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making glass strawsPLASTIC EVERYWHERE: Take a look around and you’ll find that most folks are gravitating toward awareness that plastic pollution is poisoning our environment. With the immense amount of plastic (especially single-use plastics) being dumped into our landfills and oceans, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with no easy solution in sight. There is no one single answer to our planet’s pollution problems but we believe in significant progress through a number of avenues. We cannot expect our environment to absorb wastes that our global lifestyle is producing without substantial negative effects.

FOCUS: The GlassDharma philosophy is not to try to be all things to all people. Our focus is to do what we can do and what we do best. Single use plastics are not only one of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution, it is also one of the (relatively) easier issues to remedy – at least when it comes to stopping the pollution. Cleaning up what is already there is another topic for discussion.  Our company’s focus is on drinking straws.

THE MAIN CULPRITS: Plastic bags, plastic water (or drink) bottles and plastic straws make up the bulk of single use plastics in our world and is a huge percentage of what is ending up in our oceans and landfills. Recycling can be a smokescreen solution when it comes to an effective remedy.  The pitifully small percentage of plastics that are recycled will not significantly reduce the amount of new plastics produced or reduce the amount of plastic pollution.

RECYCLING: Most folks have been led to believe that recycling is a great thing to do with all of our plastic when we are done with it. What most people don’t know is that: 1) Plastic that is recycled is actually “down-cycled”, usually only a few times before it ends up in our landfills & oceans. 2) The amount of plastic that is recycled is such a small percent (think single digits here) that it is hardly worth mentioning. 3) Even so-called “green” plastics (made from plant sources instead of oil) behave the same way as oil based plastics – and do as much harm. We need to re-think how we do this and examine our "sense of entitlement" when it comes to convenience.

PLASTIC STRAWS are always in the top 10 of number of items collected during beach cleanups. Some folks ask “Why do we need a beverage delivery system, anyway?” Well, it’s true that up until about 100 years ago nobody had one, so they are not essential for the average person for survival, but here’s the catch: Would anybody seriously think that we could outlaw drinking straws? A large population shows no willingness to do without their straws, so as long as there are people that want to use a drinking straw, then we need to find materials and processes that do not impact our planet the way plastic straws currently do.

AM I OVERSTATING THE CASE HERE? Just how many straws are we talking about? Well, as of March 2008, McDonald’s serves an average of 52 million meals PER DAY!  (Per their website) How many of those served do you think were given a plastic straw?  Remember, this is just from McDonalds!!  Are you getting the picture??

MILO CRESS, an 11 year old boy has been on a straw campaign the last several years. He noticed that a significant number of restaurants served drinks complete with plastic straw without ever bothering to ask if the customer wanted one. He since has developed an “ask first” policy for restaurants to adopt and has been making news nation-wide ever since. He also researched straw manufacturers and calculated how many straws are produced. Would you believe that enough plastic straws are produced annually to fill over 46 THOUSAND full sized school buses!! I hope it is becoming obvious just how big of a problem these pesky little plastic straws can be.