This year at the TCS New York City Marathon, Full Circle is donating 45,000 cool-down sponges at Mile 17. For the first time in marathon history, the cool-down sponges will be cellulose and completely compostable.
In marathons past, the cool-down sponges have been made of plastic, leaving a trail of plastic waste in the runner’s wake. When our CEO, Tal Chitayat, first ran the 26.2 miles, he was appalled at the sheer volume of sponges.
“It was just block after block of green carpeting made out of these sponges,” Chitayat said. “That’s 45,000 plastic sponges being used for maybe three seconds before ending up in a landfill.”
This moment is what inspired our Start With A Sponge campaign.
Walk into a crowded coffee shop or busy restaurant today and ask for a straw, you might receive some looks and whispers. The effort to reduce plastic straws (in order to save our oceans) has ignited a phenomenon to transform how we look at throwaway culture. While not every corporation, restaurant, and household has done away with single-use products such as plastic straws, Styrofoam cups, and the trusty plastic grocery bag, society is taking a second look at consumption. Because an exorbitant amount of waste is thrown out at your favorite restaurant or grocery store, it’s easy to forget about your personal habits, even if they’re some of the easiest to address.
In the US alone, roughly 400 million sponges are tossed away every year, the majority of which are plastic – these take centuries to break down and are often treated with antimicrobial chemicals that leach into our water, soil, and bodies. The result is flagrant waste, pollution, and irreparable environmental damage that could easily be prevented with one tiny change in habit.
Join Full Circle and #StartWithASponge by swapping a plastic cleaning sponge for a natural cellulose cleaning sponge, which is plant-based and equally hard-working. Without sacrificing functionality, swapping your sponge allows you to change your impact without changing your behavior.
We’re not stopping at the NYC Marathon. The event will kick off a marathon of its own for Full Circle as the #StartWithASponge campaign will extend through the end of the year – asking consumers to take a pledge, receive a pledge kit in the mail, and call on others to do the same on social media. While we ask you to quite literally #StartWithASponge, we don’t want you to stop there.
The pledge kit will include the tools and knowledge to start creating positive change in your everyday life beyond swapping out your sponge, making the #StartWithASponge campaign the first step of many.
Head over to www.startwithasponge.com to get involved!