Who We Are

Who We Are

UPSTREAM sparks innovative solutions to plastic pollution.

But for us the problem isn't just plastic.
It's the throw-away culture that's at the root of plastic pollution and a host of other environmental issues.

So we work to "make throw-away go away" through:

Business engagement to transform iconic venues to become Throw-Away-Free Places.

* Policy making sit-down dining throw-away-free, paving the way for reuse businesses to tackle to-go.

Innovation bringing entrepreneurs, city officials and investors together to create the conditions for reusable to-go businesses to scale and thrive.

Social marketing campaigns that poke fun at single-use and show there’s a better way than throw-away (that’s way more fun!).

Meet UPSTREAM

We know this space and we know how to effectively lead in it.

We formally advise the UN’s Environment Program.

Our team collectively speaks to audiences of thousands within industry, NGO and government leaders every single year.

We helped create Break Free From Plastic and its U.S. hub plus a network of 15 states and 4 Canadian provinces working on sustainable product policy.

We are thought leaders for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) with more than 100 laws now on the books.

We helped the Urban Sustainability Network develop its first plastic pollution project.

We built the first plastic pollution movement in California.

There’s a better way than throw-away - join us in creating it.

Meet UPSTREAM

We know this space and we know how to effectively lead in it.

We formally advise the UN’s Environment Program.

Our team collectively speaks to audiences of thousands within industry, NGO and government leaders every single year.

We helped create BreakFreeFromPlastic and its US hub plus a network of 15 states and 4 Canadian provinces working on sustainable product policy.

We are thought leaders for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) with more than 100 laws now on the books.

We helped the Urban Sustainability Network develop its first plastic pollution project.

We built the first plastic pollution movement in California.

There’s a better way than throw-away - spark innovative solutions with us.

Meet UPSTREAM

We're Alchemists. We create the space, develop tools, and invite business leaders, policymakers and culture hackers to join us in changing the world.

We're Solutions Engineers.
We see a better future, and we want to build it with you.

We're Innovators and Catalysts. We're not into easy fixes. We work for lasting, transformative impact. We leverage everything we've got to drive systems change.

We're Storytellers.
We work to change hearts and minds, and spread good news!

We're Friendmakers and Movement Builders.
We inspire people to join us in making a difference together. And we're all about having fun while doing it :-)

We helped create #BreakFreeFromPlastic - an international network of more than 1400 NGOs working to solve plastic pollution. We built a network of local government leaders throughout the the US and Canada working for sustainable product policy. We helped the Urban Sustainability Directors Network develop its first plastic pollution project. We sparked the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) movement in the US with more than 100 laws now on the books. We've brought together thousands of business, non-profit and government leaders to solve big problems. We formally advise the UN’s Environment Program, and our team collectively speaks to large audiences of industry, NGO and government leaders every single year. We know this space and we know how to effectively lead in it.

For us, the future is real, reusable, and throw-away-free. Come join us and let's create it together.


Our Story

You might think we're anti-plastic zealots. We're not.

Our Board

New York City, NY
Portland, ME
Los Angeles, CA

Mark Hays

President
Washington D.C.
Palo Alto, CA and NYC
Portland, ME

Dawn Erlandson

David Stitzhal

Steve Sherman

Vice President
Minneapolis, MN
Treasurer
Berkeley, CA
Secretary
Seattle, WA

Lauren Daniluk

Jon Hinck

Marion Hunt

Clayton Kyle

Leslie Tamminen

Our Board

Mark Hays

President
Washington D.C.

Dawn Erlandson

Vice President
Minneapolis, MN

Steve Sherman

Treasurer
Berkeley, CA

David Stitzhal

Secretary
Seattle, WA

Lauren Daniluk

Palo Alto, CA and NYC

Jon Hinck

Portland, ME

Marion Hunt

New York City, NY

Clayton Kyle

Portland, ME

Leslie Tamminen

Los Angeles, CA

Caitlin Fitzgerald

Kamal El-Wattar

Evan Segal

Our Partners

5 Gyres
Algalita
#breakfreefromplastic
Californians Against Waste
CalRecycleCenter for Biological Diversity
Center for Coalfield Justice
CIEL
Clean Production Action
Clean Seas Coalition
Clean Water Action
Corporate Accountability
Earthworks
Ecocycle
Ecology CenterFood Packaging Forum
Food & Water Watch
FracTracker Alliance
GAIA

Greenpeace
Inland Ocean CoalitionI
PENNCEL
Natural Resources Council of Maine
NRDC
NYPIRG
PLAN
Plastic Pollution Coalition
Oceana

Responsible Purchasing Network
Safer Chemicals Healthy Families
The Story of Stuff Project
Student PIRGs
Surfrider
TEJAS
Texas Campaign for the Environment
Think Beyond Plastic
VPIRG
Zero Waste Washington

Our Team

Brooking Gatewood

Podcast Host and Collaboration Maven 

Brooking hosts UPSTREAM’s The Indisposable Podcast and guides our team on virtual collaboration and culture-building. She has worked on plastic pollution issues since 2016 as a facilitator and strategist. She has spent much of the last decade supporting collaborative leadership for many ambitious change efforts - from saving monarch butterflies to curbing diabetes. In her spare time, Brooking can be found writing and performing poetry, or hosting community-connection events in her local LA neighborhood.

Miriam Gordon, J.D.

Director, Program and Policy

Miriam has had a life-long interest tackling waste and toxics issues to make the world a better place. Previously, she was the California Director of Clean Water Action between 2008 and 2016, where she launched ReThink Disposable, a program that helps food service operations move to throw-away-free. She was a leading advocate helping the Clean Seas Coalition secure 150 local bag bans and 100 foam bans, and helped ban micro-beads in personal care products and secure the statewide bag ban victory in California. Working for the state, she authored the California Action Plan to Reduce Land-Based Discharges of Marine Debris and the California Marine Litter Reduction Strategy.

Eva Holman

Policy Coordinator and Organizer

Eva Holman is the co-founder of an San Francisco-based zero waste & plastic free business, Goods Holding Company, a long time volunteer for the SF Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and an Ambassador for 5 Gyres. She led the Rise Above Plastics Program for Surfrider SF, which looks for ways to reduce plastic pollution by finding alternatives to single use plastic, for 8 years. She has spent most of the last decade focused on finding alternative solutions for plastic straws, single use plastic cups and lids, plastic shotgun wads, plastic to go ware, single use plastic packaging and wrapping, plastic micro fibers, cigarette butts and more - and is dedicated to education and outreach in local schools and in SF neighborhoods.

Julie Lamy

Chief Friendmaker & COO

Julie joins Matt to form UPSTREAM's management team. Whether she's out front making friends and building networks or behind the scenes making sure UPSTREAM is working like a smooth machine, she is an ensthuastic believer in a better way than throw-away. Julie brings 25+ years of experience with non-profits of all sizes, community problem solving skills, and a Peace Corps experience to UPSTREAM. And she plays frisbee year-round, outside....in Maine. No cabin fever here.

Lauren Moore

Unicoordinator

A writer, editor, and activist, Lauren is UPSTREAM's Lead Unicorn, directing our flow of magic, management, social media, and special projects. Co-leading the #BreakFreeFromPlastic Integrated Narrative group with Shilpi Chhotray, Lauren works with partner groups to bridge the full story of plastics, from fossil fuel extraction to ocean microplastics. She also serves on the #BreakFreeFromPlastic US Convening Team, connecting groups working toward the same plastic-free future. 

Inder Nirwan

Lead Creative and Storyteller-in-Chief

Inder coordinates and executes much of UPSTREAM's outbound marketing. His background in filmmaking and storytelling brings a special kind of flare to the way stories are shared throughout UPSTREAM's ecosystem.

Matt Prindiville

Imagineer, Norms Entrepreneur and CEO

Matt is a recognized thought leader within the plastic pollution community and advises the United Nations Environment Program on their plastic pollution strategies. He is one of the founders of the global Break Free from Plastic Movement and the founder of the Cradle2 Coalition and Make It Take It Campaign. He helped establish and advance the Electronics Takeback Coalition, the Multi-State Mercury Campaign, and the Safer Chemicals and Healthy Families Coalition. Matt has written for the Guardian, GreenBiz, and Sustainable Brands among other publications. He’s been featured in the Economist, the New York Times, on NPR’s 1A, Jack Johnson’s Smog of the Sea film, and consulted with 60 Minutes on their plastic pollution special.

Jennie Romer, J.D.

NYC Policy Advisor

Jennie brings over a decade of experience as an attorney and sustainability consultant fighting for effective legislation to reduce single-use plastic bags and foodware. Jennie founded the website PlasticBagLaws.org, helmed successful coalitions in support of plastic bag legislation in San Francisco and New York City, and plays an advisory role for campaigns throughout the United States. Jennie's work was profiled by The New Yorker.

Berna Tural, M.B.A.

Director, Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives

Following a life altering dive experience in the Philippines she left her 20 year corporate career in 2016 to become an award winning underwater photographer, speaker, and ocean conservationist. She travels to the South Pacific, Asia, and Caribbean, to explore plastic’s impacts in remote areas and identify opportunities for collaboration to improve the status quo.  Based out of NYC, she organizes and participates in ocean events,, speaks at corporate and campus events to raise awareness and empower communities and people to BE the change. She is a speaker and writer for the ocean. Her work has been published in Ocean Geographic, Dive Photo Guide and the Goethe Institute. She is a co-author of the UN Report on “Solving the Plastic Problem.”