A Voice for Our Ocean

Ocean Conservancy Expert Joins Oregon Truth in Labeling Task Force to Curb Misleading Claims on Recyclability

Stanford-trained scientist, former Senator Merkley policy fellow to join statewide appointed cohort to provide recycling policy recommendations 

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Anja Brandon, Ph.D. Ocean Conservancy U.S. Plastics Policy Analyst

Washington, D.C. – Dr. Anja Brandon, Ocean Conservancy’s U.S. Plastics Policy Analyst, has been appointed to the newly created Oregon Truth in Labeling Task Force. The task force is part of the Plastic Pollution and Recycling Modernization Act signed by Governor Kate Brown (D-OR) in August 2021. The task force will study and evaluate misleading or confusing claims regarding recyclability and will consider issues affecting recycling access for diverse audiences.

At Ocean Conservancy, Dr. Brandon focuses on advancing plastic policy solutions at the state and federal levels. Previously, Dr. Brandon was the AGU/AAAS Congressional Science Fellow for U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR). She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University, where she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her work. Her doctoral research focused on understanding plastic waste management challenges and developing novel methods to break down common plastics.

“The State of Oregon is lucky to have such a fantastic advocate and scientist to curb the global problem of plastic pollution in our waterways,” said Nicholas Mallos, Senior Director of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program. “Dr. Brandon’s expertise in this field can help make Oregon a world leader in policies that work to make recycling more accessible and easy to understand.”

Dr. Brandon will be joining a twelve-person task force that includes members from the Legislative Assembly, local government, producers, and the recycling industry. By June 1, 2022, the task force will present its initial report findings to the Legislative Assembly.

“Recycling will only work if we stop pumping contaminants and unrecyclable materials into our waterways and we invest in a holistic disposal infrastructure,” said Dr. Brandon. “I am honored to join such a remarkable group of leaders to propose comprehensive and evidence-based solutions to make recycling work for all Oregonians.”

Last year, Ocean Conservancy reported that 69% of the most commonly collected items found on beaches and shores during the International Coastal Cleanup are effectively unrecyclable. A survey also found widespread confusion about the recyclability of food ware: on average, six in 10 Americans made incorrect assumptions about the recyclability of common plastic food delivery containers. Nationally, approximately one in four items placed into the recycling stream cannot actually be recycled.


About Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas® Program

Ocean Conservancy has led the fight for a clean, healthy ocean free of trash since 1986, when the U.S.-based nonprofit launched its annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). Since then, Ocean Conservancy has mobilized millions of ICC volunteers to remove trash from beaches and waterways around the world while pioneering upstream solutions to the growing ocean plastics crisis. Ocean Conservancy invests in cutting-edge scientific research, implements on-the-ground projects, and works with conservationists, scientists, governments, the private sector and members of the public to change the plastics paradigm. To learn more about our Trash Free Seas® program visit, and follow Ocean Conservancy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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