Restore Foodware

FAQ

What is AirCarbon®?

AirCarbon® is a meltable energy storage material called PHB made by natural microorganisms found in the ocean.  PHB developed evolutionarily as an energy and carbon reserve material in living organisms, from trees to humans: that is, as a material that can be used like food by living organisms to release energy and carbon to stay alive and thrive.

Every day, microorganisms in the ocean take air and carbon from greenhouse gas dissolved in saltwater and turn it into a molecule called PHB inside of their cells.  We figured out, over the course of seventeen years, how to replicate the process that occurs in the ocean and make PHB on land.  To do this, we create conditions like the ocean in a large tank filled with saltwater, and feed natural microorganisms from the ocean the same nutrients they use in the ocean—salts, air, and carbon from greenhouse gas, such as methane and carbon dioxide—using renewable power. The net result: a biomaterial we call AirCarbon®. 

No, AirCarbon uses no GMOs or food crops; the microorganisms used to make AirCarbon are naturally-occurring microorganisms from the ocean that consume air and carbon from greenhouse gas, and no food crops are used in its production.  We can use both methane and carbon dioxide as our greenhouse gas source, but because methane traps 23 times more heat than carbon dioxide, we prefer to use sustainable sources of methane.  Over the years, we have used methane from dairy farm digesters and food waste digesters, as well as carbon dioxide from ethanol plants.  Today, we buy renewable power from the power grid, and similarly we contract with an operator capturing methane emissions from an abandoned coal mine system, who captures the methane emissions, separates them from other gases, and injects them into the natural gas grid, by which they are then contractually delivered to us.  We like this approach for both renewable power and sustainable methane delivery because it leverages existing scalable infrastructur

In the same way that the production of PHB in nature is a carbon-negative process, by using renewable power and biological carbon sequestration to make it, the carbon footprint of AirCarbon is -88 kg CO2e per kg AirCarbon on a cradle-to-gate basis, according to Carbon Trust (per PAS 2050: 2008/2011): a material wherein more carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas (CO2e) is sequestered or destroyed than generated to make it, reversing the flow of CO2e out of the environment. 

Similarly, the carbon footprint of Restore® AirCarbon straws is approximately -30 grams CO2e per straw on a cradle-to-grave basis per SCS Global Services (per ISO 14044-2006), accounting for a global average of end-of-life pathways (a combination of composting, landfill, and combustion), resulting in net carbon benefit.

Yes, AirCarbon is FDA food contact approved.

AirCarbon is a food source for natural microorganisms in the environment, so if it ends up in the ocean, microorganisms eat it and turn it into biomass, water, and carbon dioxide.

While AirCarbon is an FDA food contact approved material and PHB is found in almost all living things, including the human body, AirCarbon is not intended for consumption as food.  We have not yet tested AirCarbon to ascertain how safe it is to eat, and because Restore products are designed to be rigid, we do not recommend eating the foodware.

Please no!  Even though they will degrade in the ocean, we do not want to throw anything into our precious oceans.  Please either reuse or dispose of all products responsibly through the proper channels.  Ideally, Restore AirCarbon products will be reused, recycled, digested, or composted on land, and never reach the ocean.

If something is industrially compostable, it means that it will degrade in an industrial compost facility according to the specifications of a degradation test called ASTM D6400 that requires 90% biodegradation in 180 days—there are a limited number of industrial compost facilities in the U.S., so check your local availability.  Industrial composting is uniquely hot, so while it is better than nothing, it does not represent what happens in nature, where temperatures are generally much cooler.  To call something ocean-degradable, the ASTM D6691 and D7081 standard requires that something degrade in actual ocean water at a rate that matches or exceeds the degradation of cellulose over 180 days, which AirCarbon does.

The most widely used test for ocean degradability in the United States is called ASTM D6691 and D7081, where the degradation speed of AirCarbon is compared to that of synthetic plastic (high density polyethylene) and cellulose (cellulose is 90-99% of paper).  In this test, plastic of course does not biodegrade, but cellulose biodegrades 30% after 180 days; in the work conducted by the Chico State Foundation, AirCarbon degraded at a slightly faster rate than cellulose, in large part because it is a food source for microorganisms.

Yes, AirCarbon remains strong and intact even at water-boiling temperatures, meaning it can be used for hot and cold drinks and foods, and is dishwasher safe—that makes it reusable, so it doesn’t have to be thrown away.

Water doesn’t break down AirCarbon; rather, AirCarbon breaks down when microorganisms eat it as food.  In a dishwasher, a smoothie, or a kitchen, the conditions to support microorganisms that could eat AirCarbon don’t exist.  However, in the ocean, there is continuous exposure to water and nutrients, so microorganisms can eat it like food.  Thus, AirCarbon stays strong and keeps its shape while in use, but if it ends up in an industrial compost or the ocean, it is industrially compostable and ocean biodegradable.

AirCarbon is made by sequestering and destroying sustainable methane, and methane traps 23 times more heat than carbon dioxide; so, when AirCarbon degrades, and it turns into water and carbon dioxide, the net score (for illustrative purposes) is = -23 (methane) +1 (carbon dioxide) = -22 (total).  In other words, while the math is a bit more complicated than that, the production and ocean biodegradation of AirCarbon has converted methane into carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent, in this example, of pulling 22 carbon dioxide equivalents out of the air: a net carbon-negative process.  The carbon footprint of Restore products include all steps from production through packaging and globally averaged end-of-life disposal pathways.

AirCarbon sinks in water.  Why does this matter?  Because synthetic plastic, like polypropylene and polyethylene, floats on the surface of the water, where it is likely to be mistaken for food and eaten by birds, fish, and dolphins.  Since AirCarbon is heavier than water, it eventually sinks in water, which helps reduce the chance that it will get mistaken for food by birds or fish.

AirCarbon is dishwasher safe, making it reusable, so it doesn’t have to go into the trash; it is also anaerobically digestible, so if it must get thrown away, it can go to an anaerobic digester for on-land decomposition instead of a landfill.  That means AirCarbon doesn’t have to end up in the trash or the ocean.  However, if it does end up in the ocean, AirCarbon sinks in water, so it is less likely to get mistaken as food.  At the end of the day, AirCarbon is PHB, and PHB is made in the ocean as a food source, so microorganisms in the ocean recognize it as food and biologically degrade it as fast as cellulose--putting AirCarbon roughly on par with tree leaves.  There is still a chance that a turtle could eat it, but that chance is far less likely compared to an indestructible single-use plastic straw floating on the surface of the ocean that will never go away.

We think solutions that are built from common ground—the places where we agree—are the most scalable and enduring.  Our goal is to prevent single-use products from ending up in the ocean by creating products that are dishwasher safe and do not have to be thrown away.  However, we also recognize that consumers at times highly value single-use items because they are hygienic, convenient, and cost effective.  So, while we provide a reusable product that does not need to be thrown away, we also provide a product that is ocean-degradable, so that if it does get thrown away, it will degrade as fast as cellulose.

Less bad is good, but it is not enough: we also need to go in the other direction and start to restore the environment back to its healthy state.  AirCarbon is made using a naturally carbon-negative, regenerative process found in nature, taking carbon from greenhouse gas and turning it into something beautiful that acts as a net carbon sink.  AirCarbon foodware is carbon-negative on a cradle-to-grave basis, reversing the flow of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas out of the air.We cannot address ocean health by only tackling plastic pollution; it is imperative that we also reduce the amount of rising carbon in the air and heat in the water.  AirCarbon foodware is carbon-negative on a cradle-to-grave basis, reversing the flow of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas out of the air.

PLA is not a naturally-occurring material, so when it ends up in most natural environments, nature doesn’t recognize it, and cannot degrade it.  PLA is not ocean-degradable or home-compostable. AirCarbon is PHB, and PHB is a naturally-occurring material.  If PHB ends up in natural environments, nature recognizes it as a food source, and consumes it as such.  In addition, PLA has limited heat tolerance and often cannot be used with hot drinks and foods unless specially processed to do so; in contrast, AirCarbon is heat-tolerant, dishwasher safe, non-GMO, non-food crop, and able to be used in hot drinks and foods.

AirCarbon can be used in hot and cold temperatures, is dishwasher safe, uses no GMOs, uses no food crops, does not require blending with other synthetic polymers, and has a net negative carbon footprint: to our knowledge, whereas AirCarbon foodware can meet all of these criteria, other sustainable foodware cannot.

Paper straws get soggy and lose their functionality mid-drink, and are therefore not a scalable solution to the problem they aim to solve.  They are also often made using synthetic glues which do not necessarily biodegrade. To fix things on a global scale, we need solutions that work for both people and the planet.

PLA does not exist in nature, so if it ends up in nature—except in an industrial compost facility—it does not go away any faster than normal plastic: in the ocean, it will degrade about as slowly as other synthetic plastics.

AirCarbon doesn’t degrade just from water—rather, it breaks down biologically over time, so it takes a few weeks of continuously sitting in water or soil with nutrients before decomposition will begin.  So, unless that’s what you were thinking of doing, no, it most certainly will not biodegrade in your drink—hot or cold, sunny of cloudy, it will be solid from start to finish.

The best way to dispose AirCarbon products is not to dispose them at all: they are dishwasher safe, so ideally you keep them safe and reuse them over and over.  If you do decide to part ways, right now, the best thing to do is to dispose them in the same way you would dispose food.  Restore’s AirCarbon straws can be melted, so technically they can be re-processed; however, current recycling systems are not designed to identify and separate AirCarbon from the various materials that are used in the world today.

There was a day, a long time ago, when there were no plastics in the ocean, and the idea that man could ever add more plastic to the ocean than fish seemed impossibly far-fetched.  Today, we are on track to see that nightmare become reality if we stay on our current pace.  But in the same way that the problem started with one person, and a group of individuals, so too can the problem be ended: by individual acts, removing one straw, one fork, one knife from the flow of synthetic plastics into the ocean at a time—Restore foodware can help do that.  And not just prevent the flow of additional plastic into the ocean, but also remove carbon from the air and water.  Oceans are being destroyed by both plastic pollution and climate change, with over 25% of the world’s reefs destroyed by warming water over the past 50 years, and an estimated 50% of all reefs expected to be dead by 2050 on our current pace.  Even though individual pieces of foodware are small by themselves, together, they add up.  We believe that with enough momentum, by growing our production capacity to over 20 billion pounds per year (our target = the amount of plastic currently flowing into the ocean today), we can use AirCarbon to help solve climate change and the accumulation of synthetic plastic in the ocean.

Order Details

There are three different shipping options to choose from at checkout.  We offer: “standard” shipping, which takes 3-7 days to arrive; “expedited” shipping, which takes 2-3 days to arrive; and lastly “overnight” shipping, which will arrive next day if the order is placed before 1:00 pm PST.  There is a 24-hour order processing time for each order to allow for payment, picking, packing, and other things we do to prepare your order!  If your order is delayed, we will do our best to update you along the way.

For 24 hours after your purchase, you have the option to go into your order details and select “edit” or “cancel”.  Beyond 24 hours, our fulfillment team will have your order picked, packed, and sent off to your delivery address, so we will not be able to offer cancellations or edits beyond that.  If you would like to start a return, please refer to the “Returns” area of this FAQ list.

You should receive an order confirmation immediately after completing your purchase.  Roughly 24 hours after purchase confirmation, you should receive a shipping confirmation that your order has shipped, with a projected delivery date.  If you have not received one or either after the appropriate times, please reach out to hello@restorefoodware.com with your order number.

Currently, we ship to all 50 states in the United States.

At this time, we are not offering international shipping.  However, we hope to start shipping internationally soon.

At checkout, you will see our three different shipping options.  If you would like to ensure your product is delivered by a certain date, please select the corresponding shipping method.  In addition, if you’d like to change your shipping method after initial selection, you have 24 hours after placing an order to edit your order and select a different shipping method.  Currently, our fastest shipping method is FedEx Overnight, which will arrive next day. 

Currently, we offer our customers three different options for shipping rates.  Our standard shipping option is free and will arrive to you 3-7 days after shipping confirmation.  Our expedited shipping is $5 and will arrive to you 2-3 days after shipping confirmation.  Lastly, our overnight shipping is $20 and will arrive to you next day if placed before 1:00 pm PST.

Returns and Exchanges

Due to Health and Safety concerns, we have a “No Returns” policy once the Product has left the custody of Newlight Technologies, Inc. / Restore Foodware. The only exception to this policy is where a claim is made for a defect in materials or workmanship. To be eligible for a return, your item must be in the same condition that you received it, unused and in its original packaging with proof of defectiveness. You’ll also need the receipt or proof of purchase.

To be eligible for a return, your item must be in the same condition that you received it: unused, and in its original packaging.  You’ll also need the receipt or proof of purchase.  To start a return, you can contact us at hello@restorefoodware.com.  If your return is accepted, we’ll send you a return shipping label, as well as instructions on how and where to send your package.  Items sent back to us without first requesting a return will not be accepted.  You can always contact us for any return question at hello@restorefoodware.com.

Please allow up to 30 days to process your return. We need to receive the order, check the condition and process your refund to your original payment type. If you have not received your refund after 30 days, please reach out to hello@restorefoodware.com.

Payment & Account

Currently, we accept the follow credit card providers: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diners Club, Shop Pay, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.

When prompted at Checkout, press “Log In.”  This will take you to the login page where you can select “forgot password”—this is the easiest way to change your password.  A link will be sent to your email address with instructions on how to then change your password.

To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences, please click and follow the “unsubscribe” or “change email preferences” links at the bottom of any of our emails.

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