GETTING CURIOUS | Where Does Plastic Go? 


Happy Earth Day, Curious People! To celebrate, we’re inviting research scientist Marcus Eriksen from 5 Gyres to the pod. Marcus tells us about his 88 day journey from California to Hawaii sailing on a raft made from 15,000 plastic bottles to research microplastics in the ocean and raise awareness about plastic pollution. Then Marcus answers all our questions like: how did plastic become so popular in the first place, why is so little of our plastic recycled, and what can we do on an individual and systemic level to create stronger policies and more robust solutions? Plus, Jonathan and Marcus go deep on the ongoing Global Plastics Treaty negotiations.

Marcus has led expeditions around the world to research plastic pollution and used that research to drive solutions. He co-published the first global estimate of marine plastic pollution and the discovery of plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes, which led to the federal Microbead-free Waters Act of 2015. He and his wife Anna founded 5 Gyres with an 88-day journey from California to Hawaii on a Junk Raft that they built from 15,000 plastic bottles. Now, Marcus and 5 Gyres continue to lead with scientific research to drive upstream solutions through education, advocacy, and community building.

You can follow 5 Gyres on InstagramTikTok, and Twitter at @5gyers, or on their website where you can find more ways to get involved.

Follow us on Instagram @CuriousWithJVN to join the conversation. Jonathan is on Instagram @JVN.

Transcripts for each episode are available at

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Our senior producers are Chris McClure and Julia Melfi. Our editor & engineer is Nathanael McClure. Production support from Julie Carrillo, Anne Currie, and Chad Hall.

Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to

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Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness