ECO For Lunch

IMPACT THE PLANET

ECO is more than a buzz word

Climate Change is a real thing. It is a growing concern humanity can’t afford to ignore and one we can directly have a positive impact on by enacting change. By making immediate changes in our lives, we can stop the accelerated pace of our planet revolting against us for all of the gross misuse.

Taking measures in our everyday lives to make a difference by utilizing reusable storage, ditching baggies (which take 10 years to biodegrade on average), using hydro flasks and environmentally safe water bottles, eating more plant-based diets and lowering our meat intake—those easy-to-implement choices positively impact our planet.

Some brands take that responsibility seriously. One such brand is ECOlunchbox. Founder Sandra Ann Harris had an epiphany years ago, realizing it was up to her to teach her kids to take care of the planet they’re inheriting through leading by example.

My passion for plastic-free living started with my kids.”

Harris says, “I was worried their long-term health would be jeopardized by constant exposure to plastic food containers and a myriad of other products used in our daily lives.” This became paramount in how she saw the world. As an avid outdoors woman who loves to sail, kayak, hike and explore our natural world, Harris was alarmed to see the plastic building up on beaches and scattered through our forests.

In a study by SAS (Surfers Against Sewage) through research, they discovered that every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean. Weighing up to 269,000 tons.

Plastics consistently make up 60-to-90 percent of all marine debris studied. More than 1,200 species are threatened by plastic pollution and one million sea creatures are harmed and killed every year, according to plastics researchers and organizations like Heal the Bay. “Indisputably, all beings rely heavily on the health of our oceans and will sicken and die if our big blue continues to be choked with plastic,” states Harris.

“I was unexpectedly spurred into action in 2009 to do something to help alleviate this growing problem. So, I launched ECOlunchbox to make a 100% plastic-free food container line available to consumers and others concerned with the well-being of the world we inhabit. We are a mission-based company helping families to reduce their dependence on plastic for health and environmental reasons.”

In a study done by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, they learned that the first synthetic plastic—Bakelite—was produced in 1907. That began the launch of the global plastics industry. The global plastic production growth sped up in the 1950s and over the next 65 years would increase nearly 200-fold. That is roughly equivalent to the mass of two-thirds of the world population.

“Even I was surprised by my decision to undertake this consumer product approach to positively addressing the growing dependence on plastics,” says Harris. “My background previously had been in journalism and humanitarian aid work, so I had no experience that would have prepared me for starting a company.”

ECOlunchbox is a California-born company that takes our lifestyles into account with bento boxes, picnic sets, wine tumblers, and even an artistic line launched to celebrate their 10th anniversary.  To date, 60 countries have and will continue to implement anti-plastic policies with Canada committed to banning all single-use plastics by 2021 according to a United Nations report published in 2018.

“Whether you’re climbing Mount Everest or tackling the seemingly insurmountable global challenge of plastic pollution, all journeys start with one step.” Harris continues, “I think the most powerful way for individuals to join the plastic free movement is to find something you are truly passionate about as it relates to single-use plastic usage and leverage that passion into action.”

Harris and the ECOlunchbox vision is to continue to make a positive planet impact by putting to market plastic free food container and to-go solutions. “I started the business 10 years ago and it has been a thrilling adventure in change-making! We have sold more than 800,000 ECOlunchboxes so far and our user community is averting the use and disposal of 10s of millions of pieces of trash annually, our planet impact study shows.

I love our planet so much that I can’t bear to witness the plastic tragedy that’s unfolding without trying to change the tide. Future generations are counting on us!”

FiNAL WORDS

“In my opinion, saying goodbye to single-use plastic habits has to start with a personal passion. There are so many things we should do or could do. But what will we actually bring into our lives as new ongoing lifelong habits? In my opinion a personal passion is the seed that is needed to spur us to reduce dependence on plastics. For me, it was my kids. For other people, it’s their own bodies and the health risks of continual overexposure to plastic and all aspects of our lives. Or maybe you’re an animal lover and your heart has been touched by the tragic pictures of turtles, birds, whales suffering and dying from plastic entanglement and ingestion.

Whether it’s organizing a beach clean-up or simply swapping out your plastic straw for an eco-friendly alternative, everyone can act. No experience or knowledge is required to join the movement to avert plastic pollution. No step is too small. One leads to another.

Let’s take a moment to turn back the clock and imagine the products our grandparents and great grandparents used. I was looking through a 1954 high school scrapbook with my Mom recently. Every page had photos, ticket stubs and other fun memorabilia from events she attended, including colorful paper drinking straws! The #stopsucking campaign to transition consumers away from plastic straws to paper and reusable straws made from stainless steel, glass, bamboo and other reusable materials has taken the globe by storm in the last couple of years.

There’s nothing new about plastic-free straws or relying on durable reusable food and beverage containers like our stainless steel ECOlunchbox bentos and accessories for that matter! Growing up, my grandparents used glass containers to store food in their refrigerator. They never used plastic water bottles, instead opting for tap water served in cups.

The ubiquitous eating on the go, throwaway culture hadn’t been born yet. We would “eat in” instead of “take out.”

To turn back the clock even further to indigenous traditions, recently my family traveled to northern Vietnam to visit the Hmong people. We learned how to make water bottles out of bamboo stalks with a machete and wrap food to go with palm leaves. The beauty of biodegradable solutions is timeless!

As we lean in to greening our lifestyles to defeat plastic pollution, we are witnessing a back-to-the-future movement unfolding.

I really want to continue to grow the company’s distribution and product line so we can serve even more people all around the world. My dream is to find a mission aligned partner who could help us scale and get our products into the hands of students, NGO communities and others globally who want to join the plastic-free living movement. I would love to educate and inspire people everywhere to join us in saving our planet from this tidal wave of plastic pollution we are facing.”

For more information on ECOlunchbox, visit www.ECOlunchbox.com