Cover Malaysia's Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah is among the green champions on Asia's Most Influential list working to solve the plastic pollution crisis.

We’re living in a world choking on plastic—these green advocates and entrepreneurs are doing something about it

With Earth Day approaching, we zero in on the green advocates of Tatler Asia’s Most Influential list who have made it their mission to solve one of the biggest problems we are facing today: plastic waste. A January 2022 report by the Environmental Investigation Agency notes that “[p]lastic pollution is one of the most prevalent environmental pollutants and a significant driver of climate change and biodiversity loss.” It’s not hard to believe when you see it everywhere, accumulating on roadsides, floating on waterways and finding its way in animals (and even in human blood). Plastic waste is a global crisis, and these green champions are creating alternatives and solutions to reduce its accumulation. 

Douglas Woodring, Hong Kong

After finding plastic waste while diving in a remote spot in Palau, Douglas Woodring was prompted to establish the Ocean Recovery Alliance, the environmental NGO that creates programs to reduce plastic pollution in communities and industries. Its many projects include the Global Alert app, which is used to report trash hotspots in waterways and coastlines, and the Plasticity Forum, an annual conference that forecasts the future of plastic—recycling, design, materials and more. Recently, it launched Spyhop Facewear, a washable face mask whose proceeds are directed to protecting the ocean. According to the organisation, the colourful mask can prevent at least 160 pieces of plastic waste when used more than 80 times.

Read Douglas Woodring's full profile here.

Tommy Tjiptadjaja, Indonesia

With the mission of creating sustainable consumption and production, a UN Sustainable Development Goal, Tommy Tjiptadjaja and partner Sugianto Tandio co-founded Greenhope and launched its two brands, Oxium and Ecoplas. The former is an oxo-biodegradable additive that speeds up the degradation of plastic, decomposing it back into the soil in two to five years (versus up to 1,000 years). The latter is a cassava-based biodegradable bioplastic that can be used to create shopping bags or packaging products with lower carbon footprint and energy consumption.

Read Tommy Tjiptadjaja's full profile here.

Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah, Malaysia

Tengku Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah, daughter of Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, is the founder of the #SayNo2Plastic campaign, one of the biggest movements against single-use plastic in Indonesia. The Selangor princess uses social media to encourage people to use plastic alternatives, most notably the tiffin, a round metal lunchbox she carries often. The environmental advocate continues the fight against plastic, focusing recently on the Klang River rehabilitation. In an Instagram post, she says, “We all must do our part if we want to keep plastic pollution out of the river, out of our oceans. We need to #stopsingleuseplastic”. She has also raised awareness about the proper disposal of face masks and gloves.

Read Datin Paduka Setia Zatashah's full profile here.

Ayamany Sinakalai, Malaysia

The sight of plastic plates and cups littering roadsides moved Ayamany Sinakalai, founder of Fallaleaf, to look for alternatives to single-use plastics. He found the solution in a memory: when his grandmother would wrap his school meals in palm leaves and use banana leaves as dinner plates. Using his engineering background, the eco-entrepreneur transformed fallen areca palm sheaths or leaf branches into biodegradable tableware. The Fallaleaf plates, bowls and baking dishes, which he says, can be used up to 10 times, are made without chemicals, safe for use in microwaves and ovens and come in alternative shapes such as leaves—a reminder of the renewable raw material it was made from. 

Read Ayamany Sinakalai's full profile here.

Discover the changemakers, industry titans and powerful individuals who are making a positive impact on the region in the Asia’s Most Influential list from Tatler.

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.