Article and images contributed by Sandra Ann Harris, founder of ECOlunchbox and author of Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide for Plastic-Free Living.
Lafayette mom Sandra Ann Harris never set out at her kitchen table to launch a global business. Her objective was simpler: create a healthy, plastic-free lunch container solution for her two kids at Lafayette Elementary and make it available online to friends and family.
As a result, Harris, along with her kids, Mabel and Nikolo, designed a container made out of 100% stainless steel that would be rugged enough to survive the playground and easy enough to open and close for little hands. With the help of her husband Thinh Vo and children, who were in kindergarten and third grade at the time, Harris launched her business, ECOlunchbox, at the Orinda Community Center Holiday Bazaar in December 2008. "For me, plastic pollution isn’t just a job. It’s personal," explains Harris, who graduated from Miramonte High School in Orinda. "This is our world, our planet and home for future generations. We’d better not keep messing it up!”
Harris' new book, Say Goodbye To Plastic: A Survival Guide for Plastic-Free Living, is based on research on how her own family can reduce usage of the petroleum-based material. Not only are toxic chemicals like bisphenol-A, an estrogen mimicker, in plastic, but the ubiquitous material didn’t biodegrade and marine scientists are warning of an accumulation in the oceans.
The 192-page small format hardback book is uplifting and inspirational, giving the reader a can-do attitude and actionable information. It makes a great gift paired with plastic-free ECOlunchbox products for eco-friendly friends and family looking to celebrate an increasingly plastic-free lifestyle. “The last thing I wanted to do during a pandemic was write a scary, depressing book,” Harris says, laughing. “I hope it’s an enjoyable read and people come away with a hopeful, can-do attitude that will empower them to start chipping away at some changes they can make in their own homes as well as expand their activism into their communities if they so choose.”
Published by Hatherleigh Press and distributed by Penguin Random House, the foreword, written by Dianna Cohen, CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition, gives perspective to the plastic pollution movement and frames it within the current environmental and racial justice movement unfolding worldwide. "Now, in the face of growing awareness around environmental injustices that have been playing out for generations as well as the current pandemic, it’s more important than ever to be educated about the harm of single-use plastics," Harris says. "In the past several months, we’ve seen an alarming surge in the use of disposable PPE and other trashy items related to contamination concerns. Unfortunately, the zero-waste lifestyle momentum we’d seen prior to the pandemic has suffered a setback. We can do better."
Sandra's book (EAN 9781578268603) is available in hardback on the ECOlunchbox website or on Amazon in hardback or Kindle. It has been requested to be stocked at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, but isn’t available yet for check-out. Reasonable Books, the new store next to Trader Joe’s, plans to stock the title.
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