Our Mission:


End ocean plastic and build thriving, inclusive economies

What We Do

Incubate, measure, amplify inclusive solutions that stop plastic waste from flowing into the ocean and advance the circular economy while generating positive social outcomes in emerging economies.


Measuring Our Success:

How Better Data Can Help Keep Plastic Out of the Ocean

We reviewed the existing landscape for ocean plastic metrics and tools in collaboration with a multisectoral group of experts to identify key trends and gaps in data and methods as well as opportunities to continue advance the field. 

View the resources reviewed as part of this analysis in our Knowledge Bank for a more in-depth look at existing research, resources and tools focused on solutions to address ocean plastics and measures of impact.

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The Issue

There is an estimated 150 million tons of plastic waste in the ocean today, with another 8 million tons added annually. Research by Ocean Conservancy estimates that a 45% reduction in plastic leakage is possible by investing in waste collection and recycling systems in just 5 countries in Asia. 

However, several factors are hindering the development of efficient, sustainable and investable waste management and recycling supply chains in South and Southeast Asia: 

  • Lack of capital

  • Shortage of investable ventures 

  • Underdeveloped value chains 

  • Complex policy and regulatory frameworks 

  • Lack of public awareness and participation

We need to establish equitable and broadly supported waste management ecosystems in order to solve this complex, multi-faceted issue, and embed solutions in economies and communities that will last for the long term. This requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders – policymakers, corporations, investors, NGOs, communities and entrepreneurs – to develop and implement the wide range of solutions needed.

The Approach

Incubate, Measure and Amplify

Backed by philanthropic, government and corporate partners, The Circulate Initiative provides entrepreneurs, policymakers, and investors with the knowledge and skills they need to incentivize, create, support and operate plastic waste-reducing, inclusive, circular economies.

Our approach focuses on three core strategies to achieve our goal of ending ocean plastic:


  • Incubate: Encourage more and better businesses and entrepreneurs to be involved in the circular economy in emerging countries, support them as they develop their businesses and create the enabling conditions they need to succeed.

  • Measure: Provide field-leading tools and metrics that allow stakeholders to understand the ocean plastic problem, set baselines and targets, and track the environmental and social impacts of their interventions to make better decisions.

  • Amplify: Provide decisionmakers, investors, and businesses with knowledge, inspiration, networks and resources to replicate and scale successes.


Our Collaborators

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Jenna Jambeck, PH.D.

GAA Distinguished Professor

in Environmental Engineering

University of Georgia

College of Engineering


William McDonough

Chief Executive

McDonough Innovation

Our Supporters