Vancouver-based Plastic Bank says it has stopped 1 billion plastic bottles from entering the world’s oceans, which is the equivalent of more than 44 million pounds. In reaching this milestone, Plastic Bank worked in partnership with more than 17,000 individual collectors across Haiti, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil and Egypt. In exchange for collected plastic, collectors receive premiums that help provide basic necessities, such as groceries, cooking fuel, school tuition and health insurance.
The material collected in Plastic Bank’s closed-loop recycling ecosystems is transformed into recycled material that the company calls Social Plastic. Once processed, Social Plastic can be reintroduced into the global manufacturing supply chain to create new products and packaging materials.
“Plastic waste entering our oceans is one of our greatest global challenges,” says David Katz, founder and CEO of Plastic Bank. “At a time when the world is calling for greater responsibility, this significant milestone is evidence of our ability to make deliberate environmental, social and economic impact. The collection of 1 billion ocean-bound plastic bottles confirms we can reduce plastic waste while driving social progress through a circular economy.”
Global partners including SC Johnson, Henkel, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Coty, HelloFresh, Lombard Odier, Advansa, Carton Pack, Grove Collaborative, Ocean Bottle, Cognition Foundry, IBM, GoJek and PayMaya have helped support collection efforts. By championing the integration of Social Plastic back into the supply chain, Plastic Bank’s partners are supporting a regenerative plastics economy that is stopping ocean-bound plastic while improving the lives of collector communities, the company says.
Plastic Bank has more than 320 active collection branches across Haiti, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil and Egypt and is planning to expand into Cameroon and Thailand this year.