some years ago, but rather than pouring a bucket of ice water over our heads we are making real changes in our daily lives to use less plastic and then we document and share our experience. We support each other as a community and inspire others who see our actions from our social media posts. The Plastic Free Challenge asks people to refuse disposable plastic and lead by example by promoting to their circle of friends on social media.

The goal is to raise awareness and create a demand for sustainable products and services. I am no scientist, marketing guru, millionaire, or super hero, I am a regular person like you, but as I began to read countless articles about plastic pollution, I became increasingly educated about the detrimental effects of plastic and knew I had to do something about it. I assembled a small team of volunteers and we hashed out different ideas. Our many challenges help people understand their personal impact and responsibility in regards to consumption and the power and influence of spending. 

How the Plastic Free Challenge Was Born

I am a musician turned eco-activist. A few years ago I watched a documentary on Netflix called “Tapped” about the bottled water industry and plastic pollution and I was feeling a strong sense of dread and frustration knowing that I was part of this immense problem. It became hard to accept the fact that every piece of plastic I used would pollute and poison our planet forever! I took a long cross country road trip in my minivan (in the U.S.) and while traveling, I was constantly getting food to go (take away). Every meal was served to me in Styrofoam containers with plastic silverware and excessive packaging, and it was really upsetting me.

One late night in rural Pennsylvania I pulled into an all-night diner along the highway and I decided to bring in my own plate rather than accept another Styrofoam clamshell. Admittedly, I was feeling a awkward, but I asked the waitresses if they would mind serving my food to me on my own plate because I didn’t want to create unnecessary trash. They thought it was a strange request for sure, but more entertaining and exciting than their normal truck driver requests. While I was waiting for my food, I explained to them that in certain parts, the world’s oceans have 6 times as much plastic in them as plankton (fish food) and that plastic pollution is overwhelming our landfills and infiltrating our food chain and water supplies causing numerous health problems. After hearing the facts, they were moved and supportive and actually treated me like a hero. I asked the waitress if she would mind posing for a photo holding up my plate with my meal. I proudly walked away with my late night meal. I then posted the photo to my personal Facebook page. The post received a lot of likes, comments, and attention.

“One late night in rural Pennsylvania I pulled into an all-night diner along the highway and I decided to bring in my own plate rather than accept another Styrofoam clamshell. ”

I thought to myself, wow just by bringing in my own plate and posting the evidence to Facebook I had a huge impact. What if I could invite others to do the same? What if hundreds of people started publicly endorsing sustainability on social media? And that’s how the idea for the Plastic Free Challenge was born.        

As I told people about this personal revelation they gave me feedback and a small team formed. We developed the Plastic Free Challenge website, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram pages and different challenges and dates for them. Momentum was strong and we had the support of a lot of motivated people. As a musician I also wanted to involve creative people and so we developed some separate challenges for bands and musicians and artists as well.

The previous Halloween I had dressed up in a turtle costume but customized it by draping disposable plastic around my neck and I wore a sign with a few simple facts about plastic pollution.  While out on the town celebrating my favorite American holiday people were both amused and disturbed by my strangled turtle costume. As they engaged me in conversation I would tell them about the plastic pollution problem. The turtle character was a hit! We needed a logo for the PFC campaign and decided to develop a cartoon turtle named Twioos.

We developed the story for our endearing mascot Twioos the Turtle eco-superhero and had several volunteer artists draw him, providing us images that we were able to use in our homemade memes and posts. You can read the fun but fictitious story of Twioos the Turtle and participate in our Draw Twioos challenge at our website.

Every day I emailed and called various environmental organizations, bands, musicians and event promoters trying to build what I hoped would be a fun and creative viral social media campaign spreading the message about plastic pollution and the solutions to concerned people worldwide.

We developed six different challenges and I planned to promote each one for 3 weeks before starting a new one. I figured that each one would gain traction and take off and that momentum would carry into the next challenge. The Plastic Free Challenge campaign started on Earth Day weekend April 22, 2016 and our first Easy Action Mini-Challenge entitled the “Water Bottle Selfie” began on May 1.  In the three weeks of promoting this challenge we had fantastic results!  People and even bands (music groups) from around the world posted photos on social media ranging from serious to hilarious and quirky.

Check out our gallery of Water Bottle Selfies from the 2016 challenge at our website and you can expect and take part in the new water bottle selfie campaign (now using the tag #RefillRevolution) in June 2017.

Our second mini challenge asked people to bring their own reusable shopping bags and provide evidence in the form of a sustainable selfie. We used the hashtag #PlasticFreeChallenge and #BYObag with each post and had good participation with this one as well.

But with every challenge, instead of seeing the number of people involved growing, we saw a decline. This was frustrating but in retrospect I understand why. Three weeks just wasn’t enough time for each challenge to take root. Changing personal habits like refusing plastic, something that is so ingrained in our everyday life, is very difficult and takes time for people to learn and implement in their lives. People need to be reminded many times and learn what alternatives they have to using disposable plastic.

And because we had one mini-challenge campaign scheduled right after the other, I found myself working day and night chasing after people so I would have content to post. I began to feel like a pest. This was supposed to be fun! The burnout that many had warned me about was beginning to hit me. I thought, if I could get more influential people and organizations with a larger reach involved, the PFC could take off. So I emailed and reached out to larger organizations once again. But they were all quite busy with their own worthy agendas. I had tried to do too much too fast and now I was feeling the consequences.

But then suddenly a musician that had been promising to get me a selfie and hadn’t, would unexpectedly come through, or I would receive positive feedback and gratitude from people saying that they are making real changes in their lives. And these nice surprises lifted me up and renewed my motivation. Hearing that mothers started packing lunches in reusable containers rather than disposable sandwich bags, or seeing posts from people proudly showing off when they remembered to bring their own containers, bags and bottles or refuse a straw, these things inspired me. And that is the power of our community and this movement. We inspire one another.

I had enormous goals and was often falling short of them, but these little victories counted and I tried to turn my focus and attention to them. Steven Mogel, our attorney from Monticello NY and his family participated in several of our 2016 mini-challenges and he later told me that “participation in the #PlasticFreeChallenge reminded us to bring our own bags and bottles and to refuse plastic straws and to use less plastic overall, and we all felt a renewed sense of responsibility and pride as a result. We feel really good about the changes our family has made.”

I realized that while I may not be able to force a viral campaign and awaken the entire world to the joy and pride of eco-activism (at least not in a few months), I could create positive changes in my life and help the people that engage in our humble campaign to do the same.

And also as a result when you stop eating pre-packed foods wrapped in plastic and you start preparing ahead, you suddenly realize that you are now eating healthier, saving money, protecting the environment and feeling better about yourself in general. If I can influence even a small number of people to use less plastic and learn alternatives, ultimately that is what the Plastic Free Challenge is about. We lead by example and endorse sustainability to our circle of friends. And the really good news is that our movement is growing because we are acting for the benefit of everyone. All of us are able to influence the world around us, and when we come together we are exponentially stronger. Join us and be the change you want to see in the world. Take the Plastic Free Challenge!

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