Billabong Turns Plastic into Board Shorts

Billabong Plastic Bottles Display Time Square and Board ShortsTo date, Billabong has saved order 37 million plastic bottles from the ocean. What did they do with them?

They made pants!  Plastic pants. Well, plastic swimming pants, aka board shorts.
It takes 10 bottles to make 1 pair of board shorts.
Since you were about to ask if they felt like a bottle of Evian against your leg, the answer is no.  They are comfortable, stretchy, cool looking, and a great use of the $11 billion dollar waste industry, plastic bottles.
Kudos to Billabong for making the world a better place.  Now if I could only get a pair of those orange board shorts!  I waited too long and now they were all purchased.  Great job making products that people love.

Chicago Doesn’t Recycle Their Drinking Water? LakeDance Brings Awareness

LakeDance is a very creative project aimed at building awareness about the Great Lakes water-related problems and helping the Great Lakes re-reverse water flow.

The Great Lakes give drinking water to 40 million people*, a critical oasis for sustained clean water supply.  Remember the post about recycled water from the movie Last Call at the Oasis?  Recycled drinking water is the solution to prevent a water shortage and worldwide water crisis, or “water wars”.

Chicago does not recycle their drinking water.  The reason goes back to history:

Flow: Reversed.  In 1900, under cover of darkness, the City of Chicago completed the digging of a controversial canal that would reverse the flow of the Chicago River to go from its natural outlet into Lake Michigan to be channeled, instead, into the newly dredged drainage canal that emptied south toward the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean….  This was done to salvage Chicago’s drinking water, whose intake was perilously close to a growing river of animal carcasses and human waste!  However, the controversial reversal of the river has devastating implications now as the Asian Carp move north along the Illinois River…


To learn more, and to help with this cause, check out the video on Kickstarter:


How to Get Cheaper Coffee?

And save the oceans all in one?  Listen up!

Many coffee shops will give you a discount if you bring in your own mug!  Why? Because they love you.  Well, I’m sure they do, but also you are saving them money.  But, to take it to an even warmer and fuzzier level – it saves waste.  Less waste saves marine life.

Participating coffee shops:

  1. Starbucks
  2. Tully’s

Save $.10 per cup (this adds up!)

Know of more coffee shops to add to this list?  Let everyone know!  We can get our buzz on and save a dime and a turtle at the same time.

Movie Review Last Call at the Oasis – “Cockroached Water”?

I watched the movie “Last Call at the Oasis” last night with famous activist Erin Brockovich.  
I had no idea it was opening night, I was just passing by the Landmark Sunshine theater on my way home and decided to pop in.  The author of the book “The Ripple Effect”, Alex Prud’homme, was there and gave a quick talk before the movie started and I got a free copy of the soundtrack. Bonus!

Some of the highlights:

  • Lake Mead is declining by 10 feet per year due to our water usage
  • Amphibians exposed to chemicals sprayed on crops turn into hermaphrodites
  • The 10-year drought in Australia is due to climate change, in other words, it’s not temporary.  Farmers are frequently taking their own lives.
  • The water fountains in Vegas use 3% of the city’s water supply, despite the fact that they are running out of water.
  • Of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in the United States, only 5 are regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act
  • In several countries there are already “water wars”; the US not far behind
  • Erin Brockovich gets contacted more than the Environmental Protection Agency
  • The Central Valley in California is in trouble.  They are artificially pumping water into dry lands just to grow crops, creating a deficit
  • It takes 1,800 gallons of water to product 1 pound of beef!
  • $11.2 billion / year bottled water industry in US
  • 45% of the bottled water sold in the US originates as tap water

I was a little surprised that they discussed the “ripple effect” and the solution to recycling water was to treat waste water – and …. to re-bottle it!

It’s ALL about marketing.  They made their point.  Americans fall prey to marketing, therefore why not have Jack Black drink from the “Porcelain Springs” and everyone else will do it.  It works.  But, if FORTY-FIVE PERCENT of bottled water is currently coming from tap water, why do we even have bottled water?  2 million plastics bottles are consumed in the US every five minutes, causing plastic toxins to be released in our bodies and in our oceans, and in turn, our fish.

Talk about the ripple effect!  I looked for Alex after the film but he had already gone.

Less than 1% of the water in the world is potable, and desalination of salt water is too expensive.  There are already 14,000 desalination plants in the world (wow!).  Are plastic bottles okay because it’s the oceans we are polluting?

Obviously, our drinking water isn’t currently safe, bottled or not – not sure if the title of this article is what bothers me most “Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass” (What do you mean how much?) or the fact that they called it a “gender bender”.

I’m contacting Erin Brockovich.

Presentation Plastics in Ocean at Gnomedex (Seattle Interactive Conference) 2011

Some of this information has changed, such as the blog and twitter handles moving to “unplastic” inspired by the Uncultured Project. If I am able to find a recording of this screencast I will make sure to add it.

Plastic Reduction through Consumer & Motivation

Dear Keurig, You are Done!

I got an email from a concerned consumer after seeing my presentation on ridding the oceans of plastic.  In the email, I was informed that she was very upset after seeing my talk.  Every time she went to consume anything, she would think twice.  While making coffee one morning, she noticed that her cute Christmas present, a Keurig, was not so cute anymore.  She shared with me the following email that she sent to Keurig:

“While we really like our Keurig, and use it daily because of the attachment that allows us to use our own ground coffee.  The single cups are convenient, albeit pricey, BUT, our main concern with your product is the fact that it is not recyclable!!  My husband is a science teacher, so if we do use a single serving, we compost the grounds and the students use the empty cup with the hole in the bottom to start seedlings in the greenhouse.  However, there comes a time when the plastic cup must must be discarded in the trash because it is non-recyclable nor biodegradable. 
PLEASE address this issue.  We will then be able to enjoy the single cup serving option with good conscience and would be willing to pay a few pennies more per cup for that assurance.  I refer you to a utube video: the lifecycle of a plastic soda bottle; and further, several videos on “plastic island”.  I encourage you to become aware of this issue – your consumers are!”

This is another example of:
- corporate benefit
- consumer convenience
- environmental harm

Just because something fits nicely into a neat little package and saves you 3 minutes out of your day, does not justify closing our eyes to the harm we are causing by thinking short term.  Keurig is a fun novelty but is it worth the overall cost?