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Reflections on International Coastal Cleanup Day 2018

Earlier this month, on International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) day, I took my family to Matheson Hammock Park, where we spent most of the morning picking up trash alongside other volunteers. Matheson Hammock is situated on beautiful Biscayne Bay and I have many fond memories of visiting the park as a child and playing in its atoll tidal pool. It was therefore very special for me to help clean it up over 35 years later with my own children in tow. However, I must admit that it was also very unsettling to observe the pervasiveness of plastic waste throughout the park, especially tiny bits and pieces that intermingled with sand, dirt, leaves, seaweed and other elements of the natural environment.
I am pleased to report that our group of volunteers picked up dozens of large bags of trash. The waste we collected more or less tracked the “Top 10 Items Collected” list from ICC 2017:

1. Cigarette Butts
2. Food Wrappers
3. Plastic Beverage Bottles
4. Plastic Bottle Caps
5. Plastic Grocery Bags
6. Other Plastic Bags
7. Straws and Stirrers
8. Plastic Take-Out Containers
9. Plastic Lids
10. Foam Take-Out Containers

Interestingly, 9 of the top 10 items relate to packaging, the industry my brothers and I grew up in and have been part of for most of our careers. As suppliers of some of the same packaging materials on this top 10 list, we have long felt like enablers of a global problem that has spiraled out of control. This should explain why we founded Cleanyst and why we seek to make a difference by reducing plastic packaging waste from home and body care products. Although plastic packaging waste from home and body care products does not typically wind up in our oceans and waterways, it accounts for approximately 5% of the global plastic packaging market and therefore constitutes a meaningful slice of the overall pie. What’s more, we all generate this type of plastic packaging waste since home and body care products are an integral part of our daily lives.

At Cleanyst we feel that every step counts and that, in order to solve the plastic waste problem, we need to fundamentally change the way we think about and utilize packaging materials. We believe that packaging reuse will become a major part of the solution and this is why reusable bottles are at the heart of the Cleanyst system. We hope you will join us and become part of the reuser movement that we expect will sweep the planet in more ways than one.

Nick Gunia
CEO + Co-Founder
Miami, FL

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