Disposing plastic creates pollution, contributes to global warming
As a socially responsible company, ECOlunchbox’s mission is to help people reduce their use and disposal of plastic food containers by providing non-toxic, plastic-free lunchboxes that are healthy for people and the planet.
Plastic contributes to climate change at every step of its life cycle. Every year, the United States burns or buries 32 million tons of plastic. More than 99% of plastic is made from fossil fuels, and the petrochemical industry and the plastic pollution it creates disproportionately harms people of color and low-income communities.
We don't just sell lunch boxes, we sell plastic-free tools for change at lunchtime.
Our impact is very important to us, so we measured it. But not alone; thankfully, with the help of a team of MBA students from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, we were recently able to quantify our positive impact on climate change using a nationally recognized waste reduction model.
We learned that the more lunch boxes we sold, the bigger the potential impact we can have. As of this year, we've sold more than 706,925 eco-friendly lunch boxes. That's more than 706,925 opportunities to prevent more trash from entering the waste-stream.
How much waste averted?
The graduate students started their analysis by adding up the waste diverted through the use of just two of our lunchboxes. They entered the information into a carbon footprint tool developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The students’ analysis determined that without our ECOlunchboxes more than 47 million pounds of trash would be generated every year.
Crunching the numbers!
The next step was to convert the weight of the trash averted into a greenhouse gas equivalent. The students used the online Waste Reduction Model (WARM) calculator on the U.S. EPA’s Website to determine ECOlunchbox's annual greenhouse gas aversion in terms of metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). To understand what it means in everyday terms to avert the equivalent of 8,409 MTCO2e annually, the next step was to convert this abstract number into concrete terms.
So what does it mean?
We used the U.S. EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator to put our positive impact on global warming in ways we can understand. Our impact is equivalent to averting the greenhouse gas emissions from 20 million miles driven by passenger vehicles in one year. Want to think about our planet impact another way? The calculator also shows that annually we’re averting the CO2 emissions from 9 million pounds of coal burned, the carbon sequestered by 139,000 tree seedlings grown for 10 years (go trees go!), 1,466 homes’ electricity use for one year, or 1 billion smart phones charged.
What’s your planet impact?
We all impact the planet in the decision we make day to day, from how many miles we drive, to how many lights we use. The impact you make by releasing CO2 is called your carbon footprint. If you’d like to calculate your own carbon footprint, try using a simple online tool that can estimate your carbon dioxide usage based on your income, family size and geographic location. For more in-depth analysis, the U.S. EPA offers another online carbon footprint analysis tool for individuals. To understand in everyday terms what the resulting carbon dioxide usage means, input your personal CO2 estimate into an equivalency calculator. Reducing waste at lunchtime (and beyond!) is one of many eco-friendly strategies that help reduce your environmental footprint. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of reducing trash at lunchtime, check out our Lunch Study.
Thank you to our ECOlunchbox community for buying and using our products. Together we are making a change at lunchtime!