Dear Advocates,

If we’re not cleaning up the oceans, what exactly are we doing? In recent newsletters, we took you on a journey upstream to show how we address the root of the plastic crisis through “upstream solutions”. Rather than focusing on downstream efforts like cleanup, we build and empower community, conduct scientific research to answer key questions, and work with brands to drive change from within. And now, we conclude our journey as we arrive at the holy grail – policy change.
We know that policy may not be as exciting as a trash-sucking vacuum or plastic-munching bacteria, but it’s more effective. There’s a popular analogy among the movement – “If your bathtub is overflowing, you don’t start by mopping up the water. You turn off the tap first.” Policy gives us an opportunity to turn off the tap on plastic pollution by stopping production of harmful single-use items, removing toxic materials and additives, and encouraging material redesign.

Because of you and your support, this year’s work led to impressive progress made at the Local, State, and Federal levels.
LOCAL: Los Angeles County passed an ordinance requiring single-use foodware to be compostable or recyclable, bans expanded polystyrene (EPS) products, and requires reusables at eateries, while (just this month!) Los Angeles City passed three ordinances banning EPS products, prohibiting all single-use plastic bags, and requiring zero-waste plans for all City facilities and events.
STATE: The Plastic Pollution Reduction & Recycling Act (SB 54) was signed into law, aiming to “turn off the tap” on single-use plastics in California. While 5 Gyres remained neutral on this bill (learn why here), we played a role in key stakeholder meetings to share scientific research and stay true to our Honest Broker mission.
FEDERAL: We joined advocates from around the country and descended on Capitol Hill to lobby for the #BreakFreeFromPlastic Pollution Act. It was inspiring and energizing to be part of 44 meetings with congressional offices to underscore the urgent need to pass this bill into law and protect people and the planet from plastic pollution. As part of the Plastic Free Parks Working Group, we are also trying to reduce the Department of the Interior's 10-year timeline to phase out single-use plastic in national parks and federal lands through data collection and community science.
When we educate lawmakers, build trust amongst stakeholders, and strategically push for positive progress for our planet, we all win. Your support means we can spend time and resources on important advocacy work that ultimately drives BIG impact. So, thank you for your steadfast dedication to 5 Gyres and our mission, we can’t do our work without you!

In policy we trust,

Alison Waliszewski
Director of Policy
Donate to Support Policy Change
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