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Sustainable Packaging 2019

Recycling: the start of a better life


Shaun Frankson

Co-founder and CTO, Plastic Bank

As plastic waste continues littering our environment, the time to act is now. We at Plastic Bank have designed a global recycling system that makes plastic too valuable to throw away.

The world is filled to the brim with plastic. We use it in countless different ways, and while it’s versatile and highly useful, it’s devastating to see it polluting our ecosystem. Though events like beach clean-ups do help in counteracting the damage, this will continue being a band-aid solution until the problem is stopped at the source.

Plastic Bank believes the key to ending plastic litter is revealing the value it holds – make it too valuable to throw away. Our goal is to create a root cause solution that turns off the tap on ocean plastic at the source.

Eighty per cent of the plastic flowing into our oceans comes from developing countries, where the infrastructure to properly deal with waste doesn’t exist. Imagine the impact if all that plastic, which is currently thrown away, clogging up waterways and finding its way into the ocean is instead collected, recycled and reinvested back into the supply chain as new products.

Recycling plastic, improving economies

We at Plastic Bank have taken on this challenge. Our mission is simple – fight ocean plastic and global poverty. So how do we do it? We make plastic waste into currency.

Plastic Bank creates dignified recycling ecosystems that provide an above market rate to our members and sell it to corporations to be used in new products. We call this Social Plastic®.

Plastic Bank’s business model does good for the planet, supports job creation, and provides businesses a recycled material that prevents more natural resource extraction. This creates a circular economy and gives consumers peace of mind that they are doing their part to make the world a better place. With all plastic, there comes responsibility – recycling it is a civic duty we all have to share.

Building a global network

We’ve spent the last six years fighting for this cause. As of today, Plastic Bank has 164 active branches around the world – in the Philippines, Indonesia, Haiti, and Brazil with more on the way.

We have collected 10.9 million pounds of ocean-bound plastic altogether. To frame this differently, that is equal to 237 million water bottles prevented from entering our water systems. In addition to a cleaner environment, collectors are able to enjoy a better quality of life.

We add a bonus on top of the market rate of plastic to provide a social impact wage. Our blockchain platform provides our members with a digital identity, a savings account, and access to a credit score. Our ecosystems allow the payment of school tuition, health coverage, sustainable cooking fuel, WiFi, cell phone minutes and more.

Recycling is a starting point for a better life – our members receive access to financial inclusion, education and career training for a life beyond recycling.

We have partnerships with some of the largest corporations in the world, such as SC Johnson, IBM, Henkel, and Aldi. You can find our logo on product partner lines carried at Marks & Spencer, Aldi and DM.

Our world is interconnected – what happens in places we can’t see still affects us. We know our oceans are integral to all forms of life. It’s our responsibility to ensure our businesses respect the environment on a fundamental level. We at Plastic Bank invite you to join the revolution.

For more information about our work, visit

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