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Reuse, Resilience, and COVID-19
We all gotta eat, and we all deserve the safest possible packaging and access to food. Here’s how you can protect the food coming into your home and support local businesses during the coronavirus outbreak, with a look at greater systems change.
In this special feature, we explore food safety and concerns around COVID-19 with Jane Muncke, PhD ecotoxicologist and Managing Director of the Food Packaging Forum, and Matt Prindiville, UPSTREAM Imagineer & CEO. This episode celebrates solutions for our immune systems and public health, so we can emerge from this unprecedented time safer and stronger together.
This is an episode you won’t want to miss! Please let us know if there are any topics you’d like us to cover by reaching us at email@example.com – and SUBSCRIBE to stay tuned in to the latest from UPSTREAM.
|Mar 23, 2020|
Running for Change with Sam Bencheghib
“No idea is crazy enough to change the world... but you might as well try.”
This is the motto and mindset of the Make a Change team, a trio of siblings who grew up in Bali and decided as pre-teens to start working on one of the biggest challenges they saw in their community: plastic pollution. The organization uses adventure and social media as a vehicle for behavior and policy change. In this episode, we hear about Sam’s epic feat of running 117 back-to-back marathons across 13 states - the ups and downs, the impacts of his passion on people and places along the way, and his big plans for the future with Make a Change.
Listen now & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
And learn more from Sam and his siblings at
|Mar 12, 2020|
Cups: the Gateway Drug to Throw-Away Culture?
In this episode we get a glimpse into the future of the throw-away free city with Vessel founder and CEO, Dagny Tucker. Vessel is bring reusable cup sharing systems to cities across the US and helping Americans ditch throw-away culture, one cup at a time.
But for Dagny, a behavior change specialist, designer and ideator, it’s not just about cups. Vessel is all making every day values-aligned action easier and helping individuals feel empowered to be part of the change they want to see in the world. Dagny shares the research and philosophy behind behavior change that drive Vessel, and how choosing reuse at the coffee shop can be a gateway action.
|Feb 13, 2020|
Diving into an Indisposable Economy
Incredible things are possible when our professional lives align with our personal values. We explore some of them with Berna Tural, who shares how scuba diving took her from a successful corporate career to dedicating her life to solving our plastic pollution crisis.
Berna is now Director of Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives at UPSTREAM, where she’s helping us build a better way than throw-away with reuse business models across America, and she’s starting in New York. Tune into her inspiring story and get some sneak peeks into what we’re up to in NYC and beyond!
|Jan 16, 2020|
Unbottling Water: The New Refill Economy
Ready for some inspiration about how awesome the future without throw-away bottles is going to be—and how much is happening already to get there? Meet Samuel Ian Rosen, the visionary ecopreneur with some serious chops at scaling business solutions to real world challenges.
After building a game-changing storage solution company, Samuel brought his entrepreneurial problem-solving skills to the issue of plastic bottles and access to clean water. By turning the concept of a search engine into a “thirst engine,” he has quickly developed and grown Tap, a sustainable hydration company on a mission to eliminate the single-use plastic bottle. An invaluable app for refilling clean water on-the-go, Tap maps refill-friendly businesses, stations, and fountains across 30 countries and growing. With his app, so as long as you have your own bottle, you never need to buy a bottle of water ever again.
Learn more about the savvy global movement eliminating the need for throw-away bottles by making refill accessible and convenient across the world. Check out www.findtap.com and @findtap on instagram to get involved!
Listen now & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
|Nov 08, 2019|
Ad Campaigns for Social Change
Lucky for us and the planet, pop culture campaign experts have joined the global force of change agents bringing their hearts and minds to the issue of plastic pollution.
In this episode we talk with culture creator and social marketer Emma Riley, Strategic Partnership Director for Lonely Whale - the organization that helped put the plastic pollution issue on the mainstream map in a big way with their #stopsucking campaign in 2017.
This year, Lonely Whale was named one of Fast Company's "World's Most Innovative Companies" of 2019, and they are at it again right now with the recently launched and influencer-backed #hydratelike campaign.
This episode looks ‘under the hood’ on Lonely Whale’s campaigns. We talk about the crucial role of market research, how social marketing compares with community organizing, lessons learned, and more.
For more on the campaigns we discuss, check out:
|Oct 29, 2019|
How can we keep plastic pollution a non-partisan issue? Why is this so important?
As elections politics and recycling trade wars heat up in the US, we turn to UK-based strategist Emma Priestland for some perspective. We touch on the topics of global and European plastics impacts, economics, unique lessons from UK politics and policy, narrative strategy, and more.
Emma has been working on plastic pollution policy and campaigning for the better part of the past decade. When this episode was recorded, Emma was working as a plastic pollution campaigner with Friends of the Earth UK. A marine biologist by training and expert in marine pollution, she has worked tirelessly to build a circular economy and support smart waste and packaging legislation as a policy officer for Seas At Risk. Emma recently took on an exciting new role as Corporate Campaigns Coordinator for Break Free From Plastic.
Listen now to Non-Partisan Plastic & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more tide-turning solutions!
Learn more about some of the campaigns we discuss in this episode at
|Oct 02, 2019|
Force of Nature
Activism at its best is not a choice but a call - a response to injustice. Diane Wilson’s story exemplifies this, and in this interview, we get the gift of speaking with this 70 year force of nature and shrimp fisherwoman turned pollution activist. Diane has written many books, won many awards, undergone many hunger strikes and days in jail for her civil disobedience brand of activism, co-founded Code Pink, and is known as an’‘unreasonable woman’, an ‘eco-outlaw’, and all around hell-raiser. She is fierce, dedicated, and full of humor, grit, wisdom and inspiration for anyone interested - or afraid - to do more to stand up to abuses of power.
Like many of us, Diane did not aim to be an activist, but was called to become one when she realized something she loved - her home county and its surrounding waters - was under threat. So Diane has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to protecting waters in the Texas gulf from industrial pollution. And exactly 30 years after she first began her water activism, in 2019 Diane and other Texas citizens won a tremendous victory in a rare citizen-led lawsuit against Formosa Plastics. After four years of data collection and legal process, the company has been deemed guilty of illegal dumping of plastic pellets, or ‘nurdles’, into Lavaca Bay, with millions of dollars in fines likely to come in a final trial this fall.
Diane’s activism is rooted in her relationship with her environemnt. She shares that in having her family’s roots in one place for 120 years, she doesn’t see the place as a resource, but as a living, breathing element of family. For those of us who don’t have 120 years of family history in a place - that’s okay, she says, just start with intention. Start by getting out of the air-conditioned offices sometimes and into direct relation with the earth. She reminds us that when we can truly connect with the earth, it has a lot of energy to give, and that this can fuel our efforts to become forces of nature ourselves to protect the places we love.
You can learn more about Diane’s story and books at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_Wilson.
Here’s one of many stories on the Formosa lawsuit win:
And here’s how you can get involved: https://www.stopformosa.org
|Sep 10, 2019|
Take Away Without Throw-Away: Reuse Made Easy with CupClub
Reusable mugs: you’ve bought and used them, loved and lost and forgotten them, replaced and reused them. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to remember to bring your mug everywhere you go to be part of the reusable revolution?
Wouldn’t it be great if cities had cup shares that work like our bike shares? Thankfully, some brilliant innovators are on it!
In this episode we talk with Safia Qureshi, an award-winning architect, innovation designer and educator, and founder of CupClub™ - a returnable packaging service for drinks that launched in the UK in 2018. Safia shares the nitty gritty design challenges involved in creating CupClub, and the world-changing potential of this circular economy solution.
Listen now to & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspiration!
Learn more at https://cupclub.com/
|Aug 23, 2019|
We all know that single-use plastic pollution harms marine life, so what better place to model throw-away free concessions than America’s aquariums?
In this episode we talk with Aimee David, the Ocean Conservation Policy Director for Monterey Bay Aquarium, a co-creator of the Aquarium Conservation Partnership, and visionary advocate for throw-away free venues and policy. Aimee shares the story of how Monterey Bay Aquarium has paved a path to reuse-based concessions that offers a model for transitioning food service away from single-use disposables. Listen in for some golden lessons learned, inspiring stories, and visionary exploration of how iconic venues can help transition our culture away from throw-away.
Listen now & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
Find out more at: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/conservation-and-science/our-priorities/ocean-plastic-pollution
|Aug 07, 2019|
Vending Machine Makeover
Vending machines - the place where you get stale, single serve, plastic-packaged snacks when you have nowhere else to turn, right? Not so fast!
Slow food meets convenience for reuse on-the-go in this episode, where we talk with Chloe Vichot, a New York City food ecopreneur and the co-founder of Fresh Bowl - the world’s first vending machine for fresh, local, healthy, throw-away-free meals.
Learn about Chloe’s journey from growing up in France to the culture shock of fast food America, to finding her a calling to bring health and simplicity back to our plates here in the States. You’ll hear also about the practical challenges, lessons learned, and creative solutions in implementing this exciting urban food system innovation.
Listen now, and as always, subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
Learn more at https://www.myfreshbowl.com/.
|Jul 23, 2019|
The Story of Plastic
In this episode, we get real with Stiv Wilson, an unparalleled advocate currently serving as Campaigns Director for the Story of Stuff Project, director of The Story of Plastic, and as a founding member of the Break Free From Plastic global steering committee.
Stiv shares about unique vantage point on the evolution of plastic movement strategy - from some big early wins like banning microbeads in the US to the recent Global Brand Audit campaign, plus from a focus on ocean impacts to a global strategy that tackles the issue from a human rights perspective across the entire supply chain.
We also get a sneak peek into the making and key messages of the Story of Plastic, a visually powerful documentary coming out this fall that tells the story of the true scope and scale of the plastic pollution problem, as well as some emerging solutions across the globe.
Listen now for a rich and geeky discussion about movement strategy and the incredible global effort happening through #breakfreefromplastic, the movement helping make throw-away so yesterday.
|Jul 03, 2019|
The Modern Day Milkman
With the hard work of TerraCycle and brands large and small around the world, the Loop store - https://loopstore.com/ - is now live for residents of Paris and the Mid-Atlantic United States.
Loop is a global circular shopping platform designed to eliminate the idea of waste by transforming the products and packaging of everyday items from single-use to durable, multi-use, feature-packed designs. Working in the US with Walgreens and Krogers and many additional partners, this program is a first ever effort to bring major brand products to your door and back to the brands to clean and reuse packaging. The modern milkman may look more like a UPS driver, and they very well may be changing the game of how we get our everyday household products, without all the single use waste.
While we know there are some awesome smaller scale versions of this idea out there already (check out www.PlaineProducts.com, for example, & use coupon code “UPSTREAM” for 20% off!), Loop has the attention of just about everyone working on the global plastic challenge for the potential scalability and game-changing nature of this solution. In this interview we learn all about the ins and outs, challenges and promise of the Loop pilot from Terracycle’s Anthony Rossi.
Listen now to The Modern Milkman & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
|Jun 20, 2019|
Slow Music with Rising Appalachia
What does sustainability look like on the road and across the globe as touring musicians? We asked Rising Appalachia, a tremendously talented and soulful band rooted in southern music tradition with their own modern twist. Its founding sisters, Leah and Chloe Smith from New Orleans incorporate world and urban influences with both timely and timeless lyrics to remind us of our shared humanity and responsibility for social and climate justice.
In their globe-trotting journeys, the group has been practicing what they call the ‘Slow Music’ approach to sustainable touring - reducing the needless plastic waste of music events and connecting with local communities and food systems wherever they can.
This episode features a reflective live conversation with Leah before the group’s Los Angeles release party for their new album Leylines, discussing the Slow Music Movement as well as their fresh new album, available now on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and Tidal.
|May 18, 2019|
Beauty without Waste
What if we didn’t need plastic bottles and toxic ingredients to take care of our hair and skin? This is the premise behind Samudra Skin & Sea, a wild seaweed skincare brand that also cares for the ocean.
Shilpi is a friendly force of nature, and in this episode she shares about the pleasures and challenges of running a values-driven business, about how she leverages the Samudra brand to minimize harm from consumer products and raise awareness on bigger global issues like ocean and plastic pollution, and how she balances it all with her day job.
Listen now to learn more about beauty without waste.
Subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
|May 09, 2019|
The Creative Power of Limits
When you live on a tiny island, the reality that waste has nowhere to go becomes very real. And when you live in a small community where everyone knows each other, banding together to find creative solutions to the challenges of waste management can lead to some pretty amazing solutions.
Listen in for some great insights into the creative power of both limits and community with eco-artist and Zero Waste educator Nikyta Palmisani of Lopez Island, Washington. This 2400 resident island is well on it’s way to becoming a truly Zero Waste community thanks in no small part to the unusual work being done by Nikyta and friends at the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District.
Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District (LSWDD) is an award winning community run waste, recycling, and reuse center with many innovative programs - from a volunteer-run free store to a youth-led ReMake Lab. Nikyta serves as their Training, Education & Outreach Coordinator and gives us the inside scoop on social activism, artistry, innovation and a maker mentality can help turn waste to gold.
Listen now to learn more about this unique story, and SUBSCRIBE to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
|Apr 25, 2019|
Bringing Back the Lunch Box
We are all influencers - whether we are famous celebrities like this week’s guest or leaders in our local communities, friend groups, and workplaces.
In this episode, we talk to Masters of Sex star Caitlin Fitzgerald about how she brings her values and activism into her work as an actress. Caitlin shares the story of her personal journey toward living her throw-away-free values in her every day life - from making reuse cool at home and on set to pushing back on fast fashion trends and treating each other better on set. There is no throw-away in Caitlin’s vision of a more beautiful world, and she gets a lot of meaning from simply taking action to live her values every day.
Though we may not all have as much public spotlight, there is a lot we can all learn from Caitlin’s journey to move beyond throw-away culture and become influencers in our own lives.
Listen now, & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
|Apr 07, 2019|
Think compostables are healthier than other packaging solutions? You may want to check out Mind the Store’s report on PFAS chemicals at top grocery chain for a disturbing reality check on these chemicals in compostables and other food packaging.
And is it a coincidence that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s made bold commitments to reduce PFAS chemicals in their products the same week this report came out? We think not.
Listen to learn about the behind the scenes strategy that went into this and other big toxics campaign wins from one of the great minds in social change work in America, Mike Schade.
Mike currently spearheads the Mind the Store campaign for the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Coalition, which pressures retailers to take more leadership on getting toxic chemicals off their shelves and develop systemic safer chemicals policies. He’s a bit of an unsung hero who has quietly led award-winning policy and corporate campaigns that have helped phase out toxic chemicals and materials like PVC plastic, phthalates, BPA and dioxin, flame retardants, methylene chloride, and now PFAS. We can all thank him for reducing our everyday exposure to some nasty chemicals that should have never been in our homes in the first place, which is probably why Ethisphere Magazine listed him as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics for 2007.
Quick links on some of the recent wins discussed in this episode:
Listen now to hear about some of Mike’s secrets to success, & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
|Mar 25, 2019|
Culture Hacking the End of Plastic
Remember when people used to smoke in restaurants? On airplanes!? How we used to make ashtrays in art class!? And how once upon a time that was all considered normal?
And are you old enough to remember life before fast-food drive throughs? That now ubiquitous part of American culture that results in billions of pieces of packaging waste each year did not even exist 50 years ago.
What can we learn from these major culture changes and how they have impacted our idea of what is normal? In this episode, we dive into these quirks of American history to help us envision a future where throw-away is so yesterday, with Matt Prindiville, Executive Director of UPSTREAM. Listen now for some big picture food for thought on how we really can make waste weird again.
Learn more about the programs Matt speaks about in this episode right here (www.upstreamsolutions.org)
|Feb 27, 2019|
Kate Nelson, aka the Plastic Free Mermaid, has been living without disposable plastics for over ten years. After an aha encounter with ocean plastics on a research vessel, Kate has explored just about every avenue of action to address our global plastic pollution crisis, from dressing up as mermaids for policy meetings to working with groups like San Diego Coast Keepers, Surfrider Foundation, and Jean Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society. She has become a bold and creative cultural influencer with a large social media following, a ‘Mercast’, blog and info-rich website www.iquitplastics.com. She leads ga and sailing retreats, her upcoming book, online tools, and personal coaching to help others live a more plastic free life.
In this episode we talk about her story and learning journey around how to have influence and impact on something you care about by radically changing your own life to align with your values. We talk about the ocean, traveling plastic free, what mermaids and selkies have to do with social change, and how living plastic-free can enrich your life.
If you’re inspired to learn more from Kate:
Listen now to hear some mermaid tales from Kate, & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
|Feb 26, 2019|
Plastic pollution harms human communities just as much as it harms the environment, and this harm falls disproportionately on communities of color here in the US and around the world. That’s why engaging those in ‘front-line communities’ - those most directly impacted by plastic pollution, is an essential part of any justice oriented movement. Learn all about best practices for environmental justice organizing in #breakfreefromplastic and beyond in this episode with Ahmina Maxey.
Ahmina’s background is in environmental justice organizing, having worked for nearly a decade in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan to protect the health and environment of the community. Through her work with the Zero Waste Detroit coalition she helped achieve citywide curbside recycling, and watch-dogged the Detroit incinerator (the largest in the country) resulting in millions of dollars in fines levied against the facility. As Associate Director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Ahmina worked at the city and state-level to improve Detroit’s air quality, leading to the passage of numerous policies protecting the environment and health of Detroiters. She is a 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan, 2011 Green for all Fellow, 2014 recipient of the Sierra Club's Bunyan Bryant Environmental Justice Award, and was included on Grist's 2017 list of 50 emerging green leaders. Most recently she worked as the North America and Canada Regional Coordinator for the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, and has been part of the strategic leadership of Break Free From Plastic US. In 2019 she has taken on an exciting new role as co-director of the Transforming Power Fund in Detroit, Michigan, a new Detroit-based social justice fund committed to transformative systems change, and sponsored by Allied Media Projects.
Listen now to learn about community justice and plastic pollution, & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on more solutions-focused inspirations!
|Feb 21, 2019|
A giant leap towards Throw-Away-Free Living
On January 22nd, 2019, the city of Berkeley, CA made national history by unanimously voting for an ordinance that Mayor Jesse Arreguin called “the most ambitious, comprehensive legislation to reduce throw-away foodware in the United States.”
The Disposable-Free Berkeley Ordinance will require reusable dishware for dining onsite, compostable packaging & flatware for to-go orders, & a 25 cent charge on to-go cups. The victory in Berkeley proves that eliminating disposable pollution is an attainable goal citywide beyond on the zero waste individual level.
In this first episode of The Indisposable Podcast, we hear the whole story from two of the leaders behind the ordinance, UPSTREAM’s own Program Director Miriam Gordon, & the Berkeley Ecology Center’s Executive Director Martin Borque.
This one is especially close to our hearts and mission, as UPSTREAM intends to take Throw-Away-Free Communities across the States to optimize the health of our neighbors & environment.
Listen now to the story of how Berkeley is achieving the better way than throw-away & subscribe to The Indisposable Podcast to stay updated on solutions-focused stories!
|Feb 21, 2019|
Introducing The Indisposable Podcast
UPSTREAM is pleased as punch to be Introducing a new podcast uplifting solutions to plastic pollution!
Each episode features interviews with UPSTREAM heroes - activists, alchemists, strategists, innovators, entrepreneurs, community leaders and other champions of the movement to end plastic pollution (and other needless waste, because it’s all connected, after all). We are focusing less on detailing the problem in this show, which is being done beautifully elsewhere, and more on amplifying solutions and stories of what’s already being done create the more sane and beautiful world we all want to live in. Because really inspiring things are happening right now, and we want more people to hear about them, get inspired, and get involved in creating a world without waste. If the future is a mosaic built of our vision (go with us here), each episode is a tile helping us see that beautiful future more clearly.
Listen to this very brief introductory episode to get a sneak peak at what’s ahead in season 1, and to meet your Indisposable Podcast host, Brooking Gatewood.
|Feb 20, 2019|