Monterey Campus
460 Pierce Street
Monterey, CA 93940

Open to the Public

The Center for the Blue Economy presents: The Role of the Emerging New Plastics Economy: Addressing the Global Ocean Plastics Crisis?

Speaker: Ms. Daniella Russo, Founder and CEO of Think Beyond Plastics & Adjunct Professor, International Environmental Policy Studies program, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

Event Information:

Tuesday, October 31


McGowan Building, Room 102

Part of the Ocean and Coastal Resource Management Lecture Series

Free, open to the public, no registration required

Related website:

About the Topic: Marine plastic is an economic, environmental, human health and aesthetic problem posing a multidimensional challenge to humanity, often compared to climate change in terms of impact, breadth and complexity. We know that it affects our community as well, and the fragile eco-systems of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary we safeguard. Current efforts to harness it through recycling are inadequate to the exponential growth in consumption: recycling (worldwide) is affected by the dropping commodities prices of fossil fuels, which rendered virgin plastic cheaper than the recycled material. Many plastic recyclers have gone out of business. There are very small economic incentives to recycle. Yet plastic as a material is valuable and important, and offers multiple benefits to consumers and manufacturers and for the most part, without viable alternatives. Consumption has grown 20X times since the sixties (1.5MT in 1964 to 311MT in 2014), and industry projects that rate to triple by 2050. A McKinsey report released in 2016 projects more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. The negative externalities associated with this growth are staggering – plastic production will reach almost 20% of the global oil production; it will use 15% of the global carbon budget and will likely surpass the airline industry’s use of petroleum. To address this challenge, in the last five years there has been a growing interest in advancing innovation for commercially and economically viable alternatives to conventional plastics. At the forefront of this work is Think Beyond Plastic™, with its focus on early stage innovation and commercialization; and more recently, the New Plastics Economy initiative launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2016, with focus on circular use of materials and “a plastics system that works.”

About the Speaker: Daniella Dimitrova Russo believes that intractable environmental challenges can be addressed by harnessing the forces of innovation and entrepreneurship, and the power of the markets to do good. Since 2009, she has led the development of an innovation eco-system enabling the shift away from fossil fuel-based plastics towards bio-based, bio-benign materials from renewable sources and new manufacturing, and innovative consumer and business products specifically designed to handle these new materials. Daniella Dimitrova Russo is a serial entrepreneur. Her experience includes executive management of businesses from start-up phase through an IPO, as well as within Fortune-500 companies such as Frame Technology, Infoseek, Sun Microsystems, and Xerox PARC. Daniella Dimitrova Russo is a member of the Founders Board of Advisors at StartX, the Stanford University Accelerator. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate Program for International Policy and Management, at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey. In 2007, she launched Think Beyond Plastic™, the award-winning 360 campaign associated with National Geographic’s Strange Days on Planet Earth. The campaign included a creative mix of traditional media, social media, advocacy and hands-on outreach and grew to 360,000 people, businesses and organizations working to reduce their plastic pollution footprint. In 2009, she co-founded and led Plastic Pollution Coalition, and grew it to become the world’s largest NGO dedicated uniquely to plastic pollution. In 2012, she launched the Think Beyond Plastic™ Innovation Forum, a social impact venture that harnesses innovation, entrepreneurial and investment opportunities in solutions to plastic pollution. The Think Beyond Plastic™ innovation eco-system sources innovations, accelerates businesses and cutivates the impact investment network. Think Beyond Plastic™ is a model for addressing global sustainability problems that can be extended to food security and agriculture, clean energy, climate change and other pressing issues. Daniella Dimitrova Russo serves on the board of numerous public and private businesses. She is a frequent speaker on innovation and entrepreneurship, and the emerging role of the social enterprise engaging business, policy and civil society in a holistic approach to the planet’s global threats.

Lecture Location: The McGowan Building is located at 411 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA, 93940, on the campus of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Attendees will enter through the glass doors from Pacific street, and room 102 is located inside to the right. The McGowan Building is indicated as #20 on the campus map.

Parking: Parking is available in any Middlebury Institute campus lot after 5pm or on the street (time limits on surrounding streets end at 6pm).

Questions: Contact Rachel Christopherson at the Center for the Blue Economy at or 831-647-6615 x1.

Contact Organizer

Rachel Christopherson