In the May issue of Set In Stone, we explore the hopeful steps companies and countries are taking to proactively mitigate their impacts on the environment.But are these lofty goals surrounding their plastic and carbon footprint simply lofty words? Elsewhere, we’re exploring a big money move by Tesla driven by Elon Musk’s commitment to CO2 reduction, and how a seemingly harmless social media industry has affected marine life. Curious? Keep reading!
OKEANOS ® NEWSLETTER – MAY 2021
On May 12th, the Canadian government officially listed “plastic manufactured items” under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), taking a huge step toward the establishment of meaningful regulations in Canada’s plastic industry, an issue that concerns 95% of Canadian voters.
In Canada, more than three million tonnes of plastic waste is disposed of annually, with 91% making its way to landfills and incinerators. During Covid, single-use plastic items saw a 300% increase.
Environmental organizations throughout Canada support the move, including the Toronto Environmental Alliance, which issued a statement saying, “We can’t recycle our way out of this, we need to prevent plastic waste and shift to a truly circular economy built on reusables.”
Fortunately, the Okeanos team is already on the ground in Canada, speaking to brands and manufacturers about how they can easily reduce the amount of plastic in their products, and adapt to the forthcoming regulations with Made From Stone.
To get in touch with our Canadian team, contact TWebster@madefromstone.com
Walmart, the largest US grocery retailer and the world’s largest company by revenue, has committed to a 20% reduction in the use of virgin plastic packaging by 2025. This would represent a measurable decrease in virgin plastic use as Walmart was credited with using 1.2 million metric tons of plastic packaging in 2019 according to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.
Walmart plans to release further details about the scope of their plastic reduction program by December 2021. While this is an effort that we at Okeanos celebrate, we are eager to see it put into action. Other comparably large organizations including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestle have similarly aggressive plastic reduction targets, but continued to rank in the world’s top three plastic polluters as of 2020.
Source reduction is the key foundational pillar of Okeanos’ Made From Stone technology, which reduces the majority of virgin plastic in packaging through the substitution of stone.
To learn more about how you can meet your sustainability targets by reducing most of the plastic in your packaging, contact firstname.lastname@example.org today!
This month Elon Musk announced that Tesla will no longer accept bitcoin due to the cryptocurrency’s enormous carbon footprint. According to the University of Cambridge, “mining” of bitcoin uses the same amount of energy as the Netherlands did in 2019. How is it possible that virtual currency that only exists online has real life environmental impacts?
Bitcoin is “mined” through a series of high-powered computers using complex algorithms to solve math problems. Fossil fuels are used to power these incredibly energy-inefficient machines, specifically coal, which is responsible for the worst emissions of all. Air conditioned rooms of servers and “mining rigs” also put a significant strain on the electrical grid. The first computer to solve the problem, gets bitcoin. Currently a single bitcoin is valued at $56,000, so it makes sense that everyone is eager to get their hands on them.
As more companies begin accepting cryptocurrency, and more amateur traders get into the game, cryptocurrency economist Alex De Vries estimates that bitcoin’s current annual carbon emissions could be on par with the city of London’s, which are estimated to be close to 99 megatons.
Other digital giants are waking up to the effects of their activities too. Streaming company Netflix recently set an extremely ambitious target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2022 through a combination of proactive reduction targets and the purchase of carbon offsets. We sincerely hope they can accomplish this. It would be an incredible step toward fixing what society has broken.
It’s time to consider how all our activities play into our individual carbon footprint, from the things we do online, to the way we spend our paper money in the real world.
Curious about your personal daily footprint?
Click HERE to calculate yours.
Over the next few weeks, Okeanos will be planting our flag on three continents. In South Africa, our partners will begin their first trial run at the production of our compound formulation this week. Our first plant in Mexico will also begin trials, working their way to become a qualified compounder. Our second facility in Mexico is on schedule for this September. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, production has begun for Made From Stone compound and using it for blown film production.
Okeanos understands that any solution to plastic pollution must be one that can be easily adopted around the globe. For this reason, much of our focus has been on developing our worldwide network of local stone source and compounding partners who can help the widest variety of customers adopt this technology, rapidly and inexpressibly.
Looking to find Made From Stone compound near you?
This month’s Rockstar is Raluca Conache. A Romanian national team gymnast turned graphic design guru, Rala brings her flexibility from the floor of the gym to the ever-evolving visual identity of Made From Stone. Read on to learn more about Rala’s fascinating journey from architecture school to Okeanos.
Tell us about your childhood. Did you spend time by the ocean?
I was born in a mountain city in Eastern Europe, in Brasov, Romania. The ocean was very far away at that time. Even the seaside, the Black Sea was far from where we lived. As a child, I trained as a gymnast from the age of four. Training was intense, so I didn’t have time for travel to the sea. I put my everything into this passion, and even made it onto the national team when I was 15. Once I grew up, I started to travel more throughout Europe. The first time in my life that I saw the ocean was only two years ago in Cascais, Portugal.
Is sustainability a hot-button issue where you’re from? Have you noticed an increase in awareness over the last several years?
Sustainability was not a huge issue where I grew up. The cities where I lived were clean, without much pollution in the area. However, in recent years, the European union began to implement sorting of the garbage into plastic, paper, glass etc. I do care about my personal plastic footprint. I throught that much of the garbage that I threw away ended up in landfills, and not in the oceans but after watching different documentaries, I realized that wasn’t the case.
Why did you decide to become an art director?
My road to art direction was atypical. Since I was a child, I always had an interest in computer programming, math and science, and graduated University with an architecture degree. While bored at home one day, I entered a design contest online, and to my surprise – I won! Soon I received proposals to work with agencies around the world including McCann Eriksson, where I was appointed Art Director and worked on campaigns for Vodafone, Mastercard, T-Mobile, Nestle, Metropolitan Life, Coca Cola, and the pharmaceutical industry. Life in that type of fast-paced cororate environment was tough and my experiences with start-ups were always positive, so I became a freelancer and began to work with smaller companies which allowed me to meet people and work on projects all over the world.
In your experience working with global brands, how do they approach sustainability?
My experience has taught me that clients budgets unfortunately tend to dictate their sustainability policies. I can’t influence a client in Iraq or Dubai about the type of packaging to use for their brands, but we live in a time when everything is vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, etc. It’s a marketing slogans era.
We don’t have time for ourselves not mention about our environment and I believe that it should be the government’s responsibility to allow citizens of a country to live sustainably. I mean, if you put me now to go in a shop to chose packaging and products based on the materials that are done, thinking that in the next 20 minutes I have a meeting, I will rarely care about what am I buying and what harm I will do to the environment. So I believe that if we elect officials, it should be one of their mandatory attributes to ensure citizens a healthy environment.
What about Made From Stone excites you?
I advise my old clients and friends to consider Made From Stone. They are simply wow’d by the new technology. I would advise all to seek out modern solutions for sustainability including improving recycling infrastructure. I hope to continue to grow with this company and be part of a group of people that do change the world. Alone it is not possible, but together we can make a real difference.
If you could pick a body of water anywhere in the world to spend time near, where would it be?
It is called Lacul Izvorul Muntelui, it is in Romania, at 15 miles from where my parents live. That is my favorite place to spend my evenings sometimes with my man and my family.
What new skill or hobby did you pick up during quarantine?
Designing it is my main hobby because I like it so much, I often find myself in front of the computer at 2 am working for pleasure. Quarantine for me was full of projects, I barely had time to rest and train to be healthy .. or to drink a glass of wine with my man. I have been thinking about creating ready-made designs, mock-ups/and scripts to ease up my work in the future. I believe we can apply this model in sustainability too. If we create ready-made products from stone which are already sustainable, we allow people to participate in the process without changing their habits.
Have you ever been on a tour where you’ve gotten to feed the wild animals? Tour guides rely on this process, commonly called provisioning, to guarantee that you spot the wildlife that you paid to see on your trip. However, this practice, which can guarantee you a fantastic instagram photo, doesn’t get many “likes” from Marine scientists.
Studies show that despite the increasingly common provisioning in warm-water destinations of turtles, dolphins, and whale sharks, the animals are in danger of becoming reliant on these repetitive feeds, hovering in warm water in groups to wait for food. This lowers their natural defenses as they become more comfortable in shallow environments, making them easier targets for predators like sharks. Additionally, as the animals grow more comfortable being hand fed, scientists have noted an uptick in biting incidents as well. The turtles not only occasionally literally bite the hand that fed them, but showed aggression toward other turtles when competing for bites.
So next time you plan a day out on the water, do
the fish a favor and don’t share your food!
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