Plastic pollution in the ocean is one of the great plights of the 21st century, and beverage companies are a big part of that problem.
Every year, eight million tons of plastic finds its way into the ocean, and much of this waste is bottles for various beverages.
Even when people attempt to recycle plastic, they often misplace it or forget to clean out residue. Recyclers usually treat this dirty material as waste rather than setting it aside to be cleaned and then processed. Only 9% of plastic is ultimately recycled.
As an Australian citizen, Mark De Luca has witnessed the impact of these issues.
“Australia has always been at the forefront of anti-plastic,” De Luca said. “Whales are washing up on our shores, full of plastic.”
Despite these concerns, De Luca wanted to enter the beverage industry. But rather than exacerbating the plastic problem like a typical beverage company would, his goal was to build a business that could become part of the solution.
In 2007 De Luca and Co-Founder Onur Kece created Found, a brand of “naturally sparkling mineral water.” Found bottles are made from 100% recycled glass, and the company has worked with the Carbon Trade Exchange to offset their carbon footprint.
Glass is much more easily recyclable than plastic and is less likely to wind up in the ocean.
Glass is much more easily recyclable than plastic and is less likely to wind up in the ocean. The rate of recycling for glass containers in the U.S. is roughly 26%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Glass Packaging Institute. That statistic is far from ideal, but it’s still a vast improvement over plastic’s 9% recycling rate.
Recently De Luca and his team further proved their dedication to sustainability. To commemorate the more than 100,000 marine mammals disrupted by plastic pollution every year, Found launched the 100K Initiative.
The campaign involves the production of 100,000 individually numbered, limited edition glass bottles designed by artist Amit Greenberg. Found will send 100% of the profits to Oceana, a nonprofit that, among many missions, aims to reduce ocean plastic. Fashion brand les girls, les boys has joined the project as well, and will be donating a portion of their swim collection proceeds to further support Oceana.
De Luca’s hope is that the initiative will motivate both consumers and businesses to choose glass over plastic.
“I’m trying to get people to understand that their choice makes a difference,” he said.
If you want to join De Luca in making an impact, you can buy the limited edition bottles, support Oceana directly or spread awareness by using the hashtags #the100kinitiative and #breakfreefromplastic on any of your social media channels.
Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.
From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.