About the founders
Our grave concern (bordering on complete obsession) about plastic pollution brought us together in 2016 at numerous plastic pollution events. (Yes, plastic pollution events are very much "a thing").
After many years of clean-ups/data collection/public education, we came to understand the scale of the problem: the amount produced annually outweighs all of humanity, it's now documented in our air, soil, and water, from the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The most meaningful way to address the issue is to prevent plastic from being made.
Heather, being a parent, and frustrated with the annual back-to-school prescription of cheap, disposable plastic supplies, saw an opportunity to provide a "waste-less" solution for her son's school. She crowdfunded and stocked each classroom with plastic-free school supplies.
So, we turned what started as an activist/volunteer effort, into Wisdom Supply Co., a Benefit Corporation on a mission to reduce plastic waste on an exponential scale.
WISDOM, THE WORLD'S OLDEST KNOWN BANDED WILD BIRD
Large seabirds known as albatross have the dubious honor of serving as the canary in the coal mine when it comes to plastics in the ocean. Despite the IUCN’s listing of nearly all species of albatross as threatened, one particular bird has persisted against the odds – she is known as "Wisdom" the Laysan Albatross, and is the oldest wild bird ever recorded. According the the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service “She is at least 65 years old and a world renowned symbol of hope for all species that depend upon the health of the ocean to survive.” In February of 2018, Wisdom hatched another chick. We wish them both good health and long lives, and dedicate both the name of the business, and the work that we do in honor of magnificent creatures like the albatross, caught up in the fallout of our disposable culture.
IMAGES FROM THE PACIFIC
The images in the links below can make it feel difficult to bear witness, but at Wisdom Supply Co., we believe the time for facing the harms caused by convenience culture has come. With this knowledge comes the drive to make the immediate changes in our habits and purchasing choices, that can prevent tons of plastics from ever entering the world wide waste stream.
Landfill-bound supplies (binders, spiral-bounds, and folders) thrown "away" on the last day of school.
INFORMATION ABOUT PLASTIC POLLUTION
Plastic doesn't really "go away" or biodegrade, it can break down into smaller pieces of plastic, and it can photo-degrade into smaller, more brittle pieces from exposure to the elements over time. Either way leaves behind fragments and particles referred to as microplastics. It is important to understand that just because the pieces are incredibly small, doesn't mean they have gone away. The impact of micro and nano plastic particles on the environment is profound. Plastic pollution and microplastics have been documented in dirt, air, ice-core samples, lakes, and streams. It's on the highest mountains and in the greatest depths of the ocean – It's in the intestinal tracts of all manner of marine life from tiny zooplankton, to fish, sea turtles, seabirds, and whales. Plastic fallout can be found quite literally everywhere on earth. To get up to speed on the topic quickly and accurately, visit The 5 Gyres FAQ page linked in the photo ->