In 2016, 5 Gyres worked with Clean Production Action, Surfrider Foundation, and UPSTREAM to produce the Plastics BAN (Better Alternatives Now) List, which identified the most harmful plastic products sold in California and readily-available alternatives. The report was the first compilation of four datasets detailing the types of plastic pollution found in the state’s environment. It determined the top 15 offenders--including food wrappers and containers, plastic bottle caps, and plastic bags--and was timed to launch in support of Proposition 67, which banned the use of plastic bags in the state. The BAN List highlighted the near total lack of brand identity in the pollution datasets, detailed the functional and material alternatives that could replace the use of current single-use disposable products, and called on producers to invest in new material design, take financial responsibility for infrastructure costs and drastically reduce the use of single-use disposable plastic. Set for 2017, BAN List 2.0 will expand to a national focus.
Asia Pacific Action Against Plastic Pollution
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. In 2016, the U.S. State Department endorsed our vision of solutions-oriented initiatives to engage global partners, awarding us a significant grant to work on reducing the flow of plastic waste to Southeast Asian waters, especially in Indonesia and the Philippines, through a project called Asia Pacific Action Against Plastic Pollution. For the next two years, in collaboration with GAIA, Mother Earth Foundation, Lonely Whale Foundation, Story of Stuff, UPSTREAM, and Yayasan Pengembangan Biosains dan Biotechnologi (YPBB), we will employ a two-pronged approach: scaling on-the-ground efforts to implement zero waste strategies, and gathering data on poorly designed products to expand our Plastics BAN List internationally.
We're honored to be members of Break Free From Plastic, an international group of NGOs that joined together in 2016 to fight plastic pollution, sharing the common values of environmental protection and social justice. We are also founding members of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance of organizations, businesses, and thought leaders working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, and the environment.