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Upstream, a leading change agency for reuse, has announced its Most Innovative Reuse Company finalists, as well as the Activist and Community of the Year winners of The Reusies® 2024. The Reusies is a groundbreaking awards program that champions the heroes making reuse a reality by uplifting their stories and providing them with meaningful support.

Marta Young, Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund’s Zero Waste Specialist, received an Honorable Mention for Activist of the Year by Upstream for her efforts to grow the reuse movement in New Jersey! Marta leads Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund’s ReThink Disposable program in New Jersey which helps communities, government, schools, and businesses reduce trash and save money by shifting from single use disposables to reusables.

The Reusies will be presented live at GreenBiz’s Circularity 24 in Chicago on May 23, and will include profiles on the finalists and winners, award presentations, special guest appearances and a panel discussion of reuse leaders across different industries. A recording of the show will be available afterwards at

“The Reusies has grown to be more than just an awards show – it’s a platform to highlight solutions, an inspirational spark to encourage innovation and collaboration, and a resource to help the reuse movement grow,” said Crystal Dreisbach, Upstream CEO, in a  press release.

This year’s recipients for Community and Activist of the Year were chosen by a panel of experts and influential voices across the plastic pollution and climate movements. The Activist awardees will be featured during a special livestream event scheduled for Tuesday, April 23, 2024. You can secure your spot by registering here.

“I am very honored to receive the honorable mention by Upstream,” said Marta Young. “They are a great organization, and it’s wonderful ReThink Disposable’s work is being recognized. Reducing single-use plastics has proven to reduce costs all while preventing unnecessary toxins from going into our waste stream and it can be done so simply.”  

Some of Marta’s recent accomplishments include implementing ReThink Disposable at Franciscan Charities, which serves hot lunches five days a week to the most vulnerable in Newark, NJ. Her efforts helped the organization eliminate 1 million individual pieces of single-use items or 10,750 pounds of trash annually from the local landfill and incinerator and save nearly $50,000 in total annual net costs.

Marta also spearheads ReThink Disposable’s initiative to “Skip the Stuff” in New Jersey, urging concerned residents, plastic activities, Town Green Teams and Environmental Commissions, and municipal governments to adopt ordinances requiring restaurants skip the stuff in take-out food orders by only giving out single-use plastic cutlery and condiment containers if requested by customers. Marta has helped both the Borough of Garwood and Red Bank Borough Council pass ordinances.

At a state level, Marta is working to pass legislation known as the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging bill (Senate Bill 426), which will help reduce the volume of waste that ends up in landfills, incinerators and the ocean.  

Marta Young also works with a statewide coalition of groups including Beyond Plastics, Clean Ocean Action, Environment New Jersey, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, Reloop, Sierra Club, and Surfrider Foundation. Together, they successfully secured the 2020 Bag and Polystyrene Ban law (effective May 2022). Currently, they are advocating to reduce single-use beverage containers through passage of the strongest Deposit Return System possible aka the New Jersey Bottle Bill.

“In a very short time at Clean Water Action, Marta has changed the world in many small and large ways all across the Garden State,” stated Amy Goldsmith, NJ State Director, Clean Water Action. “She has brought cost saving solutions to plastic pollution and service organizations so they can now offer meals with dignity to people in need by using real place settings not single use disposables. I could not be prouder and this is only the beginning of what she can accomplish.”


About Upstream:  

Upstream is a US-based non-profit and leading change agency for the reuse movement in the US and Canada. They accelerate the transition from our current throw-away economy to one that is regenerative, circular and equitable by normalizing reuse, growing and supporting the reuse industry, and creating an enabling policy environment for reuse.

Some of their offerings include several reuse networks & forums for policymakers, community groups, and businesses; transformational partnership opportunities for corporations to transition to reuse; and storytelling platforms including The Indisposable Podcast®, Indisposable Live®, and The Reusies®.  

About Clean Water Action & Clean Water Fund’s ReThink Disposable Program:

ReThink Disposable, a program of Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund, aims to stop trash before it starts. The program works with local governments, businesses, and institutions to help them switch from single-use food packaging to reusables, helping them to go green and save money. By providing knowledge, guidance, and support, ReThink Disposable inspires change that leads to conserved resources, saved energy, and reduced litter polluting our streets, communities, and waterways.  

Press Contacts
Amy Goldsmith
Marta Young
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