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Have you ever thought about the problem of plastics? Statistics are stark. The very first plastic bottle ever produced is still in existence. It can take hundreds of years for it to decompose in landfill and recycling of plastic is presently inefficient and expensive. Join Corinna Bellizzi as she connects with Greg Dayley for a lively discussion around the problem of plastic packaging, the responsibility of manufacturers to clean up their acts and how you can hold them accountable and make a difference.
About Greg Dayley, CEO & Founder of Seabar
Meet Greg Dayley, the unlikely head of a personal care brand that seeks to remove superfluous plastic use from our everyday bathroom routines. Inspired by an encounter with a sea turtle mired with plastic trash, Greg Dayley has created a subscription solution that could just change how you think about your hygiene regimen. In Greg’s view, a personal care solution should also be earth-friendly. In this episode you’ll hear startling statistics with regard to plastic waste, recycling rates, and why recycling IS NOT THE ANSWER. And you will also learn that stories of sea turtles connect our guest with our host, in an unexpected way.
Connect with Greg Dayley:
Guest LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-dayley-91656410/
Guest Website: https://seabar.com
Guest Social: https://instagram.com/seabarcleans
05:30 The inspiration behind Greg’s journey to limit plastic consumption
10:25 The problem of plastic and why recycling is not the answer
15:40 The problem of shifting the responsibility for packaging onto consumers and end-users
16:45 “Keep America Beautiful” and their campaign to thwart bottle deposit laws (don’t be fooled by these guys — they are not for recycling, they are for more packaging and a continued extractive economic system)
20:50 Seabar’s perspective and commitment to the environment and a circular economy
33:00 Cleaning up ocean trash in The Philippines
37:15 Cleaning up ocean trash on Hawaii and the “tourist problem” of visibility to ocean waste
45:05 Recycling – The Least You Can Do
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Care More. Be Better. is not backed by any company. We answer only to our collective conscience. As a listener, reader, and subscriber you are part of this pod and this community and we are honored to have your support. If you can, please help finance the show (https://caremorebebetter.com/donate). Thank you, now and always, for your support as we get this thing started!
Additional Resources Mentioned:
- Anne Therese Gennari’s guest episode on climate optimism: https://caremorebebetter.com/exercising-climate-optimism-and-shifting-perspectives-for-a-brighter-future-with-anne-therese-gennari/
- Paul Hawken’s guest episode on Regeneration: https://caremorebebetter.com/regeneration-ending-the-climate-crisis-in-one-generation-with-paul-hawken-5-time-best-selling-author-and-environmentalist/
- EWG Database: https://www.ewg.org/
- Who is the EWG: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_Working_Group
- Keep America Beautiful (not an endorsement for them): https://kab.org/
Our Plastic Pandemic: Why Recycling Is Not The Answer with Greg Dayley, CEO of Seabar
Today. I am joined by someone whose passion for our natural world and the elimination of superfluous plastic parallels my own. And that’s Greg Dayley. Greg stumbled into the beauty industry by accidentally building one of the largest hair related accounts on Instagram.
Since that time he has owned and sold a product company featured on the shark tank. Co-founded an ocean cleanup organization, and recently started a hair care company called Seabar, that makes disposable plastic-free haircare and the even pickup ocean trash with every product that they sell. Greg, welcome to the show.
Awesome. Thank you for having me. I’m super excited to be here.
I’m thrilled that you are here. This is incredible. So quick question for you. How do you accidentally build an Instagram account? Because I think many of us struggle with just keeping up with that space.
Yeah. So we my cousin and I well, And Instagram and like 2012, he, and he got kind of big and on Instagram.He was one of the first big fitness influencers on Instagram. And he had, he had been in the army gained a bunch of weight after he got out and then lost it again. And kinda went through that journey on Instagram. And then he got really paranoid about everybody knowing who he was And he started making kind of like meme pages basically on Instagram. And at that time I was selling solar panels in Hawaii and there were some issues with the utility, making it really hard for them to, to get them installed. So basically I didn’t get paid for like a year almost. Hmm. Well, the second year I was in Hawaii, we basically didn’t get paid at all, like 10% of our incomes, kind of hard to live there.
So, I come back to the mainland, and, my cousin’s doing really well and we start talking about it and then my son burns his hands. Like he burns them really badly. He puts both of them on a wood burning stove. We were in and out of the burn unit for like the next six months or so for different surgeries and stuff. And during that time my cousin was teaching me how to build these Instagram pages. And we built, I built a couple you know, based around my interests, like outdoor sports and extreme sports stuff like that.
And then one day he calls me and he’s like, “Hey, let’s start a page about hair.” That’s growing really fast and I’m like, dude, it’s hair, nobody cares. He’s like, I know, but look how fast it’s growing. And they don’t know about videos. Right. That’s weird. And so literally we just posted a couple we found a few videos on Instagram of people talking about hair and doing hair there weren’t, there was almost nobody doing them at the time and we posted.
And they just blew up. It was crazy. Like there was just so much demand, but there were so hard to find that we actually paid his neighbor a dollar per video. These hair videos and they just started blowing up at it just crazy. Like tons of people were watching these videos and the pages were growing really fast.
At one point they were growing like 50,000 followers a day and we got to meet all these hairstylists through it and got to be friends with a lot of these like a lot of hair brands. And that’s kind of how I stumbled into it. Like I had no idea. Like I joke that the only thing I knew about hair salons before I kind of stumbled into it was that song from grease beauty school dropout. Like that was it. I didn’t, my mom didn’t go to him. I didn’t really know they existed.
Yeah. Well, my sister is a hairstylist and so I’ve had that integrated in my, my life and my circle for a long, long time. I have friends who own salons and things like that, but I’m, you know, I prefer my hair short, but I’m a mom of two boys and I’m really busy and it’s very challenging to keep up with when you have a quickly growing hair. So you see a pull back now I’ll do the reveal in a little bit. Just understand that I haven’t had a haircut in a bit, so I’m not probably the best representation for having used your product, given that, what do you want to say? This is not a beauty podcast.
So the product, in my opinion, it’s it’s to clean your house. It’s a
utilitarian product. I mean, people use shampoo and conditioner every single day. And I, for one am a 100% proponent of trying to reduce your waste in every way possible. So, the fact that you’ve decided to attack this particular industry with a novel approach is for one, for me, very, very interesting and something I’m really curious to explore more, but before we get there, How did you decide that this was going to be your next adventure? What really inspired you to take on the haircare industry?
Yeah. So when I was living in Hawaii, I got really into free diving and basically scuba diving without a tank, if you don’t know what it is. And I went out almost every day and one day when I was out, I see this plastic bag, like jerking, really oddly.
The water I’m like, what is going on? And then I look off to my left and I realized that that plastic bag is attached to a sea turtle by about 50 feet of cable or not cable, a fishing line. And it’s just this mess of fishing line and plastic bags. And I swim up to the turtle, get as close as I can and cut it loose with my dive knife.
And I just sit there in the water, like looking at this bag and looking at, you know, all the pristine beauty. I got to do something about this. And for a long time, I’m more or less did nothing besides choosing paper over plastic at the grocery store. And as I got in the beauty industry we moved from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest and kind of at that same time, I was getting involved in the beauty industry and I went on this hike really one day down through this beautiful forest gorgeous trees.
And there were these huge tree stumps, just like in comprehensively big. I don’t know if you’ve ever hiked around in the Pacific Northwest. Yeah, you have. You’re living Redwood country, you know, stumbled across these tree stumps before
Yes, I grew up in Oregon, so I know — they are huge, as big as a house and as old as this country.
Exactly. And you’re just like, okay, that’s bad. And then I walked down a little further and in Washington along most of the Puget sound, this freight line runs right. And it goes one way, carrying coal up towards Canada and lumber down the other way. And I had to cross this right after seeing these tree stumps.
And I’m just like, what is going on here? Like, we’re cutting down the forests, we’re polluting the air. And then I get to the shore and there’s plastic all over the beach and I’m like, okay, this is my wake-up call. And. That’s when I started doing some research on it at the time we owned a haircare company, so I couldn’t start one, but I started doing research on like plastic free usage stuff.
And it was the brand was specifically like a curl cream. And so it, it didn’t, wasn’t really conducive to solids. And so anyway, we ended up selling that brand and it was my chance to like really dive into I was going for plastic. But the more research I did, I realized that most of the plastic free options, which are shampoo bars are great.
They work great. But the application of it is kind of it’s leaves something to be desired, especially for like, if you’re hardcore, you’ll do it. But if you’re like call an armchair environmentalist, you might not make that switch. And cause a lot of people switched from bar soap to liquid soap for a reason.
Bar soap has some disadvantages. It melts in your shower, get slippery, I guess, kind of gross sometimes. And so that’s why I came up with these plastic bottles. They are plastic, but they were usable refillable. So instead of buying one bottle and using it once and throwing it away, in fact about what is it?
I just wrote this down. A minute ago, it kind of blew my mind that only, only about 30% or 50% of people who recycle regularly from their homes recycle their bathroom trash. So most people don’t even recycle the stuff in their bathroom because, you know, it’s just inconvenient. They don’t have a bin there, so they don’t.
And so it seemed like a really good place to tackle it based on, you know, my knowledge of the hair industry and that it. Plastic packaging is really when we talk about recycling and we talk about reducing, like mostly what we’re talking about is packaging and like what is it? Something like 28%. Yeah.
28% of all plastic waste that’s produced is one is single use plastic. Plastic packaging. I should say some of them might be used more than once, but almost none of it is. And so I really wanted to tackle that problem because even when we start talking about recycling and this is something that really shocked me, I’ve been told my whole life basically like you’re a good person.
If you’re recycled, recycling is what we do to make the world better. And, you know, I believed it. I believe that when I recycled something, I was doing something really. And as I really dove into the numbers, I realized that plastic recycling is basically a myth. It’s a farce designed to help us to get us to buy more product, because there’s a reason that plastic or recycle is last and reduce, reuse, recycle.
It’s a last resort. But if you watch any company talking about plastic talking about what they’re doing, they’re like we use recycled plastic. We help you recycle it. It’s recyclable, blah, blah, blah, recycle, recycle, recycle, because nobody makes money on reducing and nobody makes money on re reusing.
The only way they make money is if you recycle it and then you have to buy a new one. Okay. The big problem is if you look at the numbers like plastic recycling, just doesn’t work. And we’ve been, we’ve been told that, like, we just need to do a better job of recycling. But if we look at the recycling numbers for packaging, I’m going to focus on packaging because that’s mostly what consumers are cycle.
And we recycle 81% of our paper. So people are recycling. We recycle 31% of our glass and 35% of aluminum. People and the recycled 13% of plastic and of that, most of it doesn’t get actually fully recycled. Most of it well, about 25% of it gets discarded for being dirty or the wrong thing, or all these things gets diverted back to the landfill.
So a really small percentage of the plastic that we actually recycle gets made into new products. And so it’s not really a problem with. Putting it in the bin. It’s a problem of plastic being well, recycled plastic, depending on oil prices is usually more expensive than reused or then new plastic. It’s also harder to work with when you’re making a product with it.
Virgin plastic just works better as because the fibers break down every time you recycle it. And even best case scenario, you take this bottle, you use it, you recycle it and it gets made into something else. 60% of plastic is only recycled once and then it gets down, cycled into something or thrown away.
So I like to say that recycling is good, but really all you’re doing is throwing it away.
One, it takes energy to recycle it. It’s an expensive process to produce. There are some new technologies that are being developed, which Paul Hawkin revealed in regeneration ending the climate crisis in one generation that include ways to incinerate plastic, where there’s no.
Exposure to oxygen. So then the plutons, don’t get back into the environment and another technique which actually can make plastic like new. And so it can be reused again. But again, these technologies are new. They’re budding. They’re going to take time to develop and scale, and we’re just not there yet and it’s expensive.
And when we get to that point, like the, the cost of those bottles, those are going to be so high that you don’t want to throw them on.
That’s the problem, right? Ultimately it’s going to cost more. So there’s a couple of things that you mentioned that I think are critical. One is that plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles, generally speaking, they’re Virgin plastic. That’s what they’re made of, and they don’t tend to be recycled, even when they are thrown in the recycle bin. When they are recycled, they’re downgraded into something else. That’s not like they’re really upcycled or recycled to something that’s parallel or comparable because it’s considered a product for food or personal care and the standards for that are higher.
And so what it might end up as is l perhaps like the black plastic in these headphones or something to that effect. But it’s problematic to start with. And the plastics generally that are created and used for shampoo and conditioner bottles. They’re thick. It’s quite a bit of plastic, thankfully. It’s not single use.
But you’re talking about one life it’s essentially thrown away at the end of that month. It’s garbage. It’s never upcycled.
Yeah. I mean, in a lot of Western countries that have well-developed trashed systems, that stuff does get landfilled or burned. Most of it does, but in a lot of the world where most of the ocean plastic pollution comes from, they don’t have those resources.
And so, like we think that our bottles are bad. They get thrown away. But like, and countries like the Philippines, most personal care products are sold in little sachets, little single use sachets, and those things are multilayered. So they’re a mixture of plastic and aluminum. They’re basically unrecyclable and they use billions of them a year.
And these things are like, Most in a lot of the communities, they just get thrown on the ground.
And they end up in our waterways and fish mistake them for food and…
yeah. And so we globally about 275 million tons of plastic are produced every year. It’s mind boggling. It is 99 million of those about go to coastal communities and 31 million tons a year are mismanaged. They’re not properly disposed of. And that’s why 8 million tons a year enters the oceans. And it really like, we focus a lot on the consumer. That’s the consumer, the end user, like all of this has been pushed on the consumer and the end user to like recycle it, do better dispose of it properly.
But I think that’s been, I don’t, I’m pretty dang. Sure. That has been a calculated move by industry to shift that burden. And it really started in the seventies. Now, are you familiar with the crying Indian?
I’m familiar with quite a few things like that. So, yes. Why don’t you talk about it?
The crying Indian ad is just one of my favorite examples.
It’s this, it’s this Indian and he’s actually Italian, but you know, we’ll leave that for another discussion, but he’s paddling through this really polluted street. There’s garbage, everywhere. He gets out, walks up a highway and somebody throws some garbage on his feet and he cries a little tear and it says people start pollution.
People can end it. And it’s this really good message. Like let’s not pollute. But the really interesting thing I think is it’s paid for by this new organization called keep America beautiful and keep America. It has been one of the biggest opponents of bottle deposit laws in the country. And bottled deposits are proven to be extremely effective at reducing garbage and increasing recycling rates.
Right. And it’s because like, so why would a comp or an organization that purports to be antique letter? Antibody will deposit laws. And that’s because it’s funded and run by a coalition of bottlers. Right?
And so they want us to go buy new bottles…
All they want is for you to buy new bottles. It costs a lot less money to make, you know, a 1 cent bottle out of plastic than it does to like they used to get your glass bottles back, take them, wash them, refill them and ship them back.
That costs. And so they want to use plastic. These big producers, plastic cheap plastic packaging has been a godsend because it’s allowed them to externalize a major expense of theirs, which was packaging. And basically they took the cost of their packaging and pass it on to the.
Yeah, I mean, somebody’s paying for it.
This is a problem across the board. Now, thankfully we do have some communities around the globe leading the charge. Like if you go to Germany as a for example, and you spend time in Berlin with anybody who lives there, you’ll see them gather their glass bottles for their soda waters and things like that, and bring them back to the store and deposit them at the store.
And then those bottles get refilled again and then enter the shelves again and are reused again. And again. So they’re not even wasting the time, money, expense carbon footprint of re of having to work through recycling of the glass bottles. Whereas here in the states, like I live in Santa Cruz county, I found out that my glass wine bottles, as a, for example, if they break on the way into the bin or from the bin into the truck, whatever breaks is simply thrown away.
And I, I mean, that just blows my mind. It has to do with how it’s processed on the collections side. And so, because of the way, all of these things are laid up and because of how poorly we handle it, along the way, not only is that glass bottle never going to reenter circulation in its present, same form, it is going to have to go through the added expense of being melted down, and then put into a new shape or form as opposed to simply refilled.
Right? And every step in that process, There’s more carbon, there’s more costs. There’s more, it’s just, it doesn’t make any sense. Like it only benefits one person and that’s the producer of those products because they don’t have to pay. It’s cheaper to use plastic than it is to refill.
That’s really what it comes down to.
And even in the case of glass, it’s just, it’s cheaper to go ahead and recycle it and charge the consumer for that cost as part of the package every single time.
And it’s fun. It, the consumer that pays. The environment really pays too. It’s like the, they take that cost and they’re like, well, you know, we don’t really want to pay for the cost of properly disposing it.
So we put it in the landfill that really the environment pays most of the burden and that’s, it’s catching up to us. We’ve used up all of, you know, in so many aspects, we’ve used up the, our savings account. If you will, on the environment, forests, carbon. All of these things, we’ve used up those, those savings accounts, because we’ve just been, you know, externalizing the costs and pushing, kicking that can down the road.
And we can’t do it anymore.
Well, the extractive economy is coming to a crumbling halt is what, what will ultimately happen eventually we run out and…
Hopefully we’re smart enough to give ourselves a soft landing.
So I wanted to actually share with our community who may be watching this on YouTube or elsewhere, how I received your package and ask you a few questions about it, because I think it all relates to this work of trying to build a company and a product that is regenerative and also.
Is really moving towards a more circular economy. Yeah. And so, I mean, all of these, all of this I think is important for our consumers to consider as they’re out there shopping for products, as they’re thinking about the companies that they want to partner with, as we all work to vote with our dollars and become such a large consumer base, that it becomes the normal way of doing business.
Again, as opposed to. Supporting this extractive community.
And that’s the power that we have as consumers. We don’t have power to change the packaging at once, but we have the power to vote with our dollars and choose people who are doing it differently, and that will force everybody else to change. And it will.
It does. Right? So I’ll bring two things up that relate to prior episodes that my audience may have already watched and heard. One is one that launched this week as we’re recording with Anne Teresa Gennari. And the fact is that she’s being, she’s a proponent too, of just reducing consumption, really thinking about the things that you bring into your home and how you use them and their life cycle.
And thinking about the fact of your trash bin, your recycle bin. All of your waistbands as essentially garbage, because even most of what you end up putting in your recycle bin may not actually be recycled. And so many people are wish cycling items. They say, oh, it’s plastic. I’ll throw it in that bin. Oh, I got it at the grocery store.
It’s my greens bin. And it has a recycling symbol on it. It has the chasing arrows, so right. My, my community’s going to recycle. Guess what most like most do not. Yeah. So it’s, it’s really problematic anyway, so here’s the box and I love the minimalism of this. This is just a standard cardboard blocks. It’s about, I don’t know, six by six by two and a half.
So not a ton of material, as you said. You’ve you’ve tell me about the logo sprayed on here.
Yeah. Definitely just made a stencil and take a little spray. Yeah, that’s great.
That’s great. Very minimal. And then inside the box, you open it up and I’m just showing everybody here looks like this, but on the top of the bottles is this card and it says, thank you.
Your order picked four pounds of ocean. Which I think is amazing because as a quantifying for the customer base, the impact that you’re having with every shipment, and I’m sure that number varies like this one, you know, actually came with the plastic bottles. So your next one might be slightly different.
And then on the back invite your friends and save. So you’re essentially offering people. An added discount on every order, if they’re for people ultimately trying to build that networking effect into your business model, which you think is smart. Good job. And then there’s just this crinkled paper in this case.
It’s red and white. Maybe that seasonal. Seasonal. Yeah. Okay. One thing I do know that in my area, this is not recently. But I compost a lot, but you know, it varies by municipality. So if things are shredded or crinkled, they don’t necessarily always recycle. It varies. And then these two bottles, one conditioner, one shampoo just labeled on the front shampoo and conditioner.
The texture of them is slightly different. I did actually just shower with them and quickly blow, dried my hair. Cause I wanted to experience it myself. So the shampoo, this one’s been used one. I like the seal on these. I did drop the shampoo in my bathroom and it didn’t break the plastic conditioner and same thing, a little creamier.
Cause of course it’s conditioner, but they’re in the bar form, which means you’re not shipping the added water. There’s not as much waste. And I got the sense using them that. They would last a long time, particularly the shampoo, the conditioner is a little softer, so more of it might come. But like my hair feels, I know I have it back here because I’m, I got headphones on everything.
It’s just very soft. One of my complaints with a lot of the natural shampoos and conditioners has been, they feel like they leave like either a residue on my hair or they weigh it down when there’s a condition. I didn’t get that feeling with either of these products. Like they felt really easy to use and the instructions on your site were really sweet.
So everybody watching this, you don’t have to go actually, look, I might have to just play it at the tail end of this, just so people see your lovely self in the shower and doing the videos yourself, which is. It’s brave and audacious. And I admire you for, for being that willing to put yourself out there.
Yeah, that I was I dunno, I just, I wanted to get him done and I was like, well, let’s just do this. And I had my wife fill me.
Yup! You’re an entrepreneur!
but I’m willing to do what I’m willing to do, what it takes, because I don’t really view fi bar bars, a beauty company. Like I said, like it’s pretty utilitarian, this isn’t women’s shampoo or men’s shampoo or some nonsense like that. Our hair is all the same. And I just want it to be.
I want to take something that people buy every day that they, that has pretty big impact on the environment. Really, if you start diving into a lot of the ingredients that are used in a lot of brands, and if you start diving into all the water, they get shipped around your shampoos, 80% water, your conditioners as much as 90% water.
And You know, so there’s a lot of CO2, the bottles to everything. I just wanted to take something that was pretty bad for the environment really, and turn it into a force for good. And it’s something that you already use every day. I don’t want to make another product that you had to buy. I think that that kind of going against the whole principle of it, I want to replace products that you already use every day with something that’s going to make the world a lot better, but that you’re also going to enjoy using, because I know.
I know from being in the beauty industry for a long time, people only use products that they like in their hair. They just won’t there’s no, they won’t convert. There’s not a status to what’s in your shower. You know what I mean? You’re going to use what you want to use. You might drive a Prius because other people will see you driving a Prius that might change your behavior a little bit, but it’s not going to change your behavior on shampoo.
So it’s got to work. It’s got to be.
Well, I actually really liked it. One of the things I’m looking at your conditioner now, I think it has fewer ingredients than almost any conditioner I’ve ever seen. And yeah, you’ve got those sodium lactate, glass glycerin, things that you expect to see satirical alcohol, hydrolyzed, rice protein.
Nothing crazy from what I’m seeing?
I went into the environmental toxicity of every ingredient and looked into it super deeply. Like I, I, I really care about all of that stuff. And I, I tried to, you know, there’s only, I think only one ingredient in all of it that isn’t a rated, like. One or two in the EWG.
W thing, I don’t know if you’re familiar with that. I think it’s, EWG they rate like the toxicity of ingredients and beauty products and they do it on a scale of one to five. And anyway, it’s all one or twos basically.
My only question really about the ingredients was why there was use of a hydrogenated olive oil and why, you know, why that would be.
So what that is is actually a silicone substitute. Hm. So silicones are used Dan basically all conditioners. Yeah. Yeah. In some form or another they’re used in all conditioners and silicones are basically plastic, but instead of mating being made out of long carbon chains, they’re made out of long silicone.
That’s really what it is. And they do break down in the environment. But sometimes quite slowly, and it depends on the type and there’s just silicones everywhere. And I want it to be a silicone free brand because. They’re not good for the environment. They might not be the worst for the environment, but they’re definitely not good for it because everything like, I think what a lot of people don’t think about too, is there’s two levels to what’s good for good ingredients.
So there’s the level that’s, what’s good for you and your hair, but that gets washed down the drain and nothing that you washed down the drain, basically that’s that small as getting filtered out in the. It goes through the water treatment plant and out to the rivers and out to the ocean. And so that stuff starts accumulating.
And so it’s really important, everything. And this is biodegradable it’s. I was pretty shocked at the amount of stuff that isn’t easily biodegradable that’s in shampoo and conditioners. Like it really shocked me. I was like, I just assumed that it would be.
Okay. So the question, when I ask hydrogenated olive oil and it’s unsub unsaponifiables it says hydrogenated olive oil, and I come from the natural products industry. I know way too much about fat in particular. And you don’t want to ingest hydrogenated fats. I mean, that’s trans fats, not good for your body internally. So I was curious why it was used in something like this. I get replacing the silicone. I think that makes sense, but it also probably has to be in a solid state.
Like the fat has to be in a solid state or a more solid state in order to do that. Is that correct?
It actually is a liquid and a I actually, do you want me to grab it?
Sure. So it’s, but it’s the most, it’s like a way to emulsify the oil, make it consistent and more shelf stable.
But the process of hydrogenation also uses chemicals too. So it’s just it’s the only thing that jumped out at me.
Yeah. I, I don’t claim to be perfect on any of it. I do like when you’re a small scale producer, you can only use. The ingredients that are available in small quantities. And so there’s, there’s a couple things that I would like to change out of it.
Then I’m sure you will, as time goes on, right? Wouldn’t it be lovely if you didn’t have to use plastic? But if this was glass, I might’ve just cut myself in the shower.
I’ll give you a for instance. I almost stop the project like analysis or paralysis through analysis because I was, I was trying so hard to get around using plastic in the shower at all.
And it, it is a problem and it’s not ideal, but when we come back and look at plastic at what it is, It’s a miracle substance. Like it is amazing. It is incredibly cheap. It is ridiculously durable. It is light. It is flexible. Like you go back 200 years and give somebody a five gallon bucket. They give you their right arm for it.
Like, and it’s stuff that we just throw away. And so the problem isn’t necessarily plastic. It’s how much we use and how we use it. Like the plastic in your car. You use that for 20 years. It saves how much fuel either electricity or gas by being so lightweight. Like there are reasons to use plastic. It is not a boogeyman that shouldn’t be used ever, but we should be really careful about it.
We should really analyze the full cost of it. And that’s the thing that’s being taken out. We don’t look at and how we pay for plastic charged for plastic use plastic. We don’t look at the full life cycle. And if we did, we’d use it a lot differently. And so I think that by being reusable, so they come in plastic the first time, and then they come in these little cardboard.
Yeah. Which you couldn’t also put in the shower because they would just fall apart, fall apart.
And then you just, you just pop it out and just like a push pop. And it’s just like a push pop. You pop it out and put it in. And boom, you’re good to go. Good. And so like this, this plastic tube, there’s no reason it can’t last years and years and years.
Well, it smells really good too. So the user experience is not bad. And also like, just want to comment on the fact like this, actually the sound of putting the lid back on it’s like, it just has a feel. That’s like, it’s, it’s a prestige feel. So I think that you like. You actually hit the nail on the head.
And so many ways when it came to the product design, I think you did a really effective job. And I have to admire good product design. I come from product marketing and natural products and supplements mostly, but foods and personal care products as well. And so I just think you did a really good job.
I also liked that it looks more unisex. Like this doesn’t look overly girly or male. It’s just kind of like in the sweet spot of the middle that I think is really good. And you actually have these icons for how people will fix it and then pounds saved on the left too. So can you talk about. How, how much impact you’ve been able to have already in the way of what trash you’ve been able to pick up and you know, the types of things that you’re working to do as you head forward on that corporate responsibility side of things.
Yeah. So kind of, as I was getting ready to launch Seabar as I was well, as I was contemplating it, I knew we wanted to do something that picked up ocean trash. And so I just started picking up ocean trash around my house. And and no joke. My sister posted about it on Facebook and her, I have to think about this, her friends, husbands brother-in-law reached out to me on Facebook and is like, I saw what you’re doing.
He lives in the Philippines. I saw what you’re doing. There’s so much trash here. Can I help? Yes, let’s do it. And so I we, we hired a crew. We we did the whole thing. And so to date we’ve picked up we only did it for a week that full-time crew, but to date, we’ve picked up about 33,000 pounds of ocean trash.
Unfortunately we haven’t sold 33,000 sea bars yet, but it’ll happen. My, my goal is to have, you know, a full-time crew or two working in the Philippines, full-time picking up ocean trash.
The reason we do it in the Philippines is because about. I can’t remember the exact stat, but something like 60 to 80% of ocean trash comes from the Pacific rim region. China, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, I think of the top five. Not necessarily in that order. And it’s mostly because they have a lot of people who.
Are living in poverty and they don’t have good access to waste disposal. And frankly, if they did, they probably couldn’t afford it. And I have a hard time for grudging them when they’re, you know, literally will drink vegetable oil to get calories. Like what, who am I to judge them for throwing something on the.
I’m not going to. And so our goal there is to create well-paying jobs, cleaning up communities in the Philippines. We’ve done it a little bit. We want to make it full-time gigs for people, but it’s amazing how much. Trash there is there and how much they were able to pick up. And so we can have that twofold impact there improving people’s lives and improving the communities.
The one beach that they did clean up. And if you looked at it like the before and after pictures as a westerner, you’d be like, that is still filthy. But if you look at the before, you’re like, holy cow, they, they removed over, it was 31,709 pounds of trash from this one beach. And the locals were like, I’ve never seen it that clean and I would consider it filthy.
So you mentioned those seeing the plastic problem on Hawaii. And I think this will resonate with people. You know, we’re as Westerners, we go to places like Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific ocean, you know, five hour flight from California, five hour flight from the next spot, pretty much to right. And we.
I kind of have this perception. Oh, well, if it’s not a problem here, then it’s not a problem there. But the reality is that it’s not a problem in touristic spots on touristic beaches. So when I was on my honeymoon back in 2006, so quite a while ago, still, right. I. Landed on Kauai with my new husband. And we’re staying at this resort in Hawaii, near the Louie airport, but, you know ocean front, they’re beautiful.
And I’m like, well, I really just want to see the sun rise over the Pacific ocean. Cause I’ve never seen that before. Right now. You’re in the middle of the ocean. You can actually see the sunrise there. So on our first night, You know, we could wake up early and it doesn’t feel like it’s that early because you’re from California.
Right? Big deal. I was like, yeah. So like 5:00 AM feels like a big deal. Right? So we’re going to hike across this resort through a golf course along the frontage road to this Eastern most point. And that frontage road is just like a strip of sand on this other side of a chain link fence that a bus here.
Right. And so the strip of sand or Rocky beach and I, and I get out there and. It’s just littered with trash, mostly nets, right? So like sea nets, ocean trash buoys, a lot of shampoo bottles. There were shampoo bottles. I will say that there were shampoo bottles. There was also like detergent bottles Clorox bleach bottles, a Draino bottle, like all these different types of plastic bottles that get disposed of, and the end up in our waters chip bags, and then.
Left flip-flops and a ton of them. And the reason it was only left flip-flops is because of how the, the shape of them would get picked up by the water. And they end up on that beach. So all the right flip-flops are on another beach somewhere else, but all the left flip-flops were on this beach. And so, you know, I’m seeing all of this and just as the sun’s coming up, starting to see the detailed.
Amidst all these lava rocks. And for me, the impact was other worldly. This is unacceptable. What are we going to do differently? Oh my God. You know, this is just a, this would be every beach in Hawaii. If it weren’t for the fact that they were coupled with tourism and they get cleaned. Right. And so I Then had this next moment, which was the big travesty of the trip in my mind, because I saw these little tracks leading into the water.
I thought at first they were bird tracks. And then I realized that they were sea turtle tracks their, their, their voyage from their nest, which was at the back of the beach to the ocean estuary. Had to go over all of these mountains of trash. And so my husband and I spent as much time as we could in those predawn hours and into, and passed on kind of clearing a path.
From the nests that remained to the ocean and then carried out what we could with what water we had left and got back to our resort adventure. Yeah, it left a mark.
It does. And I think one reason that people don’t think the plastic pollution problem is as bad as it is even in the states is because they go to beaches that people go to.
Exactly and people like a lot of people pick up the trash when they see it, which is great. It’s fantastic. But if you go to a beach that nobody ever goes to, I don’t care where you are. It’ll be okay. And anywhere in the world, the most remote places in the world are covered in plastic because those bottles that you were talking about, the shampoo bottles, the laundry detergent bottles, the Clorox bottles, those are a lot heavier duty than like a water bottle or a Coke bottle, for example.
And they float a lot longer and they they’re a lot more durable. They don’t break down as easily. So just off thicker. And so, and the other thing that really is important to remember is that we only see like 30% of the trash that goes into the ocean, floats the rest of it, sinks right to the bottom, and it’ll never be seen.
So you think it’s bad? What floats on top or, and it’s even a smaller percentage that ever washes up on land. Again, I think it’s like they estimate like 13% ever will touch land again. So what you’re seeing when you walk these beaches is like 13% of what’s out there, which blows my mind.
Well, as Neil deGrasse, Tyson says, if you don’t blow your mind every week, You’re not doing something, right.
So perhaps not the best news to blow your mind with, but we just need to keep on the journey of informing ourselves and pushing for the change that we want to see. And this is I think, a good step in the right direction. I do have a question with regard to how you’re tackling the challenge of the.
Footprint of being a direct to consumer brand and shipping each of these things, like what is subscription look like? How are you working to tackle that side of the business to try and minimize impact.
As much as possible? So we do offset the carbon from shipping. I do pay for that.
And the, the subscriptions we like this lasts about as long as two to three bottles of shampoo tips. And so that right there is a two to three fold reduction in shipping costs. And then we do encourage people to buy, like when they refill, like to refill a couple at a time and to get, instead of getting one every, every other month or every third month, some people are like, they’ll get like two every six months or when.
And cause that’s what we’re finding is the most people that last like two to three months for them, depending on how many people are using it.
So so it’s great to hear that you’re working on the CO2 imprint. Now, if there was one thing that you could leave our audience with, like the thing that you want them to remember over everything else, when it comes to a conversation we’ve had today, what might it be?
I think the most important thing that I’ve realized going through this journey is that we need to stop patting ourselves on the back for recycling. That’s the very least you can do. We need to change how we buy. We need to change what we buy. We need to change how much we buy more than anything else.
And I think that’s the biggest thing is recycling is not a, when recycling is. The baseline it’s w it’s your responsibility for anything that you buy, it’s your responsibility to dispose of it properly? Because when you buy that, I believe you make that social contract with the planet. I bought this to use it for myself.
It’s my responsibility to see that it’s dealt with properly now purchasing from brand. Who make that a lot easier for you? We’ll make sure her life a whole lot easier. But I do think that that’s kind of the big thing that I’ve taken away. I used to be really, really anal about recycling, soar, everything, wash, everything, get everything just perfect as like my contribution, but I realized that that’s not.
Good enough contribution. We need to produce less of it in the first place, because it’s still has a big impact. And so that’s kinda my, my takeaway that I hope people realize is that recycling is the least they can do.
I feel like you already landed with a really solid reminder that, you know, we need to take more responsibility for the things we bring into our home and then the things that we dispose of.
So it’s a good point. It’s a good reminder. At the same time pushing for change because the systemic issues are the ones that I think we really need to be concerned with on the manufacturing side.
Uh Huh. That’s the, that’s the biggest part. The only thing you can do about that is vote with your dollars and it’s so important that you do
A hundred percent. So I do have a thought on closing. I think I want to remind all of our listeners that you can utilize this third-party resource, which is Terracycle. And their whole mission is that they will help you recycle anything that you need to dispose of. They will find a way to put it into second use or last use, and it can be a challenge.
I mean, you do have to. Commit to buying a box, essentially. And then you fill the box and when it’s filled, you send it back to them. But there’s one of the ways that really mindful consumers are starting to take more accountability for the things that they bring into their home is collaborating with this third-party who takes care of finding a way to recycle.
Just about everything, like, even from the comforter on your bed to the plastics that you might use. So it’s interesting that there’s an entrepreneurial effort at the tail end of that. That will help you take care of those items that you simply can’t recycle in your local area. Yeah. Great. Now, where can people go to find out more about you?
Do you have a crazy active Instagram account? That’s full of hair and going like hotcakes
or a honestly I I’ve been down on social media lately. I don’t do it a whole lot. They can find me on Instagram at Sebar claims. I’m trying to be active on there, but no, I haven’t really focused on growing it a lot, just because to be honest, I’m kind of burnt out on Instagram.
I spent. 12 hours a day, seven days a week for like five years on it. So yeah, it was kinda crazy, but so @seabarcleans on Instagram or really any of the social medias, we have one, most of them don’t have much on there, but see bar.com SCA bar.com is the website. If you want to email me, it’s just firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m happy to respond to whatever.
All right. Perfect.
Now listeners I’d like to invite you to act. It doesn’t have to be huge. It could be as simple as sharing this podcast with people in your community, or just going to see bar.com and connecting with Greg and his company on Instagram @seabarcleans. And if you’re itching to become a more effective activists, sign up for our newsletter on caremorebebetter.com.
You’ll receive that five step guide I mentioned at the top of the hour. I also encourage you to visit our action page, to find suggestions for causes and companies that we encourage you to support. You’ll find a feature there where I actually did an ocean cleanup and an article on the sorts of companies and third-party organizations that you can support in support that you can support to clean up our oceans and water.
Thank you listeners now and always for being a part of this pod and this community, because together we really can do so much more. We can care more and we can be better. Thank you.
- Tuesdays for Trash
- EWG Database: https://www.ewg.org/
- Anne Therese Gennari’s guest episode on climate optimism: https://caremorebebetter.com/exercising-climate-optimism-and-shifting-perspectives-for-a-brighter-future-with-anne-therese-gennari/
- Paul Hawken’s guest episode on Regeneration: https://caremorebebetter.com/regeneration-ending-the-climate-crisis-in-one-generation-with-paul-hawken-5-time-best-selling-author-and-environmentalist/