The Clean Water Blog

Kate and Otto Triggiano

Introducing Kate Triggiano, our new Rethink Disposable Coordinator!

Hello! My name is Kate Triggiano and I am the new Rethink Disposable Coordinator for Clean Water Action's ReThink Disposable program in New Jersey! Rethink Disposable's goal is to minimize the use of single use products: from shopping bags and food and beverage packaging, to plastic straws and water bottles. ReThink Disposable assists businesses by helping them reduce their dependency on single use disposables, while saving money through lower waste collection and supply costs.

Single-use products are the main source of trash in inland and ocean waters. They deplete natural resources and contribute huge quantities of greenhouse gases and pollution to the environment. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. We are working to ReThink Disposable by:

  • Ending the use of plastic bags and foam food containers at the state and local levels
  • Reducing single-use food and beverage packaging used in food service
  • Promoting reusables for "to-go" coffee

As vice chair of my town's Environmental Commission, I was frustrated with the amount of waste being created by the restaurants in our area. As someone who has worked in the restaurant industry, I've seen the positive impact of reusables. When ReThink Disposable came to New Jersey, I knew I wanted to throw myself into the effort. Having the proper tools to spread environmental information to businesses is essential and the ReThink Disposable program is thorough and proven successful.

To kick off ReThink efforts in our area, we launched a "Straws by Request Only" program in partnership with the Asbury Boardwalk and participating restaurants. Restaurants participating in the program will provide straws to customers by request only. The program began Memorial Day Weekend and has since expanded to include restaurants in Ocean Grove and Red Bank. The U.S. consumes 500 million straws a day, an amount that could circle the planet more than two-and-a-half times.

We are currently in the process of assisting multiple businesses in Asbury Park, Red Bank, and Ocean Grove in achieving ReThink Disposable Certification. ReThink Disposable is true to it's name and mission. The current system is not working. Pollution and waste are out of control. Recycling is a step in the right direction, but it is not the end all solution. ReThink asks us all to take a step back, to rethink our actions, and to treat our daily consumption with the seriousness it deserves. To get involved in the program, please contact me at 732-963-9714 or ktriggiano@cleanwater.org.

Kate Triggiano lives in Red Bank with her husband David, their son Otto, a bird, two dogs, fish, and a hamster. Kate is the vice chair of the Red Bank Environmental Commission, Outreach Director of The Bus For Progress, and Co chair of the Monmouth County Young Progressives Committee. Kate's passion for environmental protection and justice stems from the belief that we are all in this together. "Without a healthy planet, what do we have? How can we continue to work toward racial, economic, and social justice if we do not have clean air, clean water, and communities safe from climate change?"