PROJECT TITLE: Servin’ it up – Serving the environment and humanity one meal at a time.
COUNTRY: United States of America
LEAD CONTACT PERSON
Name: Gabrielle Page
Email: [email protected]
China• Pollution• Biodegradable• Global Climate change• Renewable Energy
Over the past several years the amount of plastic that is globally produced totals around 7.82 billion tons and only 19.5% is recycled, 25.5% is incinerated and 55% is improperly disposed. Asia is the most contributing country when it comes to producing plastic and the mismanaging of plastic waste. A main area of focus in Asia, is China. China produces almost 30% of most plastics globally and manufactures about 17.8%. China’s current population is 1.42 billion and with resources becoming scarce it is very common for most everyday items to be made from plastic, such as dispossable cutlery and kitchen wear. Most local business and companies in the food and beverage industries heavily incorporate plastic disposals as cheap alternatives that allow meals and drinks to be carried on-the-go. The effects of using plastics can also be detrimental to an individual’s health such as the development of cancer. Most plastics produced come from industrial plants using fossil fuels which emit high levels of smog and carbon dioxide (CO2) which affects global warming and the individuals in the area. Along with the air pollution the improperly disposed plastics, which approximately equal to 10–20 million tons, end up in the oceans each year. Plastic in our waters can cause a range of environmental problems. These include visible physical disruption to marine life such as entanglement or the problems occurred through ingestion of plastic materials and the chemical impact through the build-up of various harmful organic pollutants. A recent study conservatively estimated that 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing a total of 268,940 tons are currently floating in the world’s oceans. This plastic debris results in an estimated $13 billion a year in losses from damage to marine ecosystems, including financial losses to fisheries and tourism as well as time spent cleaning beaches raw, plastic cups and containers commonly end up mostly in the ecosystem of aquatic animals. Out of 268,940 ton of plastic waste deposited into the ocean by rivers each year, 1.5 million, or 55%, flows out of the Yangtze. A research conducted in 2011 by the Chinese government reported forty-three percent of the rivers they were observing were so polluted that they were too toxic for human contact. This same pollution has taken its toll on aquatic life. The annual amount of fish that is hauled from the river declined from 427,000 tons in the 1950s to 100,000 tons in the 1990s. The Yangtze is in danger of becoming a “dead river” meaning that it may potentially be unable to sustain marine life or provide any form of salvageable drinking water. According to a report done by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, released in April 2007, the Yangtze has seemingly been declared a seriously and largely irreversibly polluted river. More than 600 kilometers of its length and almost 30 percent of its major tributaries are in critical condition and with each passing year that critical zone continues to expand. A solution to China’s mismanagement of plastic is to incorporate biodegradable products into everyday items such as teapots, cutlery and containers that are not only ecofriendly but also cost affective. Our goal at Servin’ It Up aims to answer the question, “Can the materials our products are made from gives back to the environment after use?”
Local Context & Problems to be Addressed
The challenge my company will be addressing is the amount of pollution caused by nonbiodegradable plastics in the Yangtze River in Shanghai, China. Also, with the efforts of the company’s research we seek to find a method to reducing the country’s amount of CO2 and nitrogen dioxide emissions which are caused by the production and incineration of non-biodegradable waste materials.
1. Reduce the amount of plastic use for consumption and entertainment purposes.
2. Protecting the Earth limited natural resources.
3. Educating individuals of current environmental concerns while introducing the solution.
4. Introducing a new life cycle for plastic products.
We chose the area of Shanghai because it was one of the metropolitan areas near the Yangtze river that has the highest population and is affected by the pollution of the Yangtze River.
In our exploratory research stage, we will be formulating different materials for the foundation of our biodegradable products. In this stage we are testing the durability and flexibility of natural products such as soy, sugar cane, and rice husk. The more promising ingredient of the three was the rice husk given that it can be commercially grown in China in abundance and during most agricultural harvest seasons farmers burn the remains of these crops for the next season which inadvertently releases nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons and soot into the atmosphere. Some crops grown in China include: Rice husk, Peanut shells, and corn husks. Once a consistent material compound is formulated, we plan to then take the remaining rice husks from the season and add it along with other properties and materials, as per the formula, and compress them into common plastic cutlery such as plates, spoons, bowls and to-go containers. The goal is to produce a material that will be both strong and supportive with the added benefit of being effectively biodegradable.
We hope to integrate our products with local coffee shops and dinning establishments to work out any inefficiencies with our products. After we have established a consistent product and have generated a steady stream of consumer interest, we plan to partner with popular fast food chains in the Shanghai area. In doing so we hope to gain popularity while connecting with partners dedicated to assisting us in our goal to reduce the existing economical damage done to the Shanghai area and the Yangtze river.
We are hoping to see a significant change in the environment or in the water levels in the Yangtze river after two years of integrating our products within the community.
We plan to expand our services in the future beyond biodegradable utensils and plates into more advance fields such as
EXPECTED OUTCOMES, SIGNIFICANT OR RATIONAL
This project is crucial because it is saving and preserving natural resources while deviating from dependency of fossil fuels. One of the ecological benefits is the protection of our marine and aquatic life in rural and coastal areas. The main focus of Servin’ It Up is to creatively solve the long term dilemma caused by years of overproducing hazardous waste items with a solution that gives back to the environment. Our expected outcome is to cut back on waste materials that do not properly decompose and focus on producing materials that can benefit the environment while serving its key purpose. We are hoping to achieve and prove this by partnering with the Natural Marine researchers at the Xiamen Natural Ocean Park.
Other Ecosystem Goods, Services ; Livelihoods
• Income Generation
Potentially my business proposal can reduce the production costs of plastic across multiple markets. More importantly, with my high biodegradable and ecofriendly waste products the high labor costs of recycling plants can be significantly reduced.
• AICHI Target 1
“Practical efforts will be made in environmental education and communication, popularizing environmental knowledge and increasing public environmental awareness.”
“By 2030, biodiversity conservation will become voluntary action of the public”
• AICHI Target 4
. “Efforts will be made to promote spatial layouts, industrial structure, production and consumption patterns and lifestyles that promote green, recycling and low-carbon development, natural resources conservation and the environmental protection.”
Servin’ It Up will be funded by grants such as the Mitchell Kapor Foundation grant, which supports local small green businesses and the National Capital Investment Foundation (NCIF) also provides loans and grants to business. The NCIF concentrates with providing financial loans to common lenders that commonly do not qualify for loans in small rural areas that needs the economic boost to promote successful growth. Small Business Innovation Research Program
(SBIR) reaches out to small and starter businesses that exhibit commercial potential and are seriously engaged in research and development. The SBIR aims to stimulate technological innovation and scientific entrepreneurship. The program offers supporting research and funding grants which start at $150,000 up to one million dollars.Lastly, environmental loans from self-help credit unions. With the incoming profits Servin’ It Up will donate 15% of its profits to other small businesses, envriomental research for global climate change and nonprofit organizations.
PARTICIPATION AND EQUITY
Servin’ It Up Intends on partnering with local Coffee shops and fast food restaurants to incorporate biodegradable products to promote a greater impact on the community and environment. We plan to further our business by also partnering with larger companies such as Starbucks, Dairy Queen and Häagen-Dazs. To solidify the partnership with these companies I plan to integrate my products to some of the establishments that are sponsored by their outreach programs within the local community. These establishments can be schools, local community centers, etc.
Our fundamental research is set to take approximately 3 years to slit our proposed production agenda. The estimated expected time for data collection is about 1-5 Years in a high populated metropolitan area such as shanghai while using the Yangtze River as our control for or research location. The data we are collecting will be based on two principals one being that the company would be comparing the amount of pollution monthly and total the results annually on the Yangtze River and the consumers use of our products and the environmental impact. For company location would be in Shanghai for close observation and distribution purposes. As far as manufacturing and warehousing it will take approximately 2-3 years having met all the International Labor Organization (ILO) requirements and the appropriate funding. In total our time frame is about 5-15 ye¬¬ars.
1. “China – National Targets.” Convention on Biological Diversity, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 18 Dec. 2018, www.cbd.int/countries/targets/?country=cn.
2. Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) – “Plastic Pollution”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution’ Online Resource
3. mpatlas.org. MPAtlas » North Shore, www.mpatlas.org/mpa/sites/68808254/.
4. Hays, Jeffrey. “WATER POLLUTION IN CHINA.” Facts and Details, factsanddetails.com/china/cat10/sub66/item391.html.