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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Elemental Impact & One More Generation Partner to Build Straw Integrity

With the March announcement of the Three-Step Straw Initiative (TSSI) building straw integrity, long-term strategic allies Elemental Impact (Ei) and One More Generation (OMG) segued into a powerful partnership. Ei Founder Holly Elmore joined the OMG Advisory Board as their Soil & Water Advocate. OMG Co-Founders Carter Ries and Olivia Ries joined the Ei Advisory Council as Youth Advisors.

Olivia & Carter in the early years
In 2009 Carter and Olivia, then eight and seven years old respectively, founded their nonprofit in an effort to help educate children and adults about the plight of endangered species. Carter and Olivia’s intention is to preserve all species for at least One More Generation… and beyond.

Almost simultaneously, Holly launched the Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ) in her role as the Green Foodservice Alliance Founder and Executive Director, an organization within the Georgia Restaurant Association umbrella. The ZWZ were the forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost. In 2010 Holly founded Ei as the home for the ZWZ.

Through the years OMG President Jim Ries, Carter and Olivia's father, and Holly kept in close communication and were always supportive of each other's missions and projects. Yet their respective dynamics did not align well enough for joint programs and projects. The TSSI presented an excellent opportunity for Ei to partner with OMG's One Less Straw (OLS) Pledge Campaign.

One Less Straw
In November 2016, OMG launched OLS to educate the public about the dangers of single-use plastic straws and its effects on our health, our environment, and our oceans.

The OLS site details the following disturbing facts:
  • Each year 100,000 marine animals and over 1 million seabirds die from ingesting plastic.
  • Every day we use 500,000,000 plastic straws. That’s enough straws to fill 46,400 large school buses PER YEAR!
  • U.S. Consumption is equal to enough plastic straws to wrap around the earth’s circumference 2.5 times a day!
A HUGE success, OLS boasts almost 800 partners, restaurants, and schools around the globe. Prominent partners include Delta Air Lines, Hilton Hotels (650 properties), Red Lobster Restaurants (700 restaurants), and TED's Montana Grill (47 restaurants).

Carter addressing the U.N.
OLS participants may order complimentary "We only serve straws upon request" buttons for servers to wear. To date, OLS has distributed over 47,000 buttons!

OMG | OLS global recognition is astounding. In 2017 Carter presented to the United Nations congregation in New York City in a World Wildlife Day session on the importance of saving endangered species. Carter and Olivia were keynote speakers during the September 2018 G7 Environment, Energy and Ocean Ministers Ocean Summit session hosted in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

In early 2019 OMG received the Energy Globe Award for the Youth category from over 6000-project entries from more than 178 countries. Televised globally, the award ceremony was hosted in Iran. The Energy Globe World Award Video was prepared by event organizers as an OLS overview.

Three-Step Straw Initiative
With the June 2017 end of the Ei Recycling Refinement Era, Ei's focus shifted to the Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture and Water Use | Toxicity platforms within the Ei Era of Regeneration. The 2015 introduction of the Macro Cost of Micro Contamination served as a catalyst for the Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture platform formation.

As plastic-straw usage reduction gains high-profile media attention, Ei partnered with OMG | OLS for the TSSI with a planned early fall launch. Beyond plastic-straw usage reduction, TSSI addresses the straw content and end of life and aligns with Ei Era of Regeneration platforms.

The TSSI includes the following steps:
• Step 1- REDUCE straw usage
• Step 2 – SHIFT to paper straws
• Step 3 – COMPOST used straws

OMG will encourage OLS participants to further decrease their straw-usage impact by joining the TSSI and shifting from plastic to paper straws. If there is food-waste collection for compost available, OLS participants are encouraged to engage in food-waste collection. Thus, the paper straws contribute to local, quality compost versus another material filling up the landfills or worse the waterways.

Ei-recruited participants are required to take the OLS pledge as their first TSSI step.

With perfect timing, Green Planet Straws (GPS) joined the Ei Partner program to support the TSSL shift from plastic to paper straws. OLS participants proved that serving straws only upon request reduces overall straw consumption by 70 - 75%. Thus, the shift to paper straws is essentially cost-neutral as the usage reduction compensates for the higher paper-straw cost.

GPS has ample capacity supported by a strong distribution system to supply the hospitality industry with top-quality paper straws. In addition, GPS is pursuing BPI Certified Compostable status and is staged to serve as the industry's first certified-paper straw.

As an OLS Partner, GPS offers commercial-pledge participants 10% off pallet orders along with free shipping.

The TSSI is an easy first step to addressing the impact of micro and nanoplastics on our soils, waterways, atmosphere and the human-food chain. TSSI Partner GPS is the financial catalyst for Ei's important work.

TSSI Founding Participants
Since the March TSSI announcement, Holly's prime focus is recruiting Founding TSSI Participants. The TSSI is a perfect avenue for former ZWZ participants to take their sustainability commitment to the next level. For ZWZ participants, Step 3 - COMPOST is already in place. Thus, cost-neutral Steps 1 & 2 are an easy-to-implement endeavor.

The TSSI is in the pre-launch stage as Founding Participants are recruited. To date, the following prominent Ei Pioneers gave the big YES to TSSI participation: Affairs to Remember Caterers, Levy Restaurants - Georgia World Congress Center, Proof of the Pudding - The Carter Center, Piedmont Driving Club, Pacific Rim and Hsu's Gourmet.

Thanks to OMG introductions Holly visited Orlando and Tampa, FL to introduce the TSSI to local government officials. Follow-up visits are scheduled for mid-July and September.

... and the TSSI, building straw integrity, is merely the beginning of empowering work within the Ei | OMG partnership.

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