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FootprintMay 22 20193 min read

Footprint Recognizes Marine Conservation Biologist Christine Figgener With 'Footprint Ocean Hero' Award

LOS ANGELES – May 23, 2019 – Footprint recognizes Christine Figgener with a Footprint Ocean Hero this afternoon at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Aptly being presented on World Turtle Day, Footprint awards and recognizes innovative thought leaders, people and organizations, that are improving the environment and eliminating plastic.

As part of this award celebration, Footprint will offer limited edition paper straws featuring Figgener as its Footprint Ocean Ambassador and donate to her turtle conservation project.

“I really am excited to help make reliable, 100 percent biodegradable paper straws available to everybody,” says Christine Figgener. “Footprint creates great products. The paper straws are durable and you can use them like you would any plastic straw--but I will never have to pull one out of a turtle’s nose.”

Jeff Bassett, vice president of marketing at Footprint, coordinates the award program and explains that the selection is strategic and thoughtful. “We want to make sure we are highlighting a tremendous achievement in reducing the amount of plastic making its way into our environment.

In Christine’s case, her efforts have dramatically stunted the use of plastic straws and her video created a meaningful tipping point where cities, schools, parks and businesses really started to think about not using, and even banning, plastic straws.”

Figgener’s viral video posted in August of 2015 documented the removal of a plastic straw from an olive ridley turtle's nose. Viewed over 35 million times, the video provided a heart wrenching springboard for the global anti-plastic straw movement—leading to several high-profile plastic straw bans and pledges to end  plastic straw use. It has also given her a powerful voice in the conversation about single-use plastics and other environmental issues affecting marine life.

She has made such an impact that she was recently named a Next Generation Leader by TIME Magazine and was a finalist of the feature Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News.

Media Details

WHO: Marine conservation biologist and ocean advocate Christine Figgener receives a Footprint Ocean Hero at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium on World Turtle Day, May 23, 2019.

WHAT: The award recognizes her tireless and impactful work studying environmental issues affecting marine life.

The award recognizes her tireless and impactful work studying environmental issues affecting marine life.

Christine Figgener will be available for interviews and will be joined by Marsailidh Ryan, aquarium director, and Sheila McSherry, associate director of grants and foundations.

WHEN: 12:30 p.m. at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA 90401

WHERE: The award will be presented in front of the pier tank.

About Footprint

Footprint has a clear vision: eliminate single-use and short-term use plastics. Footprint designs, develops and manufactures shaped fiber and paper into bio-degradable, compostable products. We make it easy for companies to switch out of plastic to preserve our future. We love our oceans and our planet, that's why we are revolutionizing industries to eliminate plastic pollution. The company was founded by former Intel engineers Troy Swope and Yoke Chung and employs more than 800 people. In 2019, Footprint was announced a winner of the prestigious NextGen Cup Challenge for its fiber-based alternative manufacturing process for making cups and lids. It has already helped eliminate over 50 million pounds of plastic. The company is based in Gilbert, Ariz. For more information and a complete portfolio of Footprint solutions visit


Media Contact
Christine Pietryla Wetzler
312-612-0283 x700


Caption: Footprint recognizes environmental leaders with its Footprint Hero award. The one-of-a-kind trophy is designed and created by David Wight.

Caption: Before starting her PhD, Christine Figgener worked in marine turtle research and conservation in Central America for over a decade. Her ambition is to apply her research findings to the conservation of endangered species, particularly marine turtles. Photo courtesy of Christine Figgener