Plastic Bank Marks 10 Years and 88,000 Tons of Plastic Waste Reclaimed
Plastic Bank celebrated its 10-year anniversary, announcing it had surpassed a milestone of helping global communities divert 80 million kg (176 million pounds) of plastic waste. The company has enabled over 500 recycling communities in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
A Plastic Bank collection community member in Indonesia.
Photo Credit: Plastic Bank
Plastic Bank focuses on preventing discarded plastics from reaching the ocean. Collection community members gather plastic waste from areas within 31 miles (50 km) of coastlines and waterways, where mismanaged waste is considered “ocean-bound”, meaning that the risk of being washed into the sea is high. Once in the ocean, plastic waste can interfere with biological systems.
In exchange for dropping off the material at local collection branches, members receive income and other benefits including insurance, social, financial, and digital services.
From the collection branches, the recyclate is brought to recycling facilities for processing into Plastic Bank’s “Social Plastic”, in flake or pellet form. Social Plastic materials include recycled PET, HDPE, and LDPE. The multinational household product companies SC Johnson and Henkel are among the producers that have incorporated Social Plastic into their product packaging.
The exchanges are tracked using an app based on blockchain technology, which helps secure compensation of community members and creates an audit trail for impact reporting that includes the type of plastic exchanged, the location, weight, time, and more. This data and the provided visualization tools enable the supporting partners of Plastic Bank to track and demonstrate the impact of their support.
In a parallel of the concept of carbon neutrality, partners set goals of offsetting the plastic produced by their operations with an equivalent amount of plastic waste recovered through support of Plastic Bank, thus achieving “plastic neutrality.” Cooper Vision announced in January that the company would expand its offerings of plastic neutral contact lenses, and Coca Cola has set a goal of achieving plastic neutrality by 2030.
Plastic Bank was founded in 2013 by David Katz and Shaun Frankson. The company has set its own ambitious goals for the future, targeting 2.2 billion lb/yr (1 billion kg/yr) in plastic waste removal, 1 billion people impacted, and 1 billion dollars in value.