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November 2019

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Campaigns & Policy Work In Action

Take a look at #breakfreefromplastic in action around the globe!

Asia Pacific Region

Korea Zero Waste Movement Network has been leading many nationwide campaigns against single-use plastic items such as disposable cups, straws, lids, plastic bags, umbrella covers, and excessive plastic packaging of food products. The network has signed voluntary agreements with municipalities, companies, and stores including coffee shops, fast food chains and large- and small-scale grocery stores to encourage all actors to #breakfreefromplastic and foster reusable-friendly cultures and systems throughout the country. As of August, 2018, the Korean government has introduced stricter regulations on single-use plastic items, which include a ban on plastic cups and umbrella covers at governmental offices, a ban on plastic bags at grocery stores, and new fines on the use of plastic cups at coffee shops and fast food restaurants. 

Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO)

The Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) and the Dept. of Environmental Science and Disaster Management (ESDM), Daffodil International University have jointly organized an awareness Campaign on “Single Use Plastic Pollution in Bangladesh” on January 2019. The event was to raise awareness among youth and students against detrimental impact of single use plastics (SUPs) to public health and environment.


There is a threat on the Philippines’ nationwide ban against incinerators or burning of wastes as some Filipino legislators moves to repeal key provisions of the country’s Clean Air Act. #breakreefrommovement member orgs in the Philippines led by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific, Ecowaste Coalition Philippines, Mother Earth Foundation Philippines and Healthcare Without Harm Asia launched an alliance together with other groups to show a united front against incinerators and waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities. 

 Follow Along!

Healthcare Without Harm Asia

Healthcare Without Harm Asia recently tackled the results of the first-ever Waste and Brand Audit conducted in various hospitals in the Philippines and Indonesia. Its “Plastics in Healthcare Report” discusses how the health care sector can lead the change towards sustainable management of medical waste to protect public and planetary health.

Indonesia Diet Kantong Plastik first campaigned for the #payforplastic campaign in 2013 to encourage retailers not to provide free plastic bags. In 2015, the petition then developed gained support fromt he President and the Head of Regions to create a plastic bag diet rule in retail shops. This petition to date has reached 70,000 more support, both online and offline. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry eventually imposed a paid plastic bag policy.  Interested on this?

Take Action!

Ecological Observation and Wetlands Conservation (ECOTON)

ECOTON has been waging a battle against soiled diaper pollution in the Brantas River Basin in Surabaya, Indonesia. ECOTON’s research indicates that UNICHARM Indonesia is responsible for managing product waste and educating consumers on proper diaper disposal. The factory produces more than 9 million pieces of plastic diapers a day while the total number of used diapers dumped into the Brantas River is 3 million pieces per day.


Greeners Action of Hong Kong led the campaign on “Umbrella Bags Reduction Certification Program”. It is an initiative that encourages shopping malls to reduce the use of one off umbrella plastic bags during rainy season. So far, shopping malls have implemented measures like installing umbrella dryers, setting up umbrella racks and umbrella plastic bag recycle and reusable bin!


Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group

In partnership with the High Commission of Canada, Chintan has launched #PlasticUpvaas: Give-up Single Use Plastics campaign. The campaign aims to encourage people to become actors in global fight against plastic pollution by practicing long standing Indian tradition of fasting known as Upvaas. #PlasticUpvaas was held on December 12, 2018 when participants were asked to live a day without single use plastics.




Citizen consumer and Civic Action Group

The Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) collaborated with The Chennai Times for a statewide campaign against single-use plastics. The campaign, #PlasticGottaGo, help the public in identifying alternatives in order for them to adopt a lifestyle where single-use plastic is considered redundant and extinct.





Green Army International  

Green Congress, an annual environmental congress of children from the schools in and around Thiruvananthapuram City, is being spearheaded by Green Army International and Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation to showcase the initiatives, innovation and creativity of school children on environment and climate. In 2018, it featured a #breakfreefromplastic poster making contest as one of its highlights.


Consumers Association of Penang

The Consumers Association of Penang launched a book titled “Moving Towards Zero Waste: Community Actions in Penang” which showcases community-led solutions to the waste problem. Many of the Zero Waste actions and champions highlighted in this book are initiatives taken in Seberang Perai since many years ago. Currently, it is part of the Zero Waste Cities Project coordinated by GAIA Asia Pacific.

United States & Latin America Region

Global Fast Food Plastic Survey | Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plastic Pollution Coalition has launched the first-ever Global Fast Food Plastic Survey tracking the progress made by companies on eliminating single-use plastic. Starting with the world’s 25 largest companies with more than 270,000 fast food outlets spread across the globe, the survey will be continually updated and expanded to the largest 100 companies.

Check it out!

Recycling is Not Enough | GAIA
 Until recently, countries in the Global North dealt with their plastic waste problem by shipping significant portions of it to China. But in January of this year China began a new ban on plastic scrap import, shaking local recycling systems worldwide. For far too long China has had to deal with other country’s plastic pollution, and its recent ban has sent the world a message: enough is enough. What’s the solution? We simply need to #breakfreefromplastic. The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives(GAIA) along our partners in Asia- Pacific and Europe came together in this uncertain time to release the short report, Recycling is Not Enough. We cannot continue with “business as usual,” where companies continue to make staggering amounts of plastic and wealthy nations export their pollution to other countries. Instead, GAIA members have a bold vision for the future where production is greatly reduced, and corporations are held accountable for the plastic pollution they create.

Check it out!

Failing Incinerators Project | GAIA
The Failing Incinerators Project is aimed at supporting grassroots communities organizing to shutdown polluting, aging incinerators and develop viable alternatives that benefit public health and the environment. Across the United states, all but one of the 77 waste incinerators are reaching the end of their lifespans, and have plagued communities for decades with harmful air emissions, accidents, other health and safety-related concerns. Through targeted financial, research, communications, technical and coordinative support GAIA is aiding local community groups, in cities such as Baltimore, Detroit, and Long Beach, in fighting their polluting incinerator infrastructure, and strengthening a national case to end incineration and invest in zero waste systems. The project is exposing the dangers of pollution from waste burning and highlighting zero waste as an alternative at a regional and national level. Trash-burning is a thing of the past– the future is #breakfreefromplastic!

Trash-Free Dining | UPSTREAM

It is time to break our addiction to disposables. The key to success in bringing reusables back to dining is to make it convenient for consumers. That is why UPSTREAM is working to design a community-wide reusable cup and container program. UPSTREAM is working to demonstrate these programs in conjuction with needed policy changes in communites around the San Francisco Bay.

Check it out!

The Disposable-Free Dining Ordinance | Ecology Center

The Ecology Center convened a group of waste experts to craft model legislation – the Disposable-Free Dining Ordinance – that the Berkeley City Council is now considering. We are also piloting a reuse take-out program in the Telegraph Business District in early 2019, and piloting a GPS tracker project that is tracking the movement of Bay Area plastics baled for recycling. 

Learn more!

Greenpeace Demands Corporate Accountability, Celebrates People Power
Greenpeace is demanding that corporations and retailers take responsibility for the plastic pollution crisis they helped create and phase out destructive single-use plastics and packaging. Almost 2 million people worldwide have signed Greenpeace petitions to retailers and CEOs of seven of the largest producers of single-use plastics (Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, McDonald’s) telling them to reduce their single-use plastic production.

In addition, Greenpeace supporters are taking action to create a “Million Acts of Blue” — actions to push retailers, corporations and businesses to reduce single-use plastic. The Million Acts of Blue toolkit has been translated into five languages so far and includes the Break Free From Plastic brand audit as one of seven actions people can take to send a message to the industry that it’s time to change—we can no longer allow products that are used for a few seconds to pollute our planet for a lifetime.

Greenpeace is also asking supporters to call out companies on social media by tagging the brands responsible for plastic pollution by posting photos of (1) branded plastic waste found in nature (tag the brand and using the hashtag #IsThisYours) and (2) excess plastic packaging at retailers (tag the brand and use the hashtags #PointlessPlastic, #RidiculousPackaging, and/or #BreakFreeFromPlastic).

Suck the Straws Out | Inland Ocean Coalition

The purpose of the campaign is to provide opportunities for communities to learn about the impacts that plastic straws are having on the environment and to take action to reduce and ultimately eliminate their use. The difference between this straw campaign and others is that it is tailored to each participating city, county, or state. Each location receives customized campaign materials, and the original Boulder Committee provides leadership for all other committees and campaign activities regionally and nationally. Committees approach local establishments and encourage them to sign the Suck the Straws Out Pledge.

Story of Plastic | Story of Stuff Project
In 2019 The Story of Stuff Project will release its first feature-length documentary, “The Story of Plastic.” The film will tell the story of the industry plot to trash the planet for profit, and the global movement rising up to stop it. We’re busting Big Plastic’s myths and drawing back the curtain on the true cost of plastic pollution at every stage, from production to disposal. Featuring interviews with frontline heroes from Texas to Tagaytay, we’re setting out to reveal a system that is poisoning communities around the globe – and the vibrant movement working to build a world free from plastic pollution.

Check it out!

Back the Bottle Bill | Story of Stuff Project

Plastic bottles are one of the most common types of plastic pollution on earth, choking our oceans and ecosystems, fueling climate change, and contributing to a human health crisis.

There’s a simple solution – a small, returnable, deposit on bottles, that has empowered states like Michigan and Portland to virtually eliminate littered bottles and lower emissions, and pressure on landfill sites along the way.

So why isn’t this no-brainer everywhere? Container deposits have been ferociously attacked by the beverage industry. The major companies talk up recycling but kill the best way to achieve it. It’s time to call them out: Tell Coke, Pepsi, and Nestle to back container deposits!

Save Wildlife from Plastic | Center for Biological Diversity
center for biological diversityHelp us stop plastic pollution at its source by putting the brakes on runaway plastic production and by pushing manufacturers to take responsibility for the environmental degradation that they are causing. We’re holding plastic polluters accountable under our water pollution laws, protecting wildlife from plastic pollution, and mobilizing resistance to the fossil fuel industry’s plans to expand plastic production. Take Action.

 Take Action

Ocean Friendly Restaurants Program | Surfrider Foundation
Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program works with the restaurant community to recognize and promote ocean-friendly practices for the protection of our ocean, coasts and planet. One restaurant, one customer at a time, increases awareness, drives change in behavior and ultimately creates scalable impact to reduce our plastic and water footprint.

 Support Surfrider Foundation!

Rise Above Plastics program | Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics program is designed to eliminate the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.

Support Surfrider Foundation!

Stop Waste Before it Starts | Rethink Disposable
In 2011, Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund launched ReThink Disposable— an award winning and results driven program that works in partnership with municipal stormwater and zero waste agencies to engage food businesses, institutions (academic and corporate campuses), and consumers to minimize disposable take-out food and beverage packaging at the source. The program creates win-win opportunities for businesses and the environment by identifying money saving practices to reduce single-use food and beverage packaging. Auditors work with participating businesses and institutions to implement ReThink Disposable’s Best Management Practices (BMPs) for source reduction. All disposable packaging targeted for reduction is tracked and measured through an audit process and program impacts, such as the number and percent of disposable packaging eliminated, waste prevention, greenhouse gas reductions, payback period and cost savings are calculated. To date, the program has engaged 125 small, locally owned and operated food businesses around the San Francisco Bay Area and five institutions in reducing disposable products usage by over 15 million items and preventing over 125 tons of waste each year.  ReThink Disposable won the 2015 Governor’s Economic and Environmental Leadership Award (CA) and the 2016 California Resource Recovery Association’s Outstanding Waste Prevention Award.  Several businesses participants have received awards and recognition from local government agencies, mayors, and city councils. ReThink Disposable will see a burst of program growth in the San Francisco Bay Area in the coming 2018-2020 years with funding in place for 200 new certified food businesses and institutions. We are expanding into Southern California and Clean Water Action offices in New Jersey and Rhode Island. To learn more about the program, please visit www.rethinkdisposable.org. Support Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund!

TrashBlitz LA! | 5 Gyres
 TrashBlitz evaluates plastic pollution throughout the watershed and near-shore environments focusing on data collected by citizen scientists. The first TrashBlitz will launch in Los Angeles in 2019. Results from the project will help create a toolkit for other cities to follow. The toolkit will help cities and its public citizens make more informed and targeted policy decisions to stop the flow of plastic pollution from source to sea. Modeled after the successful “BioBlitz” program that measures biodiversity, TrashBlitz measures the amount and type of plastic pollution in several environmental compartments in a particular region in order to provide a snapshot of the city’s plastic footprint to help inform a mitigation strategy.

Learn More!

A Strawless Ocean l Lonely Whale
Lonely Whale’s For A Strawless Ocean serves as a roadmap for any individual, community or organization to spearhead a plastic straw-free movement. In the US alone an estimated 500 million single-use plastic straws are used daily and are one of the top 10 plastic items found in global beach cleanups year after year. In addition to guidelines and best practices, For A Strawless Ocean provides an open-source brand identity, campaigning guidebook, an Artificial Intelligence-powered chatbot, free customizable marketing and venue materials, staff training materials, and resources for discounts on Lonely Whale-vetted alternative straws. #BreakFreeFromPlastic and join the movement For A #StrawlessOcean!

Take Action for a Strawless Ocean

Zero Waste Project | Conservation Law Foundation

Plastic Free New England — While in the past the Zero Waste Project focused on opposing landfills and incinerators and promoting the adoption of Zero Waste Programs (for instance, City of Boston development of a Zero Waste Plan, keeping sewage sludge out of the processing of food scraps, spreading PAYT), this year we will also be targeting plastic pollution. We are working with legislative, non-profit, and muncipal partners in all six states to pass legislation that bans products that can’t or won’t be recycled (bags, styrofoam, straws upon request only, plastic utensils, etc.), improves plastic recycling (minimun recycled content, tethered caps, etc.), and shifts the burden off of cities, towns, and states through deposit return and extended producer responsibility systems.

Check it out!

Microplastics in Colorado Waters | Inland Ocean Coalition

The Inland Ocean Coalition has partnered with scientists and educators from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and other NGOs in Boulder, CO, to form a working group that advances science and knowledge of microplastic issues in Colorado.

In 2017, the IOC collaborated with the Shaw Institute to produce a pilot study assessing microplastics in Colorado waters, which found evidence of microplastics in several high alpine mountain tributaries and urban reaches of Boulder Creek and the South Platte River. The working group is now looking to develop Phase II which will consist of a robust study with statistical power that uses a watershed-scale approach and incorporates citizen science.

Once Phase II is complete, Phase III will involve community engagement and education. Phase IV will include policy recommendations and action at local and national levels. Ultimately we want to know what happens to the water as it goes through our watershed, which will enable us to use the data to encourage best practices.

Check it out!

Europe & Africa

Rethink Plastic takes on European plastics policy
Europe is the world’s second largest plastic producer and the vast use of plastic is growing yearly – but now we have a chance to clean up our act. The EU Commission recently passed the EU plastics strategy. This could mean real change for better or a bitter disappointment. The EU wants to fight the waste problem, but behind the scenes, the plastic lobby is fighting for its interests – for example, against bans on single-use plastic. It’s up to us to tip the balance.  It’s high time to rid the seas and rivers from being flooded with millions of tons of plastic waste. We ask you to stop the trashing of our oceans and to commit to the vision of a world free of plastic pollution. This means setting ambitious goals to reduce the production and use of plastic. You will also need to ensure that plastic is made toxics-free and that recycling greatly increases. Join the Call for reduction, redesign, and better management of plastics.


Plastic Bag Free Day
The International Plastic Bag Free Day is a unique opportunity to spread the word that a plastic bag free world is possible and that sound environmental alternatives to single use plastic bags are available.


Break Free From Plastic member organizations are committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities

Our member organizations are working on initiatives ranging from: corporate accountability in identifying and innovating on reusable alternatives, to policy development that stops plastic pollution at the source, and also engagement with businesses to help them reduce their plastic footprint. These initiatives include a broad and diverse group of stakeholders, some of which work to champion the voices and particular needs of people with disabilities.

Take a look at these great resources from our member organizations:

What Plastic Activists Need to Know About Disability Justice- Greenpeace:

Guest blogger Rev. Theresa I. Soto breaks down how our movements can approach the single-use plastic crisis while lifting up multi-issue lives.

Check it out

Action on Plastics Shouldn’t Make Life Suck for Disabled People - Greenpeace:

Guest blogger Jamie Szymkowiak, co-Founder of disability rights organization One in Five. discusses why disabled people shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat by large corporations or governments who are unwilling to push suppliers and manufacturers to produce a better solution.

Check it out

For A Strawless Ocean Disability Statement- Lonely Whale:
Lonely Whale’s movement For A #StrawlessOcean is working with members of the disability community to advocate for the needs of disabled individuals who require a straw to drink. We are committed to working with the disability community to ensure that voluntary adoption of our campaign is inclusive, to identify plastic straw alternatives that work for everyone, to make exceptions for plastic straw use in establishments while there currently are not alternatives, and to ensure alternatives readily available at any establishment. We believe that with thoughtful dialogue between environmental and disability communities we can address the growing plastic pollution crisis without compromising the needs of the disability community. We welcome the opportunity to speak further with those who represent the disability community at large, especially in cities and towns currently enacting or considering enacting straw bans,  to ensure any opportunity we have to advocate for more inclusive policy language proposed by cities, counties and states and voluntary change in response to our campaigns protect the accessibility rights for those within the disability community.

Check it out

Surfrider Foundation Disability Statement:
The Surfrider Foundation and its chapters advocate for policies that reduce plastic pollution at the source.  One of these efforts is the mitigation of plastic straw use through a “straw upon request” policy or plastic straw ban that maintains accommodations and exemptions allowing anyone who needs a straw to obtain one. Surfrider wholeheartedly agrees that anyone who needs a straw should have access to one. People with disabilities should be incorporated in the stakeholder outreach process for developing laws designed to address plastic straw pollution, and Surfrider will encourage municipalities and states to reach out to potentially affected communities, like people with disabilities, when writing local ordinances or state law.


Support and be part of #breakfreefromplastic in action around the globe!

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