Hey, remember my rant last spring about the plastic Turtleback cup holder meant to be used at the beach? And how I thought it was so ironic to name a product for a sea animal that is routinely harmed by ocean plastic pollution? A bunch of green bloggers created quite a stir on Turtleback’s Facebook page back then, and after initially being taken aback by it all, the owner, Ryan Housley, listened. In fact, he had an open mind from the very start.
Switching to Biodegradable Material
Yesterday, Ryan emailed me a link to the company’s new Kickstarter campaign. The campaign is to fund the development of Turtleback 2.0, a version made from biodegradable plastic (Mirel), a plant-based plastic that is certified to not only biodegrade on land but also in sea water. In fact, it is the only bio-plastic certified to break down in the ocean, as far as I know, and it has also been tested by the folks at the Algalita Marine Research Institute, whose mission is to solve the plastic pollution problem.
Why does the company need a Kickstarter to make the change? For one thing, Mirel is freaking expensive at this point. It’s not cheap like fossil-based plastic because there is not yet the demand for it. What’s more, the new Turtleback will be manufactured in the United States instead of China.
Keeping It Real
While I think switching to bio-based, biodegradable materials is a great step, I want to encourage Turtlebacks to change their advertising images. I am still seeing that ubiquitous red solo cup (which is made from polystyrene) in many of their images, as well as disposable plastic bottles and other non-biodegradable plastics. Wouldn’t the Turtleback cup holder look great holding a stainless cup or water bottle?
How about something like this?
Please Show Your Support
When companies listen and take action, it’s important for us to show our support. Here are some things you can do:
1) Contribute to the Kickstarter campaign
2) Leave a thank you comment on Turtleback’s Facebook page
3) Forward the Kickstarter page to your friends / post on Facebook / Tweet
4) Give a helpful suggestion — ask Turtleback to change its marketing materials to show reusable cups and bottles instead of disposable plastic.