Founder & CEO; Head of Research and Foreign Affairs
I have acquired a relatively sophisticated palate over the years—roasted snake and steamed jellyfish don’t scare me anymore. But even I can’t compete with the remarkable bacteria that eat plastic for dinner; something about nibbling on half-empty bottles of Pepsi is unappetizing to me, but not only do Ideonella sakaiensis and Thermobifida fusca seem to enjoy it, they are also playing a critical role in plastic upcycling.
Over the past four years, I’ve spent countless weeks in the lab re-engineering the enzyme PETase secreted by Ideonella sakaiensis to improve its plastic-degrading ability. I’ve also researched many restrictive plastic bills, reached out to local senators about their policies, and created petitions in support of NY Senate Bills S7375 and S7463. I write for the environmental column of the Examiner local newspaper, where I am the only high school writer on the team.
I founded Breaking Down Plastics as a way to spread awareness about plastic pollution and to encourage people to reconsider their relationship with the environment. As this planet has given so much to its people, it is only fair for the people to do everything in their power to protect their planet.
Plastic Pollution Coalition’s expansive global alliance includes more than 1,300 organizations and businesses, and more than 14,000 individuals who have the shared goal of helping to create a more just, equitable, regenerative world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts. Not only do we listen to webinars about plastic pollution together, but we also combine efforts on beach cleanups and legislation.