It all started at the beach, with my 4 and 6 year olds, as they were building a magic beach house on a beautiful Pacific Northwest beach. As they collected wood for their house, they started to notice the plastic. There was just as much plastic on the beach as driftwood. In fact, what they thought was wood often turned out to be long pieces of PVC pipe. We made a movie about our discovery and the resulting awareness-raising art that came out of it: http://teamcora.com/about/
Two years later, we’re working with a team of innovators to help solve this problem. We’re developing a smart phone app to help people re-think their stuff, step in to a more sustainable frame-of-mind, and get closer to zero waste. A zero waste lifestyle isn’t as hard to achieve as some might believe, and it has an immediate impact on the environment.
The aim of the CORA (which means circle in Tibetan) app is to help people positively change their habits, simplify their buying practices, and re-think their stuff. We’re pioneering new paths through our overwhelming material culture to help people pare down, avoid excessive packaging, and reduce the amount of waste we generate. I’d say it makes sense to take note from the lessons learned while on expedition: pare down so you tread lightly on the Earth. It’s more efficient. You’ll have less baggage, too.
CORA will be a free resource, providing great tips on how to refuse what you don’t need, reuse what you have, repurpose it into useful things, fix those items that are broken, or gift them to those who could use them. Most of what you don’t want can benefit those in need, or could even be repurposed by an enterprising Etsy artist or local business. These are the connections we’ve created, linking you and your neighbors to each other, keeping thousands of items out of our landfills.
How Does A Mobile App For Zero Waste Work?
Your broken ceramics may be a treasure to a nearby mosaic artist, or the woven plastic bag your cat’s food comes in is coveted by a small business that makes reusable bags. Don’t throw your hard-to-recycle ice trays and shower curtain rings away: your local humane society needs them. Turn your plastic mesh produce bag into a great pot-scrubber. You’ll never need to buy ziplock bags again if you learn the easy way to wash and dry them. The CORA app will help you see your stuff in new ways and connect you with neighbors near and far who could use what you’re trying to get rid of. We can also tell you exactly where just about anything can be recycled, so your waste footprint can get closer to zero.
If you want to start a small business that upcycles a certain material people normally throw away, we’ll connect you with folks happy to give you their unwanted stuff. Or, if you simply want to know where your nearest landfill is so you can trash your unwanted things, we’ll take you there, through images, video, and articles, so you’ll know exactly where your stuff ends up and how it gets there.
CORA Means Circle in Tibet
Imagine a world where all the waste loops in your community are connected to benefit everyone. We could stop the use of fossil fuels to make virgin plastic pellets that are used to make unnecessary new and single-use plastics. If we refuse those plastics, and reuse what we already have to make better products and benefit others, we might even make a dent in the amount of plastic pollution found in the environment. If, as NOAA claims, millions of pieces of plastic enter our oceans every day, we can each do something to stop the flow of plastics into our waters. Most of the plastics are unnecessary packaging or single-use items like straws, water bottles, plastic bags, and bottle caps. Mixed in with the common debris are items we find in our homes, cars and offices: pens, plant pots, tampon applicators, lip balm, yogurt containers, light switch covers, and baby binkys.
Your First Step: Help CORA
With your help, our CORA app can fill the gap and enlighten people across the nation. Please come learn more about CORA at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/464119894/cora-transform-your-trash-to-treasure. Help fund, with like-minded people, our effort to tackle the stuff of our lives, divert it, and prevent unnecessary new plastics from entering the oceans each day. In the meantime, you’ll feel good about reusing what you thought was trash, or passing your unwanted things on to those in need or someone who can transform it into a treasure. Spread the word and share our Kickstarter page on your Facebook page!