Global campaign challenges Starbucks to keep its promise to curb plastic pollution, create 100% recyclable cup

PRESS RELEASE, Monday, March 5, 2018

Leading environmental organizations launch “Starbucks: Break Free From Plastic” campaign to confront coffee giant on its plastic pollution problem prior to annual shareholder meeting in Seattle

SEATTLE, WA — Today, more than a dozen leading environmental organizations announced the launch of “Starbucks: Break Free From Plastic” — a global campaign demanding that Starbucks take accountability for its contribution to the growing plastic pollution crisis. Sign the petition at:https://mobilize4change.org/starbucks.

The campaign formed ahead of Starbucks’ 2018 annual shareholder meeting, where the coffee giant is urging its shareholders to vote “no” on a sustainability proposal by As You Sow. The proposal asks Starbucks to address its plastic pollution problem by developing stronger efforts to move toward sustainable packaging. View As You Sow’s argument in favor of the proposal.

Starbucks fails on sustainability pledges

The campaign is being launched amidst a backdrop of corporate pledges to address plastic pollution, including from McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. The campaign is demanding firm commitments from Starbucks on how it will address its plastic pollution problem.

In 2008, Starbucks pledged to make a 100% recyclable paper cup and sell 25% of drinks in reusable cups by 2015. To date, Starbucks has failed to produce a 100% recyclable paper cup, and currently serves only 1.4% of drinks in reusable cups.

“Starbucks serves an astounding 4+ billion paper cups each year, most of which end up in the trash because their plastic lining makes them unrecyclable in most places. That’s a disgraceful amount of plastic pollution ending up in our local landfills. It’s time for Starbucks to start living up to its promises.” -Ross Hammond, Stand.earth

Starbucks plans massive global growth

Despite knowing its environmental impact, Starbucks has pledged to dramatically expand its presence in Asia in 2018 — with no plan to address its plastic waste. Because of this inaction, governments are being forced to step up. A parliamentary committee in the UK recently proposed a “latte levy” on single-use cups to help address the growing plastic pollution problem, and the City of Vancouver, BC is considering imposing a fee on unrecyclable, plastic-lined cups.

“Starbucks has pledged to open one store every 15 hours in China in 2018. CEO Kevin Johnson continues to turn a blind eye to his company’s contribution to our global plastic pollution problem even as the coffee giant continues to open stores at an astonishing pace.” -Sondhya Gupta, SumOfUs

Starbucks part of global plastic pollution problem

Starbucks cups, lids, and iconic green straws make up a visible portion of the catastrophic plastic pollution in our oceans. In the marine environment, plastics break down into small indigestible particles that birds and marine animals mistake for food, resulting in illness and death.

“Starbucks pioneered the global ‘to-go’ disposable coffee cup culture, and sends more than 4 billion plastic-lined cups to landfill every year — along with countless single-use plastic lids, straws, stirrers, and cutlery. We’re calling on Starbucks to make a commitment to reusability and stop contributing to our global plastic pollution catastrophe.” -Dianna Cohen, Plastic Pollution Coalition

“Americans use half a billion plastic straws every day. That’s an unfathomable amount. These plastic straws are consistently among the top items collected during beach cleanups. Starbucks’ green straws may be iconic, but this staggering amount of plastic pollution is simply unacceptable.”  -Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, 5 Gyres Institute

“Each minute, the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic ends up in the ocean, and by 2050, there is projected to be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight. Starbucks needs to take immediate steps to #breakfreefromplastic before our global plastic pollution problem overwhelms our oceans and marine life.” -Von Hernandez, Break Free From Plastic

"Plastics are a symptom of our throw-away culture. Companies like Starbucks need to take responsibility for the harm to people and the environment that comes from irresponsible use of a material for minutes that is designed to last lifetimes. We need them to help build a culture of stewardship among consumers and businesses." -Jamie Rhodes, UPSTREAM

The campaign is calling on Starbucks to address its plastic pollution in 5 specific ways:

  • Create a 100% recyclable paper cup without a plastic lining.

  • Reduce plastic pollution by eliminating single-use plastics like straws.

  • Promote reusable cups and encourage customers to change their habits.

  • Recycle cups and food packaging in all stores worldwide.

  • Report publicly on the type and amount of plastics used in packaging.

The campaign includes 5 Gyres, Care2, Clean Water Action, CREDO, Greenpeace USA, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Stand.earth, The Story of Stuff Project, SumOfUs, Texas Campaign for the Environment, UPSTREAM, Hannah4Change, Captain Planet Foundation, Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation, Plastik Diet Kantong, Heirs to Our Oceans, Wild at Heart Taiwan, and a variety of organizations participating under the Break Free From Plastic global movement.


Media contacts:

Virginia Cleaveland, Stand.earth, virginia@stand.earth510-858-9902

Emily DiFrisco, Plastic Pollution Coalition, emily@plasticpollutioncoalition.org310-266-3172

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, 5 Gyres Institute, rachel@5gyres.org310-968-7769

Shilpi Chhotray, Break Free From Plastic, shilpi@breakfreefromplastic.org703 400 9986


Plastic Diets in Zero Waste Cities are the Solution to Plastic Pollution

BANDUNG, Indonesia, March 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- To support the "Three Months Trash-Free Movement" and commemorate the "National Waste Awareness Day 2018", the Alliance of Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI) in collaboration with the Directorate General of Waste Management, Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials - Ministry of Environment and Forestry, partnered with the West Java Provincial Government, Bandung City Government, Cimahi City Government, and Bandung Regency Government in convening the International Zero Waste Cities Conference (IZWCC) on March 5-7. The Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement (GIDKP) became one of the co-organizers. The conference was attended by speakers and participants from 12 countries to talk about creating zero waste cities, where every single piece of trash produced in the city biodegrades in nature or circles back to become raw material for production, so that very little trash is sent to landfills.  It is also called the Circular City concept. "One of the most important elements of a zero waste city is to prevent the occurrence of plastic waste, especially single-use disposable ones, as they are mostly un-recyclable. At the IZWCC, we learned from state officials from San Fernando (Philippines), Kerala (India), and San Francisco(USA), how plastic bag bans have been successfully done and even paved the way for limitations on other single-use plastics", said Tiza Mafira, the Executive Director of the Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement . The problem of plastic waste, especially single-use plastics like plastic bags, needs to be resolved urgently. Indonesia has a target of 70% reduction in plastic marine debris by 2025 nationally but has not taken concrete action to prevent plastic waste. Meanwhile, local governments have moved ahead of the central government. Banjarmasin City has enacted a plastic bags ban since June 1, 2016. "We saw the opportunity presented by a trial to charge plastic bags in 2016, and took it a step further by banning plastic bags shortly afterward", said Hamdi Bin Amak Hasan, Banjarmasin's Deputy of Economic and Development. "This is one of the ways we are maintaining Banjarmasin City's reputation as the "City of A Thousand Rivers". We want our rivers to be free of plastic waste," he added. In addition to the city of Banjarmasin, Bandung City, Cimahi City, and Bandung Regency have also pledged their commitment to reduce plastic bags. "Currently, we are preparing regulations to require shops, such as supermarkets, to no longer use plastic bags," said Mayor of Cimahi, Ajay M. Priatna, when opening the City Manager Forum event at Cimahi Technopark on 6 March. The same thing was revealed by the Regent of Bandung on IZWCC's Village Manager Forum on March 7 at Gedung Sabilulungan, Soreang, "I would like all packaging in Bandung Regency to use materials derived from vegetable materials, such as cassava", said Dadang M Nasser, the Regent of Bandung. When the implementation of IZWCC took place, the video of a diver who was diving in the area of Nusa Penida, Bali Island, became viral in social media. This is certainly an international news that makes Indonesia again highlighted the issue of plastic waste in the sea. "Enough is enough, we are shamed in the eyes of the world with images of rivers and seas filled with plastic waste as if we are not doing anything," said Rahyang Nusantara, National Coordinator of GIDKP, at the closing of IZWCC at Sabilulungan Building on March 7. "There are many things we are doing in districts/cities, such as in Bandung City, Cimahi City, and Bandung Regency. We are working to reduce plastic waste through plastic bag charges and plastic bags bans, as well as developing zero waste programs at the district/city level. These actions prevent the leakage of plastic waste into rivers and seas in a real way". ---------------------------------------------------------------

About Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement : Gerakan Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik (Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement) 's petition in 2015, demanding that retailers no longer give out plastic bags for free, gained 70,000 signatures. One month later, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry acknowledged the petition and immediately rolled out a nationwide trial of a plastic bag charge.  The trial lasted 6 months and revealed stunning results.  A 55% reduction of plastic bag use.  Consumer awareness of plastic bag problems shot up by 80%.  The majority of consumers across all demographics agreed to bring their own reusable bags to shops.  Up to ten different provinces geared up to create their own local regulations.  And in a stunning show of leadership and decisiveness, Banjarmasin became the first city in Indonesia to ban single-use plastic bags in modern retail stores.Media contacts: Ms. Adithiyasanti Sofia (Dithi) +62817187501 dithisofia@dietkantongplastik.info


Corporations Told: Own Up to Global Plastic Crisis

BANDUNG, Indonesia (March 8, 2018) — Companies producing and earning from their problematic products should take on the responsibility for the global plastic pollution.

“It’s unfair for companies, who earn billions of dollars annually, to pass the burden and responsibility of managing the waste that their products create when cities and communities with limited resources are burdened by it,” stressed Froilan Grate, regional coordinator of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific during the opening of the International Zero Waste Cities Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, March 5-7.

“Cities are already struggling to fund waste collection systems, and they are still left to address waste that communities can neither compost nor recycle,” he added.

In his presentation, Grate shared the results of waste and brand audits conducted in Philippine cities and communities in 2017 showing that multinationals—Nestle, Procter and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Coca Cola—are among the top 10 plastic polluters in the country.

This finding is consistent to the waste and brand audit conducted in 2017 by Philippines-based member organizations of the #breakfreefromplastic movement along the stretch of Freedom Island which showed the same companies in the top 10.

“The net income in 2016 of the top six multinational corporations polluting the Philippines is $27 billion. As they rake in money for these problematic products, they are also making cities spend scarce resources to collect and manage this waste,” he said, citing the example of 17 Metro Manila cities spending $87 million in 2012, an amount he said is better used to provide basic social services to the poor.

Grate likewise challenged the representative of the Indonesian brand, Danone, who was on stage as Grate made his presentation, to do more to get their company off the list of top 10 local brands that are polluting Indonesia.

“While recycling should be pursued and recognized, we can never recycle our way out of the plastic problem. Companies must reduce the amount of plastic that they use and eliminate problematic products and packaging,” he stressed.

He also called on the government officials present to help them in demanding responsibility from these companies. “We hope cities would step up and be our partners in calling on these companies to take  responsibility for the products that they sell and the waste they create. They cannot pass the work of managing waste that you can neither compost nor recycle. So please join us as we call everyone to break free from plastic because that will all help us go for Zero Waste,” he said.

The International Zero Waste Cities Conference aims to be a learning, sharing, and collaborating venue to enable cities to pursue and accelerate the global transition to Zero Waste.

Organized by the Alliansi Zero Waste Indonesia and GAIA Asia Pacific, the conference was hosted by the cities of Cimahi, Soreang, and Bandung. It served as a venue for city and community leaders from Zero Waste cities  and municipalities in Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, USA, and Europe to showcase how their communities divert waste from going to landfills through at-source waste segregation, composting, and anaerobic digestion.


  1. In Indonesia, brand audits were conducted in three cities currently implementing Zero Waste programs, namely Bandung City, Cimahi City, and Bandung Regency. From the audit, a total of 8,101 plastic waste items were collected. These plastic items are considered as residual or other waste. The samples were taken from an eight-day waste assessment and characterization study (WACS). In the Philippines, brand audits were conducted in the cities of Malabon, Quezon City, and Tacloban. The audits, which were done in 2017, were part of the WACS carried out as preparatory activities to the Zero Waste Programs implemented in the said cities.
  1. Results of the waste and brand audit conducted by the PH-based members orgs of the  BFFP movement can be accessed here: https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/2017/12/17/green-groups-reveal-top-plastic-polluters-following-massive-beach-cleanup-on-freedom-island/


Bandung City to host International Zero Waste Cities Conference

BANDUNG, Indonesia (March 2, 2018) --- Government officials, civil society organizations and Zero Waste communities and practitioners will gather in Bandung, Indonesia for this year's International Zero Waste Cities Conference (IZWC) to be held on March 5-7. With its theme, "Circular City is the Future City", this year's IZWC presents a new approach for policy makers in managing solid waste through economic and life qualities’ improvement of urban citizens. "Through implementation of zero waste and the circular economy model, we hope it would be an interesting solution for leaders and policy makers of Indonesia for urban development," said Ria Ismaria, National Head of The Steering Committee of IZWCC 2018.  Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the lifecycle management of materials so that all products can be reused. It emphasizes the utilization and reuse of sustainable natural resources. And in a circular economy, extractive models that engage in take-make-waste activities have been abandoned. "Zero waste recognizes the importance of a system that works effectively across all business scales: large and small, organizations and individuals, global and local," said Froilan Grate, Regional Coordinator of GAIA Asia Pacific. With "Circular City is the Future City" as the main theme, IZWCC 2018 will present this concept to local leaders and officials as a solution to the waste problem while creating resources for development towards sustainable cities.  IZWCC 2018 will serve as a gathering of city officials and community leaders from the Zero Waste model cities of India, Malaysia, the Philippines, the United States, the European Union and Indonesia, demonstrating how they can reduce waste transported by the landfill in a proven, and relatively easy way to replicate.  This year's International Zero Waste Cities Conference is jointly organized by #breakfreefromplastic members Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives Asia Pacific (GAIA Asia Pacific)Yayasan Pengembangan Biosains dan Bioteknologi (YPBB), and Alliance Zero Waste Indonesia (AZWI).


#breakfreefromplastic Mediterranean changemakers

The beginning of February saw dozens of #breakfreefromplastic campaigners and activists gathering in Marrakech, Morocco looking for new ways to work together change the face of the Mediterranean with their projects. Movement members from Barcelona, to Beirut and most Mediterranean countries in between shared their common culture, love of food and traditional zero waste crafts to develop common campaigns and activities. Over the 4 days of meetings incredible stories of the campaigns were shared and the diverse range of experience in the room was put to good use building a stronger #breakfreefromplastic presence in the Mediterranean. Since the close of the meeting we have been sharing some of these amazing people, and their work on our Instagram and Twitter accounts. Now we would like to share them with you here: [caption id="attachment_1741" align="aligncenter" width="805"] Alodia Pérez Muñoz, Friends of the Earth Spain (Amigos de la Tierra), Madrid, Spain[/caption]   From Madrid, Alodia Pérez Muñoz, a Natural Resources and Waste campaigner for Friends of the Earth Spain (Amigos de la Tierra), shared her experiences of working at the city level to tackle plastic pollution. “We are working with cities to reduce their waste, primarily their plastic waste, to get a cleaner world. We are working on the beaches and in natural spaces to remove he most common litter in our world”.   [caption id="attachment_1742" align="aligncenter" width="796"] Mamoun Ghallab, Zero Zbel, Morocco[/caption]   A representative of the movement’s host organisation in Morocco, Mamoun Ghallab from Zero Zbel (Zero Waste Morocco) explained how their organisation have been working to reinforce the countries plastic bag ban “I am one of the co-founders of Zero Zbel which means ‘Zero Waste’ in Morocco. We raise awareness of people’s behaviour and how to reduce our waste and environmental impact. We also do advocacy work mostly about plastic pollution in the coastal areas, and how to ban plastic bags effectively.” He went on to tell how #breakfreefromplastic had brought together organisations from across the region, to coordinate their work and share the cultural aspects which they have in common; “It has been almost a year since 20 - 30 NGO’s from across the Mediterranean came together to  form the Break Free From Plastic Mediterranean group and we are coordinating all together to launch actions and campaigns to create positive change on issues which affect us all in the ‘Mare Nostrum’ as we call the Mediterranean.”   [caption id="attachment_1743" align="aligncenter" width="735"] Zoran Tonic, Greenpeace Croatia[/caption]   Zoran Tonic, the office director for Greenpeace Croatia, and coordinator for their work on plastics  told us how "Greenpeace has been campaigning on plastic in the Mediterranean region for the past two years" He continued saying that "this year we are continuing with a special emphasis and focus on single use plastic.”   [caption id="attachment_1744" align="aligncenter" width="739"] Giulia Carlini, CIEL, Switzerland[/caption]   Giulia Carlini, a lawyer with CIEL (Center for International Environmental Law) said “I am an attorney for CIEL, based in Geneva. We are part of Break Free From Plastic and are looking at the entire lifecycle of plastic. We believe that the impacts of plastic arise at every single stage and especially at its production. I look specifically at the global law and policy around plastic, from the United Nations process to what can happen at the international, regional and local level that can be relevant to combat plastic pollution.” Giulia has been involved in working to combat plastic pollution in various UN conventions including the UNEA 3 meeting in Kenya in December.   [caption id="attachment_1745" align="aligncenter" width="725"] Joslin and Salua, Recycle Lebanon[/caption]   From Lebanon, Joslin and Salua from Recycle Lebanon  shared their exciting new projects and plans for their country. Their organisation founded during Lebanon's waste crisis presented a beacon of hope for the region with innovative solutions and a strong social base for their work. “I am Joslin Khdrey, [left in photo] founder of Recycle Lebanon, an NGO established during Lebanon’s waste crisis to regenerate the system. We take a holistic approach focusing on legislation, cleanups, education, data visualisation, open sourcing, and our most exciting project the ‘EcoSouk’ - access to circular living.” “I am Salua Moussawel,[right in photo] from Recycle Lebanon, and I am part of the team. I am super excited to be here for Break Free From Plastic Mediterranean.” These stories are just the beginning for the #breakfreefromplastic movement in the Mediterranean and the groups have been working together to coordinate larger and more effective actions across the region in the coming month. So stay tuned to hear more from the emergent movement across the Mediterranean sea!  


Ocean Plastics Tour Signals Change for New Zealand

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Our oceans need fixing, and Aotearoa is ready to play its part, says environmentalist and Indigenous rights advocate Tina Ngata. A national tour of speaking engagements with global ocean plastics experts Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins from the 5 Gyres Institute and Raquelle De Vine from Algalita marine research, has so far experienced broad support for a ban on plastic bags, and further measures to reduce New Zealand’s plastic pollution. “The global effort to save our seas from plastic pollution, is all about zero waste on land, making that local connection between how we use plastic here, and how it effects all of these things in the ocean out there” Says marine scientist Marcus Eriksen. The PURE (Plastic Use Resistance Education) Tour includes talks and workshops in Auckland, Raglan, Ruatoria, Gisborne, Napier, Masterton, Levin and Wellington, and aims to raise awareness of ocean plastics, New Zealand’s contribution to the problem, and drive a national discussion around potential solutions. It also includes a microplastics survey along the eastern seaboard, on board Ngati Kahungunu ocean voyaging waka Te Matau a Maui. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AT THE CORE “Indigenous involvement is pivotal to forging solutions for this problem. We are people of the ocean, and when the ocean is not well, we are not well” Says Ms Ngata “In addition to the impacts, we also have a wealth of ancestral science and principles that can contribute to the conversation – so we are very excited to have our ocean voyaging community involved in the science around understanding microplastics, and we very much view this as an extension of our opposition to oil and commitment to kaitiakitanga”. Iwi Leaders also signalled their support, issuing a resolution at Waitangi to seek a national plastic bag ban from government, as well as the establishment of a national working group on plastic waste reduction, and government investment in microplastic contamination research. PLASTICS PROBLEM ON A PAR WITH CLIMATE CHANGE The impacts of plastic pollution upon our ecological and physical wellbeing are on a par with climate change, but our plastic waste policy responses are roughly where climate change policy was at in 1990, said Stephanie Borrelle, PhD scholar presenting at the PURE Tour launch summit in Auckland. Toxins released into the fish as ocean plastics break down in their digestive system, enter the foodchain, creating signficant health problems from humans including infertility and cancers. Dr Trisia Farrelly spoke to a longstanding weight of evidence suggesting any microplastics in marine environments is not a good thing – and that many scientists who are concerned about the health effects of plastic chemical ingestion have had to move beyond “hard science” facts and engage communities, lawyers and activists to solve the human health problems associated with plastics. Marcus Eriksen agrees, adding “The science that proves these links is being utilised by activists and NGOs on the ground to create the policies we need. “ This science includes significant expeditions across all 5 oceanic gyre regions, including the South Pacific ocean, where Algalita marine research and education carried out research last year tracking a plastic garbage “smog” covering a size roughly 11 times the size of New Zealand. Raquelle DeVine was on the research vessel and personally witnessed evidence to suggest New Zealand origin waste throughout the smog. “We were miles from anywhere and were pulling up New Zealand fishery fishbins, which fish were living within”, it was quite shocking”. CHANGE IS ACHIEVABLE AND IMMINENT “There are so many correlations between climate change and plastics pollution” says ocean plastics expert Anna Cummins of the 5 Gyres Institute “change is absolutely possible but what I’ve learnt is that it can only happen through collaboration – its an incredibly uphill battle but if we can really hold big oil and big plastic accountable, and have this struggle led by Māori and frontline communities, with the rest of us supporting in any way we can, that’s the only way we’re going to get it done. The PURE Tour will culminate in a march at the end of February through Wellington, to present the Greenpeace petition for a single use plastic bag ban, to parliament. For further details on the PURE Tour, or the march, see the PURE Tour – Aotearoa, The Pacific and Plastics facebook page. ENDS Enquiries to: Tina Ngata ph: 021482428 tinangata@gmail.com Massive South Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch a Dead Place https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/335705/massive-south-pacific-ocean-garbagepatch-a-dead-place Waka To Help Reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/348750/waka-to-help-reduce-ocean-plastic-pollution Ocean-going waka sets out on scientific quest https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/101305745/Ocean-going-waka-sets-out-on-scientificquest?cid=app-iPhone




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Contact: Wandy Ortiz wandy@reagencylab.com (917) 842-5948 Click here for photos



5 Gyres Institute, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Surfrider Foundation and #breakfreefromplastic join forces to raise awareness about Styrofoam pollution


Venice, CA (September 16, 2017)—Today, environmental activist groups joined forces to fight the lack of legislation on plastic pollution during Coastal Cleanup Day. Through a collaboration by the 5 Gyres Institute, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Surfrider Foundation and the #breakfreefromplastic movement, 90 volunteers collected over 110 pounds of trash left on beaches, of which only 15 pounds in total were recyclable. Debris collected during the two-hour clean up included single-use plastic food-ware products such as drinking straws, cups, lids, utensils and containers made from expanded polystyrene foam—the plastic commonly known as “Styrofoam.”

As part of the 5 Gyres initiative, volunteers sent 250 envelopes filled with found pieces of Styrofoam trash to 25 congressional representatives in Sacramento—where this year legislators voted against SB207, a statewide polystyrene ban. A representative from the offices of California senator Bill Allen, author of the SB207 bill, was in attendance at the day’s event to support the environmental collaboration efforts. This movement is part of 5Gyres’ #foamfree Action Campaign to empower volunteers to make their voices heard in the fight against Styrofoam pollution. In addition to mailing congressional offices, Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers are also tweeting photos of found trash to their Congressmen, encouraging California to finally go #foamfree. Polystyrene is one of the most common form of plastic found on beaches worldwide. Made from styrene—a known animal carcinogen and probable human carcinogen—it was ranked the 5th worst global industry in terms of toxic waste production by the Environmental Protection Agency. Typically, it is not recyclable. “Styrofoam is the top polluter on our beaches. We can't stop with cleanup, we need to ban polystyrene and make California foam free,” said Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Executive Director of 5 Gyres during the Saturday morning cleanup at Venice Beach. While the 5 Gyres Institute, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Surfrider Foundation and the #breakfreefromplastic movement applaud beach clean up efforts, this collective action is designed to highlight the lack of emphasis that events like Coastal Cleanup Day have on upstream solutions. These include legislative responsibility to pass laws that protect the environment, consumer responsibility to refuse single-use plastics such as polystyrene cups, lids, and straws, and corporate responsibility to design products with end use in mind. “Thanks to senator Ben Allen for starting the movement to ban polystyrene! So many people are fed up with Styrofoam on the beach and want it banned! Thanks for being #foamfree,” wrote Facebook user Marina Ivlev in response to a live video stream posted by the 5 Gyres Facebook page over the course of the morning. The Venice Beach event was organized in conjunction with a September 16th clean up on Freedom Island in Manila Bay, coordinated by #breakfreefromplastic member groups and the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources. "We've been cleaning up brands on our beaches for 20 years,” said Abi Aguilar of Greenpeace Philippines, a #breakfreefromplastic member organization. “It's time for corporates to take responsibility for the materials they put into the world. We must innovate delivery systems, eliminate single-use plastics, and insist that governments better regulate corporations that use plastic. This should be the last beach clean up.” Celebrated annually for decades, Coastal Cleanup Day is the world’s largest simultaneous volunteer action to clean up the ocean. Click here for photos from Coastal Cleanup Day 2017 in Venice, CA.(Photos courtesy of Haley Jain Haggerstone 5 Gyres Development Director) Activists at other national and international beach cleanups can download #foamfree materials from 5 Gyres at www.5gyres.org/foamfree-action-guide and follow the same steps to connect with their legislators about polystyrene pollution.

FOR MORE INFORMATION www.5gyres.org www.breakfreefromplastic.org www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org www.surfrider.org

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Green Groups Reveal Top Plastic Polluters Following Massive Beach Cleanup on Freedom Island

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row" background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat" background_size="initial"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text background_position="top_left" background_repeat="repeat" background_size="initial" _builder_version="3.0.98" background_layout="light" text_font_size="18px" header_font="Roboto|||on|||||"] International brands are among the worst oceans polluters—and  green groups under the global #breakfreefromplastic movement are holding them to account. The results from the groups’ eight-day beach cleanup, waste and brand audit on Freedom Island revealed that six international brands are responsible for 53.8% of plastic packaging pollution found in the designated ecotourism area,  which has been  declared  as a critical habitat for migratory birds.

EVIDENCE. Representatives from the organizations that took part in the coastal cleanup and waste and brand audit show some of the products collected from Freedom Island.

The recent audits conducted by Philippine member organizations of the #breakfreefromplastic movement further revealed that zero value plastic packaging used  by Nestlé, Unilever, and Indonesian company PT Torabika Mayora in their various products are the top polluters in the area. Other global companies in the top ten are  Procter and Gamble,  Monde-Nissin, and Colgate-Palmolive. Out of the total waste collected  during the eight-day cleanup, 49.33% are plastic waste. Other types of waste found are diapers and sanitary products, glass, textile, etc. “The enormous amounts and kinds of plastic trash that we found on Freedom Island dramatically  shows how the planet is drowning in single-use and throwaway plastic packaging—pushed upon us by corporations to maximize their profits,” said Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator of the Break Free from Plastic Movement. The evidence speaks for itself—it is time for  these companies to own up to their responsibility in spawning the plastic pollution crisis, which is proving to be a pernicious and pervasive global problem” he added. The #breakfreefromplastic global movement which counts 900 member organizations globally, has launched various coastal cleanup activities in different parts of the world—Europe, North America and the Arctic. In the Philippines, its member organizations started an 8-day coastal cleanup and waste and brand audit in Freedom Island (Las Pinas Paranaque Critical Habitat Ecosystem Area or LPPCHEA) off Manila Bay which culminated on September 20. “When we throw something away, there is no ‘away’. These global corporations are locking us into cheap, disposable plastics, rather than innovating and finding real solutions,” said Abigail Aguilar, Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines. “For decades, these companies have managed to evade their responsibility for this worsening problem,  leaving  governments and taxpayers with the burden of dealing with the polluting legacy of their product packaging.” Aguilar added. For his part, Froilan Grate, the Executive Director of Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Philippines pointed out that the results are consistent with the results of the waste and brand audits that they have been conducting  in many other cities in the Philippines and other countries. “The companies that pollute our seas are the very same companies that have burdened communities with waste that  can neither be composted nor recycled,” he said. “Worse,  some of these companies and their partners in government have been focusing on promoting wrong solutions to the waste crisis, particularly the so-called  “waste-to-energy” incineration technologies. Incineration is not the solution. You can’t solve this problem by transforming it into another  toxic  pollution  problem,” Grate explained. GAIA and Mother Earth Foundation have been conducting waste and brand audit as part of their Zero Waste work in various cities and communities. “To solve the problem of waste, we must turn to ecological solutions such as Zero Waste,” said Sonia Mendoza, Chairman of Mother Earth Foundation. “In Asia, for example, cities and communities from the Philippines, China, South Korea, and India to name a few, have demonstrated that Zero Waste is a practical and viable solution to our waste problem. But in order for Zero Waste to work at a national scale, we need the government’s political will and support  to have it mainstreamed and  institutionalized,” Mendoza added. Zero Waste is an ecological resource management and reduction model that involves waste segregation at source, product redesign, and systematic waste collection and management. For Ecowaste Coalition, a critical part of the solution to stem the tide of plastic pollution in the country is the enactment of a national policy that would discourage if not eliminate the use and proliferation of single use plastics and disposables. “We must address the problem at source. Clean-ups alone will never solve the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans. The Philippine government should learn from the recent strong actions taken by the  governments of  Rwanda, Kenya, and France to seriously address the problem by curbing and prohibiting the use of single-use plastics and disposables,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the Ecowaste Coalition. Member organizations of the #breakfreefromplastic movement involved in the Freedom island  cleanup include EcoWaste Coalition, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Greenpeace, Health Care Without Harm, Mother Earth Foundation, Samahan ng mga Nananambakan sa Dumpsite Area,  Samahan ng Muling Pagkabuhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and other groups. //ends [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]