Like many non-profit organizations in the environmental space, 5 Gyres believes strongly in the importance of changing legislative policies around packaging and waste in order to drive metric reductions to plastics flowing into our environment. However, we are careful to ensure that we are well within the boundaries of the IRS laws limiting the amount of resources - including staff time and financial resources - that we invest in direct or grassroots advocacy. We track our time carefully to ensure we are in compliance, and given the scope of our work in education, science, and community building, our advocacy work is well under the limits established by the IRS. 

Asia Pacific Action Against Plastic Pollution

Established in collaboration with GAIA, Mother Earth Foundation and Yayasan Pengembangan Biosains dan Biotechnologi (YPBB), and supported by the U.S. State Department, our Asia Pacific Action Against Plastic Pollution project aims to reduce plastic pollution in Southeast Asia. Reaching 7,000 people in more than 140 villages in Indonesia and the Philippines, the goal is to scale on-the-ground efforts to implement zero waste strategies, annually preventing 14,000 tons of plastic waste from entering waterways and oceans.

5 Gyres believes that solutions to plastic pollution must begin upstream, with better corporate accountability for design, and comprehensive polices to eliminate the worst offenders. Together, we seek to implement innovative zero waste model initiatives that will reduce the input of plastic waste so as to achieve measurable reductions of waste leakage into waterways and oceans. Through 100% household waste collection with at least 90% participation in source separation, these programs will lead to immediate reductions in Tacloban, Malabon, Batangas and San Fernando in the Philippines, as well as villages that are part of Bandung City, Indonesia. 

Data on plastic pollution in regional waterways collected from these sites will support the development of 5 Gyres' BAN (Better Alternatives Now) List, a comprehensive list of the highest priority products for redesign, based on real world waste characterization and marine pollution data. This list will be used to develop policy and design recommendations and shareable protocols for conducting waste characterization research and toxicity analysis.

The projects will also bring providing co-benefits for public health, livelihoods for women, and local economies. With a strong emphasis on communications, trainings, and exchanges to share best practices, the program will catalyze zero waste commitments and initiatives in more cities. By 2018, we project that 25 additional local governments in the region will commit to new targets for waste reduction, collection, source separation, organics recovery, recycling, and proper residual management. The model projects will also include the creation of financial instruments and programs that facilitate the development of new and lasting zero waste and materials recovery infrastructure to ensure sustainability and ongoing impact.

Nix the 6 Action Campaign

Historically linked to the #beadfree Action Campaign on microbeads, the Nix the 6 Action Campaign raises awareness about the environmental and health problems associated with polystyrene and expanded polystyrene foam, better known as Styrofoam. The goal is to connect 20 million people to information about polystyrene and a pledge to refuse single-use polystyrene, as well as polystyrene bans in their communities. This campaign also tackles the new dangerous issue of preemptive legislation, the so-called “ban on bans.” Click here to get involved!

#BeadFree Action Campaign (2013-2016)

After discovering plastic microbeads in the United States in 2012, inspiring the coalition to get them banned nationwide, in 2013, 5 Gyres launched the #beadfree Action Campaign to discourage their use while waiting for the law to take effect. In just three months, the campaign diverted 16 billion microbeads from American oceans and lakes. Today, the fight continues on a global level. Click here to get involved!