A Vancouver-based for-profit social enterprise continues to do great things for both the environment and for humanity. The Plastic Bank
has been enabling the exchange of plastic for money and necessities to help people living in poverty build better futures and support their families. Their mission is to stop ocean plastic by gathering people together to monetize waste while improving lives.
Shaun Frankson and David Katz founded The Plastic Bank in 2013 and have grown their company to include collection projects in Haiti and the Philippines with plans to expand their services to Brazil and Indonesia. The Plastic Bank pays low-income individuals to pick up plastic from waterways, canals, beaches and other access points to oceans. They redeem the items at collection centres for money and goods and services like cooking fuel and phone charging. This helps empower recycling ecosystems around the world and stop the flow of plastic into our oceans.
The Plastic Bank also provides the ability for local entrepreneurs to set up and operate a convenience store for the less fortunate in which plastic waste is the currency. This plastic is then recycled and sold at a premium as Social Plastic
. Manufacturers will pay a premium for "Social Plastic" to use in packaging because it not only meets sustainability goals, but improves thousands of lives.
Some of the largest companies in the world have joined hands with The Plastic Bank. In one of the most recent partnerships, The Plastic Bank worked with IBM to create a digital currency exchange app
to monitor where the funds are going. IBM Blockchain provides a single, irrefutable platform that cannot be tampered with, meaning that people in the most disadvantaged countries, and the companies who buy The Plastic Bank’s recycled plastic, can be assured that they are getting a fair deal. In many of the countries that the company operates in, it can be dangerous to carry large amounts of cash and the Blockchain helps ensure a safe and secure payment transfer for recyclers.
In October 2017, The Plastic Bank was presented with the Lighthouse Momentum for Change award
by the UN under the category of "making a planetary difference". Based in Vancouver, a city that aims to be greenest city
on Earth by 2020, there is no doubt that this organization is set to do great things.
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