Earth Day and COVID-19: The alarming connection

By Team Ahimsa



Time to Read: 7 min

Earth Day and COVID-19

Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It will likely be one of the cleanest days in recent history – even if it was an unintended effect. In fact, the pandemic is even being referred to as “the largest scale experiment ever” when it comes to pollution. One of the many astounding revelations that has come from the COVID-19 pandemic is how our typical, everyday life has been devastating our environment.

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

National Geographic just published a gripping article about how lockdowns around the world are clearing the air. It mentions that even without factoring in COVID-19 deaths, air pollution kills seven-million people a year. It goes on to cite a new study out of Harvard University that found air pollution is a major contributing factor in COVID-19 fatalities. Lead author Francesca Dominici, PhD,  writes “we have determined that there is a large overlap between causes of deaths of COVID-19 patients and the diseases that are affected by long-term exposure to fine particulate matter.”

At Ahimsa our entire mission revolves around health and sustainability. Right now is our chance to double down on that mission and we need your help. 

The Guardian just published a fantastic article expounding the impact of COVID-19 on air pollution levels by providing numbers from reputable sources, visual comparisons from NASA and research from the World Health Organization. As the article mentions, nitrogen dioxide is a toxic gas that “causes inflammation in the airways.” And according to NASA, nitrogen dioxide levels across eastern and central China have been 10-30% lower than normal.

Single-use-plastic is a huge component to the pollution equation. According to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), “in 2015 researchers from the University of Georgia estimated that between 4.8 million and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic per year make their way into the oceans via people living within 30 miles of a coast.” By the way, the NRDC is holding a 3-day Earth Day LIVE event from Wednesday, April 22 - Friday, April 24th and it is going to be amazing. Watch it with your children! Participants range from Al Gore and Secretary John Kerry to Rachael Ray, Alyssa Milano, Mark Ruffalo and Chelsea Handler.

At Ahimsa we do our very best to avoid contributing to the pollution of our planet. Stainless steel is the most recycled material in the world. Our coloring process involves zero waste/runoff by the use of a closed-loop system. That process, by the way, is devoid of any harmful chemicals/paints/etc. Any stainless steel product you use consists on average of 60% recycled material according to the British Stainless Steel Association. It uses a very minimal amount of primary energy and produces zero runoff.

ask not what your planet can do for you, ask what you can do for your planet sign

This Earth Day we would be remiss if we failed to discuss how we can do our part to clean up the planet long after the world is reopened to business-as-usual (however that may look at different points in the future). Let’s learn all that we can during this pandemic. Read. Share. Look at what we can do  by carpooling, biking or walking, buying locally and reducing food waste. We can dramatically improve the quality of Earth. These are very small ways we can make a huge difference to help the environment AND our hearts! 

Right now is a perfect time to use these moments with our children to teach them ways they can contribute. Just yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies with my son (in our gloves and masks) to send to the hospital and share with people who are “working hard to keep people safe and healthy.” You should have seen how happy it made him – knowing that what he was doing was helping someone else. It was beautiful. 

Also, take time to answer your children’s questions. When they ask you why you put aluminum cans in one bin and banana peels in another, explain to them where that aluminum can goes, the alternative and how recycling helps keep our planet clean. It doesn’t have to be an in-depth explanation. Just enough to give a good idea of the process, but most importantly it plants the seed of sustainability at a young age. 

woman with child in cafeteria with stainless steel plates

This Earth Day there are so many ways you can contribute to society. We have decided to donate a portion of all proceeds to The Patachou Foundation. It’s a foundation that fights food insecurity by feeding children in underserved communities. As the number of food-insecure children has greatly increased during this time with school closures, limited childcare, layoffs and the disruption of food availability - we are hopeful we can help provide more children with healthy meals.  Yes, Earth Day is about saving our planet. We want to save our children by providing them healthy meals while hopefully educating them on how they can give back by taking care of our planet for decades to come. 


The Waste Capacity Crisis and the Power of Stainless Steel: Do you know where your trash goes?

Donate directly to Patachou Foundation 

NRDC’s Earth Day Live

The way we feed our family matters

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

Mealtime Essentials from Ahimsa

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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