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

Posted by Team Ahimsa on
Ahimsa's stainless steel products and recyclable packaging are plastic-free

 

Ahimsa was founded simply to DO better and BE better for our kids and our planet. With the health and safety of children in mind, Dr. Mantravadi designed products that were made of safer materials and encouraged healthy eating habits. Her family’s mission to be kind to Mother Earth influenced not only the design of the products (made to be reused, re-purposed, and passed on for generations) but also the details of the packaging. She and a friend sat at a kitchen table and stacked the products repetitively so they could figure out a way to keep the footprint of the package minimal - reduce every ounce of waste possible. She only wanted 100% recyclable materials and to avoid using any plastic - no plastic ties to hold cutlery in place and no microplastic for a fancy shiny box. 


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 8% of generated plastics are recycled and the remaining tons end up in landfills. Plastic takes more than 400 years to decompose according to National Geographic – meaning that all plastic ever created likely still exists in some form.


So much of what we attempt to recycle ends up in landfills. All plastics are not made the same and actually only a small fraction go on to be recycled and reused. Those plastic grocery bags? Nope. Not in most cases anyway. The way they shred they can get tangled up and clog recycling equipment so more often, they end up in a landfill. Also, if you recycle improperly, what some call “wish-cycling,” one contaminated item can spoil a whole batch of things that otherwise could have been recycled. That one dirty milk jug just sent a whole bag of recyclables to the landfill. Greasy pizza boxes? Contaminated. Earth 911 (GREAT resource!) says you either have to remove the greasy parts and recycle the clean parts or trash the whole box. 


We often talk about plastic and pollution to our ocean. We often see disturbing images of plastic rings and trash encroaching on ocean animals. What is hidden from most of us is the growing volume in our landfills. 


The EPA has documents dating back to at least 1989 referencing the landfill dilemma – landfills getting to critical levels without backups ready to go. That “Agenda for Action” document also suggests making more landfill space should be of lower priority … falling behind “source reduction, reuse and recycling.” The EPA says the United States is the #1 producer of waste in the world. A rate that grows with each passing year.


In 2018, thousands of landfills are at capacity, leaching harmful toxins into the air we breathe, the water we drink. The Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Protocol (SWEEP) says we have a waste and recycling crisis on our hands. Americans continue to consume more, producing more waste. For decades the U.S. would send the bulk of its recycling to China. China ended the program and now much of what would have been sent overseas is ending up in US landfills. Multiple reports cite the Waste Business Journal’s data that by next year there could only be 15 years of capacity left in our country’s landfills. 


Not only are landfills filling up, there’s a bigger problem. According to the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), landfills emit harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Specifically methane and hydrogen sulfide. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says all of us are breathing in at least some methane every time we go outside and says it comes “from vehicle exhaust, oil and gas fields, coal mines, coal-fired power plants, landfills, and farms.” 


The United States is going in the wrong direction. We have more than doubled the amount of plastic produced over the last 30 years and increased the tonnage recycled only a fraction by comparison. 


Enter: Ahimsa. The first and only colorful stainless steel dinnerware for kids. Yes, our dinnerware is super cool, nontoxic, loved by kids and easy to clean … it also will save tons of waste. All those paper and plastic plates? The “reusable” plastic goods that you replace year after year? The cups you throw out because “Mickey” is rubbed off? So. Much. Waste. 

Ahimsa stainless steel dinnerware for kids

Ahimsa's Iridescent Blue Children's Set

Not only will Ahimsa dinnerware not crack, chip or peel - it won’t break or change in composition. You buy a set today and your great, great, great, great (yes, we can keep going) - children could, in theory, eat off of it. 


If, for some crazy reason you did not want your Ahimsa set down the road … and then an even crazier phenomenon occurred like you’re unable to find a nice home for that set -  stainless steel is in HIGH DEMAND at scrap yards! And Ahimsa is made up of the Cadillac of stainless steel: grade 304. We have gone to great lengths to ensure quality - running tests that are not necessary on any level by multiple different facilities. Not only can you take them to be recycled, but you’ll likely get paid for them. Scrap yards will literally pay you to take Ahimsa dinnerware, recycle it and voila. Nothing in the landfill. Zilch. Nada. That goes for our packaging too. No plastic. All clean, uncontaminated, recyclable cardboard.


If you don’t buy Ahimsa, we hope you will be mindful of what you are buying and using. Sure, we’ve talked about harmful chemicals that can leach from plastic into your children’s food. That in itself likely serves as more than enough reason to assess what’s in your cabinets. Once you find products that satisfy that requirement, look beyond there. Silicone? While it is widely accepted as more environmentally friendly and less toxic than plastic, it is extremely difficult to recycle. 

 

Every facet of Ahimsa dinnerware is designed to make our kids and our planet healthier and safer. We are NOT product pushers. And our founder, Dr. Manasa Mantravadi, would never have started this venture if she didn’t see a crucial need for it. 


She actually wants you to BUY LESS STUFF. Her children’s first plates were the ones she grew up using in India. They’re still in her cabinet now, proudly sitting after 30 years next to her new colorful Ahimsa dinnerware. Together, they hope to sit for another 30 years and one day, serve healthy meals to her own grandchildren. 

 

  

RELATED PAGES:

Check out our stainless steel products

Earth Day and COVID-19: The alarming connection

Put Down the Plastic, Pick up the Steel!

 

RESOURCES:

National Geographic - plastic decomposition

Earth 911

EPA Environmental Factoids

NJ Health Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet

EPA Plastics Data

EPA The Solid Waste Dilemma: An Agenda for Action

SWEEP: Time is Running Out: The U.S. Landfill Capacity Crisis

Madison Magazine: There's no time to waste

RecycleBank: What Is Silicone And How Green Is It?

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