Eliana Olais working with Think Beyond Plastic in Honduras

Student Name:  Eliana Olais

Fellowship Organization:  Think Beyond Plastic

Fellowship Locations:  Carmel, California and the Bay Islands of Honduras

Dates of Fellowship:  April 1-August 28 2018

Description:  Think Beyond Plastic’s MesoAmerican Reef Project is a scalable regional pilot investigation into how multiple layers of innovation can create the economic engine supporting systemic changes in the issue of plastic pollution. Towards this goal, we are building a broad coalition with local partners and relevant stakeholders as well as the global environmental and business community. No other organization approaches the problem of plastic pollution in a more progressive, holistic way.

Think Beyond Plastic is a global innovation accelerator working to address the plastic pollution crisis and its impacts on human health and the environment, by harnessing the forces of innovation and entrepreneurship and the powers of the markets to do good.  We lead with the view that preventing plastic pollution in the ocean is a complex, multi-faceted issue that requires collaboration among innovators, investors, major brands, consumer advocacy organizations, and policymakers.  We accelerate innovation in new materials, new manufacturing processes, new recycling processes, and new design, and we build the innovation ecosystem that supports them.

The plastic pollution challenge is particularly evident in small island communities with limited municipal waste infrastructure and economic resources.  In 2016, we launched our Mesoamerican Reef Project in the Bay Islands of Honduras as a scalable, regional pilot investigation into how multiple layers of innovation can create the economic engine to support systemic changes in the issue of plastic pollution.    The long-term vision is to create and showcase a replicable model that is economically viable, shows measurable reduction of disposable plastic items, is permanent and financially sustainable, promotes community health, and generates new local economic opportunities.  The project is in its second year and has three tracks: (1) outreach and education, (2) policy development, and (3) business engagement.

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