Social Plastic ®

                                                              

Social Plastic ®

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Solution proposed by: 
The Plastic Bank (Presented during the Healthy and Just Cities Urban Thinkers Campus, hosted by World Vision International)
In a Nutshell: 
Through the Social Plastic® initiative, The Plastic Bank seeks to monetise plastic waste. They encourage residents in developing contexts to see plastic as currency. Collected waste can be traded at local transfer stations for other goods and services, the collected plastic is then recycled and sold internationally as Social Plastic®.
Where and When: 
The Plastic Bank has been working in Haiti since 2015 and are currently investigating opportunities to scale up and expand into different low-income areas and contexts.
Challenges: 
Plastic Bank seeks to make plastic waste a currency to help reduce global poverty, while stopping plastic from entering the ocean. Globally over 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year. This has significant environmental impacts, endangering the lives of marine creatures and sea-birds. Additionally, in low income communities municipalities and governments often fail to provide adequate solid waste services. Therefore, in these communities solid waste, including plastics, form large piles of waste which has detrimental impacts on human health, local aesthetics and the environment
Innovation: 
(i) Monetising waste plastic so that anyone can collect and trade waste plastic (ii) Setting up business opportunities for local entrepreneurs through decentralised recycling depots. (iii) Marketing Social Plastic® internationally as a form of corporate social responsibility.
Concept: 
The concept of Social Plastic is to reveal the value in plastic as it is collected and to transfer that value into the hands of the collector. When people can see and know the value in plastic, they can transform their thinking and practices – what was previously viewed as a waste product can now be viewed as a source of goods and services. Given the amount of plastic waste currently in the streets, drains, rivers and oceans of the earth – if these plastic resources can be harvested in a way that provide a living to those living in poverty - a system can emerge that contributes recycled feed stock to the growing demand for plastic while improving the earth’s environmental health..
Description: 
The Plastic Bank sets up micro- recycling depots where residents who collect plastic waste (from the environment, from households or from industry), then can take the plastic to trade it in for cash, goods or services. The plastic is transferred to local plastic recycling plants where it can either be recycled into virgin plastic ready to be sold to international companies under the Social Plastic® brand, or it can be used as feedstock for 3D printers to make items needed within the community
Impacts: 
• Creation of demand for Social Plastic® within global organisations • Communities in Haiti now using The Plastic Bank to generate income and trade plastic for other goods and services.

Photo Gallery

photo credits: The Plastic Bank
photo credits: The Plastic Bank