Member Spotlight: FillGood, Plastic Free Future, Plastic Free Restaurants, USEFULL

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 of these influential change-makers. For Plastic Free July, we are featuring PPC Business and Organization Members focused on building plastic-free, nontoxic reuse and refill systems to help end plastic pollution.

FillGood

FillGood storefront in Berkeley, California. Photo by FillGood

PPC Business Member FillGood in Berkeley, California, is a wonderful example of a local business providing its community with zero-waste home, bath and body products, all easily procured through their storefront or via home delivery. With more than 400 sustainable options, including 130 bulk products that can be refilled, owner Stephanie Regni aims to offer a plastic-free replacement for every product that people use daily. Some of FillGood’s bulk suppliers include other PPC Business Members, such as Meliora and Plaine Products

Refill shops are an essential part of the systems we need to end plastic pollution globally. The personal care and beauty industry alone produces more than 120 billion units of plastic packaging every year. Although “chasing arrows” labels often mislead consumers to think plastic packaging can be recycled, most plastic is not recycled, and instead is incinerated, or is piled up in landfills and natural spaces. Supporting local refill shops helps build plastic-free communities. Find a refill shop near you that offers plastic-free products and refill services for common items in your daily life.

Plastic Free Future

Alejandra Warren of Plastic Free Future and Koy Hardy of Fresh Approach. Photo courtesy Plastic Free Future

Plastic Free Future is a non-profit organization launched by Alejandra Warren in 2020 with a mission to reduce and eliminate plastic pollution through outreach to systemically excluded communities and by promoting reusable alternatives. Plastic Free Future produces, synthesizes, and communicates science-based information with a particular focus on underserved communities, youth, and policymakers. In addition to the consulting services and programs they offer, their website also includes a map of reuse businesses around the world that offer either reusable takeout incentives, bulk refills, or reusables for on-site dining. 

Alejandra is a leading voice in the global movement to eliminate single-use plastics and accelerate a truly circular economy. In 2018, she co-led efforts to pass the first single-use plastic ban in San Mateo County, California, and since then has been working on bilingual outreach and technical assistance to restaurants and other industries to switch to reusable alternatives in compliance with foodware ordinances. She has also been heavily involved in the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations, urging delegations to address the multi-generational harms that plastics inflict on low-income and communities of color from the moment plastics’ fossil fuel ingredients are extracted through refining, manufacturing, shipping, storage, use, disposal, and pollution. Her recent involvement at the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) focused on advancing holistic solutions including seriously curbing plastic production and investing in community-based reuse and zero-waste systems

As a recognized activist who centers historically marginalized voices in her local and global efforts to stop plastic pollution, Alejandra was named the 2022 Activist of the Year at The Reusies. You can hear more about her work on a recent Upstream Podcast episode, and support her efforts by signing this petition to urge the US government to take a stronger stance on the Global Plastics Treaty.

Plastic Free Restaurants

Nacho Day at Forest Park Elementary (Fremont Unified Schools CA). Photo by Plastic Free Restaurants

Building the reuse systems we need to end plastic pollution requires a shift away from toxic cultures of disposability and wastefulness that define our current global economy and lifestyles. It might feel difficult to escape these cultures: Consider, for instance, the fact that Americans produce, on average, almost 5 pounds of “trash” per day. Such wastefulness is encouraged by industries that make single-use products and packaging, and is reinforced by policies that prop up these harmful businesses rather than incentivize businesses that tap into circular, nontoxic, plastic-free solutions. Plastic Free Restaurants (PFR) helps eateries, schools, institutions, and event spaces transition to reuse by subsidizing the purchase of reusable replacements, thereby eliminating petroleum-based, single-use plastic. 

To date, Plastic Free Restaurants estimates it has eliminated more than 9 million (and counting!) single-use plastic items from 67 restaurants and 29 schools in 7 states across the U.S. by subsidizing the purchase of 31,409 reusable items. Because they are a remote 501(c)3 that is volunteer driven, 94% of their entire budget is able to be given in subsidies to schools and restaurants to switch to reusable foodservice ware. For schools, their subsidies apply to the full cost of a reusable item, and for restaurants, the subsidy amounts to the price difference between the reusable replacement and the current cost of the single-use plastic item. If cost is a barrier to transitioning your school or restaurant to reusables, PFR can help eliminate this hurdle. 

Case studies from PFR’s partners at Rethink Disposable have proven that after reusables have been purchased, eateries, schools, institutions, and venues save money in almost every instance, even after accounting for increased labor, utility, and infrastructure costs. If you are still skeptical about costs, PFR will help do a personalized evaluation of your needs, and an estimate of how many months it will take you to hit the break-even point. Visit PFR’s resources page to learn more, including ways to volunteer, and apply here for a subsidy. 

USEFULL

USEFULL’s stainless steel to-go cups and containers. Photo by USEFULL

USEFULL is a tech-enabled circular economy solution designed to eliminate single-use plastic food and beverage packaging. They work with businesses, organizations, universities, and communities to conduct inventory assessments, provide technical support and training, and implement plastic-free reusable systems—helping to achieve zero-waste and sustainability goals while making it easy for people to transition away from single use. 

Building a reuse economy requires not only a shift in public behavior, but also scalable systemic solutions. When engaging with participating reuse businesses, you can check out and return the to-go food/drink packaging you’ve acquired anywhere within the network and receive notifications that remind you when your item is due for return by engaging with the USEFULL app. The app also enables participating businesses and entities to do inventory management, late fee administration, and conduct impact reporting. As a result of these features for both users and administrators, their convenient tech-centered approach has led to an astonishing 99% return rate. 

At USEFULL, their philosophy is that you can’t solve plastic pollution with more plastic. Their insulated stainless steel to-go cups and containers are dishwasher safe, plastic-free, customizable, and can be circulated for a minimum of three years before needing to be replaced. Because these items are designed for durability, they are lower impact and more cost-effective than reusables made of plastic—which ultimately do not help address the core cause of plastic pollution, which is more plastic production.

USEFULL is female founded and owned, and in 2023 alone has secured four new partners: St. Olaf College, Good Earth Natural Foods, Island Eats, and the City of Middletown, CT. It has saved each partner an average of 20—50% in costs by ditching compostable or single-use plastic alternatives for plastic-free reusable containers. USEFULL recently partnered with PlasticFreeMarin to launch their services in Good Earth’s FairFax and Mill Valley Cafes in Northern California. Visit USEFULL’s website to learn more about how their system works

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.

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.

Photo by Adam Amegual

This month we are gearing up for Plastic Free July—one of our favorite times of year. Read on for the latest news and ways to get involved at the global and local level in the Plastic Free July movement from our Coalition members around the world.

We invite you to join us for our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, July 28, Plastic Free Periods: Protecting Our Bodies & Preventing Plastic Pollution,where we will discuss the connections between plastic pollution, menstruation, and social change.

Happy Plastic Free July!

TAKE ACTION

Watch ‘Humanity’s Impact’
Did you know that globally, we produce about 1 million plastic bottles every minute? What does that look like? Watch the new PSA on InstagramFacebook, or YouTube and sign the petition to Coca-Cola here.

Global: Reopen with Reuse
Join Plastic Pollution Coalition members and allies in calling on restaurants, festivals, and national parks to reopen with reuse. Food service businesses already require strict safety standards to make sure reusables are sanitized, so let’s make our voices heard. Add your name. Plus, join the Reuse Rally on July 1.

COALITION NEWS

Here’s a roundup of the latest news and updates from Coalition members. We want to hear from you! Please send us your updates.

➤ READ

➤ SIGN UP

⦿ AFRICA

⦿ AUSTRALIA

⦿ CANADA

⦿ EUROPE

⦿ INDONESIA

⦿ UNITED STATES

➤ SIGN UP

➤ READ

Did you know? Plastic Free July has inspired over 250 million participants in 177 countries to refuse single-use plastic and take action to stop plastic pollution in their communities. 

Check out our Plastic Free July resource page featuring our recent webinar, need-to-know info about Plastic Free July, and much more. 

➤ Take the Plastic Free July Challenge
➤ Join Plastic Pollution Coalition
➤ Sign a Petition to Stop Plastic Pollution

As our Plastic Free July activities continue this month, save your spot for our July 29 webinar: Plastics, Health, and Your Family.

Learn more.

By Nisha Balaram

Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, Founder and Executive Director of the Plastic Free Foundation, a nonprofit organization that organizes the annual Plastic Free July challenge, has more than twenty-five years’ experience in the world of environmental and waste management, community engagement, and sustainability behaviour change. In 2011, Prince-Ruiz started the Plastic Free July Challenge, where, what started as a grassroots campaign with a handful of participants in Western Australia has now grown to millions of people across 170 countries taking up the challenge to refuse single-use plastic every year.

What motivated you to start the Plastic Free July challenge? 

It really started with the challenge but I’ve always been mindful of how the changes on land have an impact on our waterways. I lived on a farm when I was younger, where we had to lose the farm when I was eight. This small farm was in Southwestern Australia, where we cleared natural brush. As the clearing happened, salt rose to the surface and there had to be clearing bans. I was so devastated, because we loved our farm and didn’t want to move.

Seeing the amount of plastic that exists really spurred me to start the challenge. When I visited a recycling facility and saw the volume of waste we produce, and understood the complex process of what happens to our waste once we throw it away, it made me realize that I wasn’t doing the planet a favor by filling up the recycling bin.

What do you think was the plastic free movement’s key to success?

There are a variety of reasons why people join. Some people are really motivated by the social justice cause, where there are inequities as we ship our rubbish off to other countries. 

For me, it was after I visited that recycling facility and  I could picture the trash leaving my house, going to my facility to be sorted then being piled up, and, in my case, shipped to another country. It became so real and tangible. I think in some ways it has felt complicated. I had young kids at the time and wanted to do something big. I thought, I am really committed, but it felt difficult to do everything. We weren’t trying to do everything but were trying to find ways to reduce our plastic use. 

What do you envision as the future of Plastic Free July? 

I hope that the impact gets better. Our vision is a world without plastic waste, and for me, on a personal level, I believe it’s really about behavior change. However, we’re not going to solve this issue through behavior change alone. We need to change our policies, legislation, regulation, with the right environment to make these changes. I feel it’s a little bit like chicken and egg. It’s not one or another; it’s everything that needs to happen. As concerned citizens, we can come together and make a difference. 

My hope for the next ten years is that we can harness awareness of the plastic pollution problem, and from that, leverage this movement where we have real solutions to match the problem. It’s critical that we’re not talking about single-use plastics and then shift to another single-use material. Also, we want to make sure that change is global and scalable. What we do in the West needs to support people from developing economies who don’t have waste management systems. 

What are you particularly proud of?

There have been so many moments. It’s all of those small comments from people saying thank you for the challenge. It’s the personal stories. People sometimes ask me, “don’t you feel overwhelmed?” I feel like I’m a glass half full person. I get to read these stories of people doing things everyday in their own lives in their own communities. It gives me hope.  

One moment happened in 2012 when we started using social media. I had shared something on our page about what I’ve been doing at my local farmers market to reduce the use of bags and coffee cups. Afterwards, I received a message from Hollywood farmers markets that were doing the same. This was my first moment thinking, “Wow, we can make a difference.” It’s not just me and my community of people concerned about it. 

Another recent example comes to mind. In New Zealand, Air New Zealand made an announcement to double down on their efforts to reduce single-use plastic. They’ve removed plastic water bottles from flights. And, they’ve mentioned that they’re doing this for Plastic Free July. 

How has your work transformed your day-to-day life? 

(laughs) Transformed or taken over? Even when I travel, I’m conscious of my footprint. No matter who you are, we deal with this material on a daily basis. In my personal life, I don’t preempt conversations about it, but people in my network and in my family are aware of what I do. Even if I try to avoid talking about it and try to have some work-life balance, the stuff is just everywhere. But on a daily basis, it’s really heartening to see that people are genuinely concerned about [plastic] and want to be a part of the solution. Our approach isn’t negative, doom and gloom. People just want to do something differently. Now it’s about creating new habits and new social norms, and I think we’re ready for that. 

Any obstacles that you’ve faced? 

A challenge in the coming years will be that solutions might not necessarily be what they appear to be. I’ve heard people say that they’ve reduced their use of plastics and changed over to bioplastics. Depending on where they live, it may be a good option, but there is a challenge of having these biodegradable plastics in our waste stream. A lot of of these materials end up in bins destined for the landfill anyway. So, people think they’re doing the right thing but it’s not always the case. We need to make sure that the solutions fit the problem, and that we don’t end up transferring the problem somewhere else.

Organizations in this space needs to, with great care and respect, work with businesses and other organizations to support them in finding real solutions. Collaboration is really critical at the not-for-profit level. 

If people are interested in joining you to become more plastic free, where should they start? What resources should they look to? 

We have a page on our new website with resources. There are also plenty of bloggers who have started taking this challenge, where they have ended up working on this issue full-time themselves. 

The original group of people who did the Plastic Free July Challenge with you – where are they now?

I’m not in touch with all of these people, but they’re working on plastic free issues in creative ways. One is active in the community gardening space, working on composting and local food production (another important area in reducing our waste). Another is a lecturer at a university working with students in design, where students are looking to reduce their plastic waste. 

If you could tell one thing to the general public, what would it be?

I would say that the plastic out there in the environment is our plastic, and we can all do something to make a difference and leave behind a different legacy. Do one thing in your daily lives to reduce your use of single-use plastics. 

Nisha Balaram is a freelance environmental reporter and documentary filmmaker interested in reporting on local solutions to environmental problems. Her most recent work highlighted the utility of wetlands as flood control and the problems bioplastics are creating for consumers and waste management facilities. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in documentary film at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. You can view more of her work here.

By Joanclair Richter

For years, the entertainment industry has built a model of disposable infrastructure: sets are thrown out, plastic water bottles are used for moments between takes only to be tossed (often not even recycled), and eating arrangements are often “disposable.”

Money is tight, decisions are made quickly, and each set is essentially a temporary office: an environment literally cut-out for single-use plastic. So how does one reduce plastic in these fast-paced, budget driven environments?

From commercial and film sets to more corporate settings and film festivals, MovieMind Green increases sustainability throughout the entertainment industry. A central piece of that is reducing the use of single-use plastic (SUP). Because let’s face it, SUP is destroying our oceans and beyond!

Starting in pre-production (reducing waste from happening in the first place), a green set can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of a production overall. Plus, environmental choices are often an investment rather than a cost. In other words, when a production company begins to implement these practices, the financial gains are sky high.

Where do we start?

  1. It all starts with communication. Telling people what to do, or showing up on set as the “green police” is simply ineffective. When people feel that they are part of something, the camaraderie and excitement begins. When the options are obviously laid out and therefore easy to make QUICKLY, why not make the environmentally friendly choice? So signage is key – clear, concise, to the points, not preachy. When people know that they are helping to protect their planet with the choices they are making at work – generally, it’s a win-win. In other words, set up an invitation to take part, connect and be a team player rather than a mandate and a police force.

  2. Water is a human right. Yes, we need it. No, we don’t need it in plastic. Plastic water bottles are a concept that can be gone over a million times and never understood. If a set has taken the time to supply their cast and crew with reusables stainless steel water bottles and water stations, but there is still a case of single-use water bottles being bought in a bind, it isn’t working! Plus, as Director Josh Soskin’s point goes: a set with no plastic water bottles is prettier. So I’ve given you an answer: but an answer that requires research and potentially a bigger budget. Research? Call MovieMind Green. Budget? Cheaper. The budget line savings potential for switching to reusables and water stations is 51 percent (Green Production Guide).

  3. Everybody’s got to eat! On a set, often meals are taken to-go. Maybe shooting is still going on and the director can’t get away for lunch. There are compostables for that situation, sure. And the price difference there is negligible and the options are extensive. (Note: industrial composting is necessary for some of these compostable products.) BUT EVEN MORE – take a second to dream with us of a set where each person has their own plate and set of utensils they bring with them. Set up dishwashing stations and make it a team effort. And that won’t be a dream for long because it IS THE SOLUTION. In the meantime, most catering companies can supply reusable plates and utensils. The savings is on the environment, as we divert waste from the landfill. What about craftie? That station where people can fill up on coffee or grab a snack. Snacks are a nightmare. Chip bags are generally not recyclable. Buy in bulk. Get a giant bin of pretzels – put out a bowl and tongs.

  4. Waste Preventing plastic from arriving on set = less plastic to haul away = smaller waste bill. This is a huge win for the bottom line and the environment.

  5. On Screen Talking about what goes on screen can be touchy – solution? If you can start the conversation without offending anyone creatively, do! Be very careful to not get involved in the story. Can the character carry a stainless steel water bottle rather than a plastic bottle in the shot? The moving image and the entertainment industry has an incredible impact on the way every person sees their own life and their own choices.

People ask why MovieMind Green’s work focuses on the entertainment industry. Beyond love for the medium, we appreciate the audience size, the breadth and the reach that movies have to all parts of the world. Between all the languages and demographics – a message in this industry is priceless. The questions now is whether this industry that has such an influence can show a clean and green method from office to production, both on and off the screen.

Joanclair Richter is the founder and president of MovieMind Green, a Plastic Pollution Coalition member business.

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