Member Spotlight: Axiology, Ocean Missions, Stardust, Zero Waste Chef

Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) Members come from a wide range of sectors and are aligned in their mission to build a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on communities and ecosystems around the world. The Coalition Spotlight is our monthly blog to uplift and showcase their work, giving our readers an inside look at some influential change-makers. This month, we highlight four members who are eliminating plastic from cosmetic products, inspiring ocean conservation in the Arctic, replacing plastic bags with jute fiber, and demonstrating zero waste in the kitchen.

Axiology

Axiology is a U.S.-based indie and BIPOC-owned beauty care company on a mission to end plastic waste in an industry that creates a whopping 120 billion units of packaging waste every year. Their award-winning, plastic-free color sticks for eyes, lips, and cheeks are made of 10 simple ingredients, all of which are 100% palm oil-free, vegan, synthetic fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and plastic-free.

In 2022, the company decided to ditch plastic in their packaging to set a new standard for the beauty industry. All of Axiology’s products come in plastic-free packaging, housed in FSC-certified, recyclable paper. Their secondary packaging is made from recycled discarded paper by women in Bali, Indonesia. The women’s co-op collects paper trash from around the island and uses traditional Balinese methods to recycle, fold, and stamp their boxes by hand. This reduces pollution and supports women in developing countries.

Axiology’s Balmies were recently nominated for the 2024 Allure Readers Choice Award in the best lip category and are gaining traction throughout zero-waste stores across the U.S. For their commitment to plastic-free packaging, they’ve been featured in prominent magazines, from The New York Times to Vogue. At Plastic Pollution Coalition, we featured their products in our 2023 Holiday Guide as a safe, plastic-free replacement for toxic beauty products.

Ocean Missions

Photo by Ales Mucha

Ocean Missions is a nonprofit organization from Húsavík, Iceland, on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Through a combination of traditional sailing, education, and citizen science, they work to inspire people to take direct action to protect the oceans. Each year, their team leads two major sailing expeditions and hosts regular Whale Sails and Science Tours in Skjálfandi Bay to study microplastic pollution, eDNA, and zooplankton, while monitoring whale and bird populations in Icelandic waters.

Last year, in collaboration with other local organizations, Ocean Missions gathered scientific evidence to help designate Iceland’s first Hope Spot, the Northeast Iceland Hope Spot. Hope Spots are unique ocean areas recognized by the international scientific community as critically important, inspiring collective action and strong legal marine protections. In this brief video, Dr. Sylvia Earle introduces the Northeast Iceland Hope Spot and summarizes the environmental significance of this special region. 

Ocean Missions recently published their first scientific paper about microplastic pollution in Icelandic nearshore surface waters, with Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Communication Manager, Erica Cirino, as a co-author. Additionally, they have begun sampling water from whale feeding grounds to send eDNA to countries across Europe for a series of ecological studies, which is all part of Ocean Missions’ co-founder Belén Garcia Ovide’s doctoral thesis in partnership with the eWHALE project. 

Learn more about their upcoming expeditions and check out their 2022–2023 Impact report for a detailed summary of their important work. There are many ways to support Ocean Missions, from business sponsorships to individual volunteering.

Stardust Sustainables

Stardust Sustainables is a recent Coalition Business Member who is on a mission to eliminate plastic bags by providing strong, 100% biodegradable grocery and shopping bags. These bags are made primarily from jute, a regenerative fiber that is grown without fertilizers, pesticides, or irrigation. Typically, jute bags are laminated with plastic because unlaminated jute bags tend to shed a lot of fiber. Stardust bags are made from a special textile called JuCo, which is 70% Jute and 30% Cotton, allowing for a thinner thread and a tighter weave, and importantly, creating a bag that is 100% plastic-free. Best of all, these bags truly biodegrade in just 9 weeks, replenishing nutrients to the soil when they are ready to be disposed of. 

These bags are manufactured in India by a company that is Fair Trade, GOTS, Sedex, and amfori certified. The jute used in the threads are grown alongside rice plants and help provide nitrogen as a cover crop, needing only rainfall to grow. The final product is a bag that is sturdy, regenerative, durable, and after hundreds of uses can be converted quickly into soil without the use of anaerobic digesters or industrial composting facilities. They also are customizable, featuring unique and colorful designs that inspire wide adoption of reuse, from small grocers and ski resorts to individuals that previously relied on single-use shopping bags.

Stardust bags are now available in more locations than ever, including several National Parks retail shops, Market of Choice supermarkets, 30 REI stores, and many other locations throughout the U.S. They are continuing to expand their collection of designs and strive to make Stardust bags accessible to everyone. 

The Zero Waste Chef

The Zero-Waste Chef, Anne-Marie Bonneau, has inspired people around the world to cook better food and reduce packaging waste in the kitchen. By addressing plastic packaging in the kitchen, through bulk store refills in glass, shopping at the farmers market, and sourcing her ingredients straight from farms, she has also increased the quality of her meals by eliminating processed foods. 

Her book, The Zero-Waste Chef: Plant-Forward Recipes and Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen and Planet, offers practical solutions for your own zero-waste journey, from grocery lists without the plastic, to freezing, glass jars, and composting. The book (and her website) also includes a number of tasty recipes that are better for our bodies and the planet. The book has won numerous awards and provides actionable, creative tips to prevent food waste and plastic packaging from polluting our shared planet.

Visit Anne-Marie’s website to learn more about her journey, improve your gardening skills, visit her recipe box, challenge yourself to reduce plastic, and mark your calendars with upcoming workshops and events! She even authors a series of blogs that offer inventive and practical zero-waste ideas, from decluttering to pickling scrap veggies.

Does your business or organization align with our mission to build a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts? Apply to join our global movement.

April 17 , 11:30 am 12:30 pm EDT

The Surfrider Foundation and FIDRA are hosting a webinar about the planet-wide problem of plastic pellet pollution and opportunities to prevent it, including through U.S. legislation and in the Global Plastics Treaty. Guest panelists include representatives from FIDRA, Noia Limpia, Nurdle Patrol, and 5Gyres, with U.S. Congressman Mike Levin, author of the Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act, providing opening remarks.

April 10 , 5:00 pm 6:00 pm EDT

Join EarthEcho International, Earth Law Center, The Ocean Project, and World Ocean Day for this virtual event on April 10th from 5-6 pm EDT, featuring Shamyra Lavigne, Safiya Sawney, Joshua Prentice, Rachel Bustamante, Sam Athey, and Tori Hunt for a conversation on plastic justice. This webinar comes at a crucial time nearly two weeks before the next round of negotiations begin on a global treaty on plastic pollution (INC-4). Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from experts across human rights, social justice, and ocean science.

We need justice at INC-4 to better protect people and the planet. Make sure to be part of this conversation to learn ways we can take action to support centering ocean justice in the Global Plastics Treaty. #INC4Justice #GlobalPlasticsTreaty #OceanJustice

June 7 , 7:00 am 1:30 pm EDT

UN World Oceans Day 2024 is hosted by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs (DOALOS) in partnership with Oceanic Global. Join the United Nations (UN) on 7 June 2024 for a hybrid celebration of UN World Oceans Day, hosted both virtually and in-person at the UN Headquarters in New York.

April 4 , 2:30 pm 3:30 pm EDT

The Trash Free Waters program will be hosting a webinar to discuss the relationship between plastics and climate change. From production and transport to consumption and disposal, plastics have a profound impact on our environment, including our climate. During this webinar, three expert panelists will provide information on the effects of plastic consumption and production on climate change and answer your questions about this serious problem. Join us for this webinar to explore the nature and scale of this problem, hear about policy options to mitigate its effects, and learn about the disproportionate burden placed on vulnerable populations. Closed captioning will be available during the webinar.

Speakers:

  • Alice Zhu, PhD Candidate & Vanier Scholar at the University of Toronto, Co-Founder of Plastics & Climate Project
  • Dr. John M. Doherty, Science and Policy Analyst at Environmental Law Institute
  • Margaret Spring, Chief Conservation and Science Officer at Monterey Bay Aquarium

April 15 , 8:00 am April 17 , 5:00 pm EDT

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) is honored to co-host the 7th annual Our Ocean Youth Leadership Summit (OOYLS) in Athens, Greece from April 15-17, 2024 in cooperation with Our Ocean Greece (OOC-9) and with support from the Ministry of the Environment and Energy of Greece (MoEE).

This event marks a significant opportunity to engage and empower the next generation of global ecopreneurs and ocean leaders by bringing together their visionary ideas and solutions for the greatest challenges facing our ocean. In 2024, the Summit will be fully integrated into the main Our Ocean Conference and will embody the overall theme: ‘Our Ocean, An Ocean of Potential’. 

This year, the Summit will address the Conference’s six areas of action (Climate Change, Marine Pollution, Maritime Security, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Sustainable Blue Economy, and Sustainable Fisheries) while emphasizing four key focus areas:  

  • Sustainable tourism in coastal areas and islands
  • Green shipping
  • Reduction of marine plastic and microplastic pollution
  • Green transition in the Mediterranean

Attending OOYLS will empower young leaders to gain valuable experience and knowledge in the ocean sector, expand their network, and develop their professional skill sets while making a positive impact on ocean health and resilience.