7 out of 10 Filipinos favor a national single-use plastics ban, survey reveals

7 out of 10 Filipinos favor a national single-use plastics ban, survey reveals

Bells rings for a national single-use plastic ban.  Recent SWS survey says that 7 out of 10 Filipinos favor national SUP ban at all times.  This call is echoed by green groups Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific, Break Free From Plastic, and Ecowaste Coalition.

MANILA, Philippines (January 21 2020) — Filipinos favor banning single-use plastics. That is according to a recent survey commissioned by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) which highlights the Filipino people’s strong support for a national ban on single-use plastics (SUPs).

The nationwide survey showed that seven out of 10 Filipinos feel that the best thing to do with SUPs is to ban their use at all times.  Topping the list of materials that should be regulated or used less nationally is sando bags (71%), followed by plastic straws and stirrers (66%), plastic labo bags (65%), styrofoam or polystyrene food containers (64%), sachets (60%), Tetra pack or doy pack for juices (59%), plastic drinking cups (56%), cutlery such as plastic spoons and forks (54%), Plastic bottles for juice (49%), and Plastic bottles for water (41%).

In addition, 6 out of 10 said they are willing to buy their food condiments in recyclable or refillable containers instead of sachets while 4 out of 10 feel that companies should find alternative materials to plastic.

“The message to political leaders and business is clear: Filipinos reject single-use plastics. By supporting a ban on SUPs, the Filipino consumer is also sending a message to the plastic industry and manufacturers that plastic pollution and throwaway systems are no longer acceptable,” said Beau Baconguis, Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) Asia Pacific Coordinator.

More than a hundred and twenty countries have already instituted regulatory measures such as bans, levies, charges, and others, aimed at reducing the production and consumption of SUPs. The most recent SUP regulations were by Bangladesh, Thailand, and China, the Indian state of Kerala and the Indonesian City of Jakarta.

Further, according to the same survey, 71% of Filipinos want to ban the use of plastic at all times while 10% feel there is a need to ask the user of plastic to pay higher.

single-use plastics ban

“The results of the survey puts into question the common excuse from the  the big companies that sachets are pro-poor,” said Froilan Grate, GAIA Philippines Executive Director.  According to the survey, those who are willing to buy their food condiments in recyclables and refillables and those who feel that plastic must be regulated or be used less nationally is highest in Class E at 73%.  “Sachets and other SUPs are not pro-poor. People buy in sachets because an alternative distribution or packaging systems are not being made available by multinational companies.”

For Patricia Nicdao, Ecowaste Coalition Policy and Advocacy Officer, the Philippines urgently needs a law that will ban single-use plastics at the national level. “We have to act now. The people have spoken. The government needs to pass a  law banning single-use plastics. We cannot afford any more excuses and delays!”, Nicdao said.

During the press briefing, GAIA also released a policy brief titled “Regulating Single-use Plastics in the Philippines: Opportunities to Move Forward” which outlines recommendations for the Philippine government in tackling the plastic pollution crisis. Among key policy recommendations are the following:

  • Pass a national ban on the production, sale, distribution, and use of sando and labo bags and other SUPs with phaseout schedule

  • Phase out sachets in favor of reuse and refill systems for product distribution within three years.

  • Establish a program that demands greater responsibility from companies manufacturing and using plastic, by determining their obligations and targets, as well as offering incentives to reduce plastic.


Despite being hailed as one of the world’s most progressive laws on waste management, the implementation of the 19-year old law R.A. 90003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001 has suffered from a lack of political will and contradicting policies from government agencies involved in waste and resource management.

“We hope that the Philippine government seriously take the public sentiment on single-use plastics. As shown in the results of the survey, plastic pollution is an important issue for Filipino consumers. They are willing to sacrifice convenience and are already looking into refill options and other alternative systems. They expect our government leaders to address the plastic pollution crisis and go beyond lip service by banning single-use plastics in the whole country, ” Grate said. //ends


Notes to Editors:

  1. Link to GAIA’s policy brief here: www.no-burn.org/PolicyBriefSUP2020


Notes from the SWS survey:

  • The survey conducted from September 27 to 30 last year used face-to-face interviews of 1,800 adults nationwide.

  • When asked about what the companies that are responsible for single-use plastics (SUPs) should do in order to help lessen plastic waste in the Philippines, plurality (41%) of adult Filipinos answered use/find alternative materials to plastic.  Other responses are: buy/collect plastics and recycle (23%), ban/stop selling/production of plastics (14%), reduce the usage/selling/production of plastics (12%), and conduct seminars/observe proper waste management (4%). Five percent comprised other responses and 9% say none/no answer/don’t know/refused.

  • The Third Quarter 2019 Social Weather Stations, asked about the products that one would be willing to buy in recyclable or refillable container instead of sachet. The top three responses are: food condiments such as oil, soy sauce, vinegar, etc. (68%), personal care products like shampoo and conditioner (42%), and household cleaning products like dishwashing liquid,  liquid detergent, fabric conditioner (42%). Other responses are: powdered drinks like coffee and juices (29%) and household cleaning products like powder laundry detergents (27%). Meanwhile, 0.1% say none and 0.4% had no answer.

  • When asked about the materials that should be regulated or be used less nationally, majority (71%) of adult Filipinos answered plastic sando bags.  Other responses are: Styrofoam or polystyrene food containers (56%), plastic ”labo” bags (54%), plastic straws and stirrers (52%), sachets (50%), plastic drinking cups (43%), cutlery such as plastic spoon and forks (41%), tetra pack or doy pack for juice (37%), plastic bottles for water (32%), and plastic bottles for juice (32%). One percent say none/no answer/don’t know/refused.


About GAIA – Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries whose ultimate vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration. www.no-burn.org

Plastic Bags Ban in Jakarta: Pro-Environment Policy Awakens Community Optimism Towards Earth-Saving Efforts

Plastic Bags Ban in Jakarta: Pro-Environment Policy Awakens Community Optimism Towards Earth-Saving Efforts

Jakarta (January 10, 2020). The Governor of Jakarta Province, Anies Baswedan, has just issued Regulation of the Governor of Jakarta Province Number 142 of 2019 concerning Obligations to Use Environmentally Friendly Shopping Bags at Shopping Centers, Supermarkets, and Traditional Markets. The long-awaited regulation has been welcomed by the people of Jakarta Province, as news of its preparation had been circulating for more than one year. This regulation adds to the long list of provinces and regencies/cities in Indonesia that have banned the use of plastic bags, beginning with the city of Banjarmasin in 2016 followed by other regions, including the city of Bandung and the province of Bali which have also issued a similar regulation.

“The movement to phase out plastic bags that began almost 10 years ago in Indonesia is starting to show tangible, at-scale results. We are thrilled that early successes with a plastic bag charge trial in 2016 showed retailers and cities that it is possible to reduce dependency on single use plastics, and that snowball is still rolling thanks to a persistent civil society movement” said Tiza Mafira, as Executive Director of the Indonesian Movement for Plastic Bags Diet (GIDKP). “We at GIDKP appreciate the concrete steps taken by the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government to ban plastic bags, one of the worst culprits of plastic pollution in Indonesia’s rivers. We hope that these regulations are strictly enforced and the people of Jakarta pitch in to making it a success,” added Tiza.

A similar expression was also conveyed by D. Yuvlinda Susanta, Head of Corporate Communications and Sustainability of PT Lion Super Indo, “We greatly appreciate the substance of the regulation that accommodates the application of incentives and sanctions. We also appreciate that this regulation applies equally to supermarkets and public markets. ” Super Indo is one of the supermarkets that has more than 10 years of implementing plastic bag reduction efforts and is the only supermarket that has continued to implement non-free plastic bags since it was tested nationally in 2016.

Appreciation was also conveyed by one of the leading beauty and body care product stores, The Body Shop Indonesia, which has also been campaigning for the reduction of plastic bags since 2013. “The Body Shop and I feel happy and appreciate that the Jakarta Province finally realized the dangers of plastic bags for our environment and took action. Since 2013, The Body Shop and its customers have always supported various movements and petitions for the #Pay4Plastic campaign, which led to the adoption of a plastic bag charge trial in 2016, as well as Jakarta’s efforts to mandate the use environmentally friendly shopping bags since early 2019. Congratulations for Jakarta, which has finally officially banned the use of plastic bags. Hopefully in the future there will be a policy to ban other disposable plastics such as plastic straws and styrofoam, which have been banned in Bali. We hope the same for other regions in Indonesia,” said Suzy Hutomo, Executive Chairwoman of The Body Shop Indonesia.

A similar tone was conveyed by fellow civil society groups who are members of the Alliance  of Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI). AZWI leads a campaign in efforts to reduce single use plastic waste, namely “Ban the Big 5”, which consists of plastic bags, polystyrene foam, straws, sachets, and microbeads.

“Nexus3 welcomes the new regulations issued by the Jakarta Governor regarding the ban on disposable plastic bags.  This regulation will help reduce the release of toxic additives in plastics into the environment. Let’s watch together and monitor the implementation!”, said Yuyun Ismawati Drwiega, Senior Advisor of the Nexus3 Foundation.

“Based on data on brand audits conducted by Greenpeace in Indonesia in 2019, plastic bags are one of the most common types of waste with a finding of 1,503 items or 11% of the total waste being audited. In other words, the ban on plastic bags has indeed been urged to be implemented so that it can reduce the waste production that we produce,” said Muharram Atha Rasyadi, Urban Campaigner Greenpeace Indonesia.

“Only about 20-30% of urban solid waste cannot be recycled and must be transported to landfills. If this policy is accompanied by the application of sorting and recycling of organic and inorganic waste, only a small amount of waste remains to be sent to the landfill site. Thus, the Jakarta Province can soon be free of dependence on landfill, and will not need expensive and polluting incinerators,” said David Sutasurya, Executive Director of YPBB Bandung.

The impetus for the issuance of regulations on the prohibition of disposable plastics, especially plastic bags in Jakarta Province, is also one of the demands echoed by the Plastic Free Parade in July 2019, a peaceful march attended by thousands and supported by 49 civil society groups including GIDKP, Greenpeace Indonesia, Indorelawan, Divers Clean Action, Pandu Laut, Pulau Plastik and others. Initiators of the march expressed appreciation for the new regulation.

“We see the enthusiasm of volunteers increasing on environmental issues, especially the problem of plastic waste. Several times we collaborated with environmental organizations to make various activities on the issue, ranging from workshops, discussions to campaigns on social media. As a result, many young people want to take the role to be involved. This means they have been moved and want to learn more about plastic issues,” said Marsya Nurmaranti, Executive Director of Indorelawan.

“The majority of inorganic waste found from our research in coastal areas in 2019 is disposable plastic waste that is still difficult to recycle. The disposable plastic waste referred to is plastic bags, polystyrene foam, sachets, straws and bottled drinking water. Waste that pollutes the ocean can come from human activities in urban areas, where the waste is thrown away or thrown into the river and ends up at sea. This regulation should have a positive impact. If we close the source of waste, it is hoped that it will reduce the leakage of waste into our oceans,” said Swietenia Puspa Lestari, Executive Director of DIvers Clean Action.

“The ban on plastic bags in Jakarta is a big step in creating a cleaner and healthier Jakarta Province. The snowball effect of this kind of action will drive a positive impact, not only on the problem of municipal waste disposal, but also in providing better air and water quality. A cleaner Jakarta means healthier Jakartans and creates a positive impact on lifestyle and economy,” said Wijaya Surya, the initiator of the Jakarta Beach Clean Up Community.

The scope of this regulation is the obligation to use environmentally friendly shopping bags that have adequate thickness and are designed to be reused. Retailers must stop providing single-use plastic shopping bags, and the use of single-use plastic packaging for food  wrapping should be limited. This regulation applies to supermarkets, shop owners in shopping malls and traditional markets. Incentives will be given to those who perform well in complying with regulations and sanctions for those who do not comply.

Support from various civil society and business sectors above are a strong evidence that enforcement of regulations prohibiting plastic bags in Jakarta Province can be carried out for the creation of an environment free from plastic pollution. It is expected that this regulation will contribute to achieving the national target of 30% waste reduction by 2025 and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030.

Contact Persons:
Rahyang Nusantara – National Coordinator of Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement
+628122096791 – rahyang@dietkantongplastik.info

Green groups question Government’s sinister moves to lift the ban on incineration

Green groups question Government’s sinister moves to lift the ban on incineration

(Quezon City, Philippines, December 16, 2019)—Environment groups today lambasted the Philippine government’s moves to lift the anti-incineration provisions of the Clean Air Act and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. On November 13, the bills amending these laws  passed at the committee level in Congress to make way for thermal waste-to-energy facilities, which are essentially still incinerators.  Also recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued guidelines for the establishment and operation of waste-to-energy facilities, in violation of the country’s incineration ban.

“The Philippine Clean Air Act and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act have been praised among environmental circles worldwide for their zero waste vision as well as the anti-incineration provisions. It is unfortunate that it is our government bodies who are mandated to protect the environment and the Filipino people from harm who are the purveyors of these dirty technologies,”  said Froilan Grate, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Philippines Executive Director. “Although there is a complete ban on incineration, it has not deterred the DENR, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to push for waste incinerators in the guise of waste-to-energy projects,” Grate added.  Currently, there are WtE incinerator proposals in Quezon City, Davao, Cebu, Pampanga, and other provinces in the country, most of them set to be operational by 2020.

Incinerators are facilities used to burn waste using high temperature releasing various types of toxic emissions including lead, mercury, dioxins and furans, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, acidic gases (i.e., SOx, HCl), heavy metals (cadmium, lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic, and beryllium), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and chlorinated and brominated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the process.  Direct exposure to such toxins risks the health of facility workers and residents in nearby communities while indirect exposure, through the food chain, poses global risks. (1)

Toxic emissions, high costs, and bad history

Contrary to the proposal’s emphasis that there is no high operational costs and environmental risks involved with waste incineration, Merci Ferrer of WOW Dumaguete countered, “what was not mentioned in the bill is that other than the toxic emissions that come from burning waste, there is still the fly ash and bottom ash (FABA) that needs to be handled carefully as toxic waste after burning.  The Philippines currently does not have the capacity to this.”

Learning from the experiences of other communities who ended up in debt when they failed to provide the volume of waste for an incinerator to run which is under the “put or pay” contract with incinerator industries, “waste incineration will not solve the country’s waste problem.  It will put the country in debt from the private contractors, and worst, open the door to imported waste.  In short, we will open our doors to toxic incinerator facilities and the toxic emissions that comes from its use while they (industry) enjoys tax holidays.  This is the height of hypocrisy for the government to claim they are solving solid waste problems when they are in fact opening the country to waste importation,” said Beau Baconguis, Asia Coordinator for Break Free From Plastic (BFFP).

The bill will grant waste treatment facilities 7 year tax holiday and 10 year tax and duty exemption on imported capital equipment and vehicles.

“It seems that our leaders have already forgotten the 26 defunct medical waste incinerators that the Philippine and Austrian Governments have entered into in the 90s,” said Ferrer.  The 26 medical waste incinerators were decommissioned after it failed to pass emission levels set by the supplier, the Dept. of Health (DoH), and the World Health Organization (WHO).  “The Philippines paid US$2 million every year for the incinerators until 2014 even when they were decommissioned as early as 2003 ,” Ferrer added.

(1)    https://www.no-burn.org/wp-content/uploads/Pollution-Health_final-Nov-14-2019.pdf


Sonia G. Astudillo, Communications Officer, GAIA-AP, +63 917 5969286, sonia@no-burn.org

Jed Alegado, Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic, +63 917 6070248, jed@breakfreefromplastic.org

Note: The 26 medical waste incinerators were hosted in Albay Provincial Hospital (now Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital), Baguio General Hospital, Batangas Regional Hospital, Bicol Regional Hospital, Cagayan Valley Regional Hospital, Davao Medical Center, Davao Regional Hospital, Dr Paulino Garcia Memorial Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, Ilocos Regional Hospital (now Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center), Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital in Pampanga, Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Ilocos, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Philippine Orthopedic Hospital, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Teofilo Sison Memorial Medical Center (now Region I Medical Center) in Pangasinan, Vicente Sotto Sr. Memorial Medical Center in Cebu and Western Visayas Medical Center

To date, the Philippines remains the only country in the world that has a total incineration ban.

BFFP U.S. shares the biggest victories of 2019!

BFFP U.S. shares the biggest victories of 2019!

Get to know Break Free From Plastic U.S.! Our groups are campaigning for systems change all across the plastic pollution lifecycle, from extraction to dumping & burning and everything in between. Hear from our members directly on the biggest victories from 2019!
– Shilpi Chhotray, Senior Communications Officer, Break Free From Plastic US/Global


Diane Wilson, San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper, Seadrift, Texas:
“In 2016 a small ragtag team of Waterkeeper volunteers began collecting evidence on Lavaca Bay of illegally discharged pellets and powder from Formosa Plastics, a 2500 acre plastic giant located in Point Comfort, Texas. Four years later the small group won a record-breaking lawsuit and settlement of $50 Million with all monies going to local environmental projects and the promise of zero discharge of all plastic pollution from the ‘serial offender’ Formosa Plastics.”


Diane Wilson collecting plastic pellets for research.


Young Grguras, Post-landfill Action Network, Philadelphia:
“This year PLAN (The Post-Landfill Action Network) brought on its first staff member dedicated fully to plastic free schools and had two college campuses sign onto our Campus Pledge: The College of the Atlantic and Eckerd College. We are so excited that these schools have made commitments, and are eager to organize alongside the forty-plus colleges also working on this campaign. In the new year, we are also looking forward to our Beyond Waste Summits, and working on our solidarity for the international plastic free campus movement.”


Diego Jimenez, Lonely Whale, Seattle, Washington:
“Thanks to the incredible support of our collaborators, Lonely Whale launched Question How You Hydrate, a new campaign that is waking the world up to the problem of our reliance on single-use plastic water bottles and empowering consumers to choose and champion more sustainable alternatives. Sparking a conversation about single-use plastic water bottles and their role in the global plastic pollution crisis, the campaign is driving action through strategic collaborations with NGOs, celebrities and social media influencers in addition to global institutions. Through these strategic collaborations, Question How You Hydrate has already reached more than 50 countries, empowered legislators to publicly call for action, introduced an alternative to single-use plastic water bottles, encouraged corporate campuses to stop using single-use plastic water bottles in their offices and launched the Museum of Plastic. The Lonely Whale team is excited for continued collaboration across all global BFFP members to inspire further actions that support a mass culture shift away from single-use plastics.”


Claire Arkin, GAIA, Berkeley, California:
“Thanks to the incredible persistence of our members in Southeast Asia and BFFP partners in the United States and around the world, we were able to shine a light on how the global plastic waste trade enables wealthy nations like the U.S. to dump their plastic problem onto other countries, primarily in the Global South. GAIA released an investigative report uncovering how this problem was impacting communities on the ground, and soon after a group of BFFP members descended upon the UN meeting demanding greater transparency and accountability for the global plastic waste trade. The ratification of the Norway Amendment— a step forward in this fight to stop this global injustice–is proof that BFFP members are a powerful force when we unite across borders.”


Photo of GAIA members working to ratify the Norway Amendment!


Emily DiFrisco, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Chicago, Illinois:
“Plastic Pollution Coalition organized a digital campaign to pressure Amazon.com to reduce their plastic footprint on the earth. Thousands of people and organizations Tweeted at Amazon.com and more than 5,300 people signed the petition, illustrating the power of organizations joining forces. Our voices are louder together. We look forward to working together with BFFP members to shift corporate practices in the year ahead.” 


Eve Fox, Beyond Plastics, Bennington, Vermont:
“Beyond Plastics has had a busy and exciting first year! Highlights include helping to pass the nation’s most far-reaching (so far) single-use plastic pollution law in the state of Vermont – the final was very similar to our model Plastics Trifecta legislation that bans single-use straws, polystyrene foam and bags in one fell swoop. Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed it into law in mid-June. We also managed to pass the Plastics Trifecta (officially known as the Plastic-Free Hudson River Act in the city of Troy, New York in September. We are also proud to be leading the charge in opposing the misnamed “Save Our Seas Act 2.0” in Congress by forming a coalition of over 100 organizations, delivering a sign-on letter to Senators signed by these groups, generating grassroots activist phone calls and emails to Senate offices, highlighting the bill’s shortcomings with members of the media, and working directly with Senate legislative staffers to educate them about the realities of plastic pollution and the limitations and risks inherent in this piece of legislation. We continue to call for a meaningful bill that will effectively reduce plastic pollution rather than industry-endorsed greenwash.”


Sam Pearse, The Story of Stuff Project, Berkeley, California:
“After the movement’s success in passing the EU’s groundbreaking Plastics Directive in late 2017, The Story of Stuff Project worked with partners in California to bring ambitious legislation to the US — raising the bar to meet the true scale of the plastics crisis. The level of support across the state to pass this legislation has been such that our movement was within earshot of passing the Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act just nine months later. Thanks to the unprecedented efforts of groups across the state, we now have an opportunity to deliver the landmark legislation in early 2020.”


Break Free From Plastic members in Sacramento, California


Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, Brooklyn, New York:
The Mind the Store campaign challenges the largest retailers to eliminate toxic chemicals in products and packaging and develop comprehensive safer chemical policies. To protect families, communities, and workers, we are working to transform the marketplace and drive a competitive race to the top. Over the past year, in response to the campaign, a growing universe of retailers have launched policies to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals in plastics and other consumer products. For example, for the first time ever, major retail grocers and restaurants are focused on eliminating classes of toxic chemicals, such as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), ortho-phthalates and bisphenols from food packaging materials, which have been found to be a source of exposure to harmful contaminants. A number of retailers launched safer chemicals policies including Ahold Delhaize, Lowe’s, Sephora, and Staples, targeting harmful chemicals for action in plastics and other products.”


Jacqueline Omania, 5th-grade teacher and Oxford Heirs to Our Oceans Chapter Leader, Berkeley, California:
“Oxford Heirs to Our Oceans, a student group of elementary school activists, was successful in helping to pass Berkeley’s Disposable Free Dining Ordinance in January 2019. These passionate students have been compared to the local versions of Greta Thunberg as their speeches expose the truth behind plastic “recycling” and the urgency to move to reusables for the sake of our precious environment.  Their experiences reaching near-zero waste in their classroom remind us that simple small actions do matter. Their efforts garnered the Oxford Heirs the Sierra Club’s Emerging Voices Award; their acceptance speeches focused on the need to address plastic pollution now for their generation and those to come. The Heirs are currently on the streets documenting the rollout of the new law by interviewing customers and business owners regarding the Vessel reusable cup program.”

“I don’t just believe that this ordinance was the right choice, but I know that it will change the way we live now and in the future. This law could lead to California to become a Zero Waste state. This could be the beginning of saying  Goodbye to plastic FOREVER.” – Fiona Groth Reidy, age 11, Berkeley, California.


Student activists of Oxford Heirs to Our Oceans


Lauren, UPSTREAM Communications & Outreach Coordinator, Portland, Maine:
“2019 has been a historic year for local governments to #breakfreefromplastic and take the trash out of our dining experience, thanks to UPSTREAM’s leadership in building Indisposable Communities! Kicking off the year with the unanimously passed Disposable-Free Berkeley ordinance in CA, UPSTREAM has since launched the National Reuse Network to spark innovative solutions across the SF Bay region, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Boston and communities in between and beyond. Learn more about the momentous success in Berkeley as featured on the Indisposable Podcast, and check out how this model ordinance helps solve single-use plastic pollution on UPSTREAM’s video here!


Katie Allen, Executive Director, Algalita Marine Research and Education, Long Beach, California:
Algalita turned 25 this year!  We celebrated with a special expedition to the North Pacific gyre in partnership with the Korean Broadcasting System, who produced a plastic pollution documentary that was broadcasted to millions of households across South Korea.  Also in 2019, we hosted our 9th annual International Youth Summit on Plastic Pollution – an event that supported 24 action campaigns across eight countries.  We directly trained 623 educators on how to integrate plastic pollution curriculum into their classrooms and helped lead phase one of a district-wide transition to zero waste schools in Long Beach, CA.  Our zero waste retail outpost, BYO at Algalita, reached over 18,000 product refills in 2019!”


Marie Mekosh, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Washington, DC:
“This year, CIEL celebrated the power of what our movement can achieve when we combine our strengths and work together. With partners working across every stage of the plastic lifecycle, we released two groundbreaking reports that exposed how plastic is a human health crisis hiding in plain sight and how plastic production and disposal threatens our global climate. As countries negotiate global solutions to the plastic crisis, CIEL has worked to ensure that they consider and address plastic’s impacts at every stage of its lifecycle, including through a petition supported by one million people. And our collective efforts have paid off: In May, 187 countries took a major step forward to control plastic waste dumping under the Basel Convention — a critical victory for communities around the globe working to Break Free From Plastic.”


CIEL staff working to control plastic waste dumping at the Basel Convention


Baani Behniwal, Policy Associate, Californians Against Waste, Sacramento, California:
“Plastic pollution was a hot topic in the California Legislature in 2019, with the introduction and near passage of SB 54/AB 1080 – The California Circular Economy and Pollution Reduction Act. These identical bills, aimed at reducing the amount of waste generated from single-use packaging and foodware, made it almost all the way through the legislative process thanks to an unprecedented amount of support from across the environmental community, local governments, businesses, labor unions, and more. With these bills coming up for a final vote at the beginning of the year, as well as a ballot measure in the works for the fall, 2020 is bound to be a monumental year for tackling the plastic crisis in California.”


Marina Ivlev, Director of Communications, 5 Gyres, Los Angeles, California:
“5 Gyres turned 10 in 2019 and celebrated the year with the following projects: TrashBlitz mobilized 25 partner organizations and over 600 Angelenos to collect data across Los Angeles. With our brand new web-based app, we collected robust data on waste type, material, and brand. We found that food and beverage packaging dominated, which confirms our findings from our BAN List 2.0 research! In 2019 our Science Programs Director, Carolynn Box saw the results of her work on a three-year study that found over 7 trillion pieces of microplastics enter the San Francisco Bay each year! 2020 will be an exceptional year with our ambassadors getting a chance to build with one another at the first-ever Ambassador Summit and TrashBlitz expanding to three new cities; Portland, Denver, and Brooklyn!”

Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more from our members in 2020! 


New Program to Disclose Plastic Pellet Spills ‘Falls Short’

New Program to Disclose Plastic Pellet Spills ‘Falls Short’


MEDIA CONTACT: Stefanie Spear, sspear@asyousow.org, 216-387-1609

BERKELEY, CA—DEC. 13, 2019—The American Chemistry Council and Plastics Industry Association announced Thursday a new program to help manage and prevent the accidental release of plastic pellets into the environment. The program requires companies to report unrecovered releases greater than 0.5 liters or 0.5 kilograms. Reported releases will then be aggregated and publicly reported annually.

Conrad MacKerron, senior vice president of As You Sow, had this to say about the new program:

“Some transparency is better than no disclosure which has been the policy since Operation Clean Sweep’s founding in 1991. However, this policy falls short of the individual company disclosure needed for corporate accountability for this growing threat to oceans and already agreed to by ExxonMobil ChemicalChevronPhillips Chemical and Dow, due to our efforts. The recent $50 million settlement by Formosa Plastics for pellet spills demonstrates the financial risks to companies and their investors from poor handling practices and the need for individual corporate accountability. We will continue to press individual companies on disclosure and have planned shareholder proposals with more companies for 2020.”

Last year, As You Sow engaged three major petrochemical companies, each of which agreed to disclose pellet spills. Pellet spills are believed to be the second largest source of microplastic pollution in the ocean.

For more information on As You Sow’s work on plastic pellets, click here. To learn more about As You Sow’s Plastic Solutions Investor Alliance, click here.

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