5 Gyres Institute

  • CA


Santa Monica
United States

About Us

5 Gyres was originally founded in 2009 to investigate a few key unanswered questions about marine plastic pollution - the global distribution of plastic in the world's oceans and the ultimate fate of microplastics. In 2011, 5 Gyres completed the first global survey of marine plastic pollution through a series of research expeditions across 40,000 miles of ocean, finding evidence of plastic across all five subtropical gyres - oceanic current systems where plastic waste accumulates. Since it’s inception, 5 Gyres has lead sixteen scientific research expeditions, which resulted in the publication of the first global estimate of plastic pollution on the surface of our oceans - over 5.25 trillion pieces, weighing over 269,000 tons. These expeditions also provide a platform for engaging people in citizen science and discussions around plastic pollution solutions. 5 Gyres AmbassadorShip volunteer leadership program is comprised of many past expedition crew who have been trained in the science and solutions to plastic pollution, and provided with tools and resources to become effective agents of change in their local communities. In 2012 and 2013, 5 Gyres research in the Great Lakes found significant evidence of plastic pollution that was traced back to personal care products including face wash, exfoliating body wash, and toothpaste. These findings served as the basis of 5 Gyres Microbeads Action Campaign, which culminated at the end of 2015 with the signing of the national Microbead-Free Waters Act.