Friday Five with Tal Chitayat of Full Circle Home

Taiwan-born Tal Chitayat, co-founder and CEO of Full Circle Home, grew up in a country that produced plastic by the ton. He made it his mission to create better designed products that help eliminate single-use plastics in our lives, which was the impetus in co-founding Full Circle. Chitayat refers to it as “function without compromise,” and strives to create an intersection of beauty, function, affordability, and sustainability. They now share space with Soma, a hydration brand that mirrors Tal’s same values – that there’s a higher level of what a green or sustainable product needs to do to convince people it’s better than its traditional plastic counterpart. In this week’s Friday Five Tal shares a few of his favorite things with us.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Cribb

1. Running
For me, running is therapy. It’s how I decompress, de-stress, and process all that is going on in work, life, family, and the world. I never listen to music while I run. I either take out my earphones, or if I really need to escape, I listen to podcasts (mostly NPR, cliché I know…). I think New York City is one of the best places to run. You always have a new route to take, a small park to discover, or a neighborhood to explore. And unless you bike, run or walk (a lot!), it’s hard to really see all that this city has to offer.

Photo courtesy of Mykhailo Shcherbyna

2. The New York Times
While I read the news and current events from a range of sources, The New York Times is what I wake up with, what I take the train with, what I read while I eat lunch, and what I read right before I go to bed. I find that The New York Times has the widest breadth in coverage – ranging from the arts, to business. While I love physically having the paper made from paper, we have tried to cut the physical version in seeking the less environmentally impactful option, so I’ve been reading via The New York Times app.

Photo courtesy of Soma

3. Swimming Class with my Daughter
My daughter just turned one in March, so being a dad is still relatively new and I’m still getting used to being one. But I cherish every moment that I can be with her, which is not so easy with a busy work schedule at Full Circle and Soma. Sunday swim class at the YMCA is our time to be together. It’s such a new experience for her and something that she loves (so far). I love seeing how much she can learn and grow from week to week. It’s awesome.

Photo courtesy of Lavi Perchik

4. Coffee
When we started designing for and working in the coffee space with Soma, it required learning so much about the craft coffee world. Not just how important it is to know where your coffee beans come from (it really is), but learning so much more about how much of a difference it makes to have fresh roasted beans, ground to just the right size, right before you make that one cup. Right now I am a big fan of two Fair Trade brands – Allegro Coffee and Stumptown. I love bringing my Soma Ceramic Mug to their shops as a reusable cup. It’s a great way to reduce waste. Plus, it’s ceramic and has a nice aesthetic – what’s not to like?

5. Korean Corn Snacks
My wife and I are trying very hard to remove any and all unnecessary plastic usage and purchasing from our lives – whether single use plastics, plastic packaging, plastic produce bags at a grocery store, or any plastic product we use in our daily routine. It’s a constant challenge, and one that takes sacrificing things you may have become so used to over the years. While I can do it for the most part without a second thought, I have one serious (and strange) addiction that comes in plastic packaging…. and that is Lotte Original Flavor Corn Snacks. It’s a weird addiction, and I leave these now for select occasions when I feel they are well deserved. We aren’t perfect – I am the first to admit that!

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.