Pay for Plastics: New Recycling Models Make Cash for Collectors | Sustainability Unpacking

Henkel Plastic Bank

Henkel works with plastic banks to give poor people the opportunity to make money by removing plastic waste from the environment.

Since its initial sale as a mass-produced product in the early 1950s, about 9 billion tons of plastic has been produced, and most of it is still around. Buried in landfills, streets are scattered in some countries, sooner or later large quantities enter rivers and seas. By 2050 there were people who claimed that the sea could be more weight than fish.

This is not bad for the environment. Not good for the world economy. Most plastic packaging materials are used only once, so up to 95{7be40b84a6a43fc4fae13304fce9a2695859798abfc41afd127b9f8b21c5f9c5} of the value of materials up to $ 120 billion annually is discarded. In short, we treat something worthless as something worthless. And that change is necessary.

Since other types of packaging such as glass or metal often have larger carbon footprints, plastic bans are not necessarily the best solution. It is also a very useful material. For example, it keeps food fresh and prevents it from being damaged during shipping or drying before you have a chance to use it. But what if the full ban is not the answer?

Collective action

According to the New Plastics Economy, which combines business, government and other actors to rethink and redesign the future of plastic, we need to reduce the amount of plastic we use, reuse it as much as possible, and make sure it's recycled correctly. It stays within the plastic value chain, a concept known as the circular economy.

“We see it [plastic waste] Says Sander Defruyt, the new plastics economy head of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. "We need government and organizations to collect, sort and recycle plastics to solve this problem, as well as plastic producers of brands and retailers that use and sell packaging."

Henkel, a global chemical and consumer goods company, faced this challenge. He is one of the founders of the Alliance to End, as well as a member of the New Plastics Economy and a signer of the Global Commitment, bringing together businesses, governments, and other organizations that pursue a common vision and goal for plastic waste solutions. Plastic waste. The company is a group of global companies that have invested a total of $ 1 billion in developing and expanding solutions to remove plastic waste from the environment.

The company's sustainability strategy includes details on packaging built around three key principles that reflect the key stages of the circular value chain: materials from sustainable sources, smart packaging design, and closure. There is a double focus on recyclability (the side that packs for easier recycling) and recycled content.

Haiti payment

Receive payments for plastic returned by Haiti's collector.

Building infrastructure

Ideally, every consumer should be able to dispose of the package in a responsible manner after finishing using the product, but unfortunately this is not always possible in developing countries. “Research around the world shows that the vast majority of marine plastic comes from areas without proper waste management and recycling,” says a spokesman for the Plastic Wastes Apocalypse Alliance. "In fact, about 80 percent of all plastics in the ocean occur on land, and ten major river systems are the main route to unmanaged waste reaching the ocean."

Plastic Bank solves this problem by giving poor people the opportunity to remove plastic waste from the environment to get money, goods or services (including medical insurance and school tuition). In the countries where social enterprises operate, the traditional market price of plastics is often too low to motivate people to collect it. Plastic banks create a stable source of income for collectors and their families by improving the infrastructure and paying membership bonuses on collected plastics to reveal the true value of the material and provide incentives for recovery.

In 2017, Henkel became the first rapidly changing consumer goods company to partner with plastic banks. The partnership opened three new plastic collection centers in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. To date, more than 35 tons of plastic have been collected, which corresponds to more than 1.2 m of soda bottles. Uwe Bergmann, Head of Sustainability Management at Henkel, said, “Plastic banks are a good example of thinking holistically and creatively about the challenges we face and the challenges we face.

Haiti David Katz 2

David Katz, Founder of Plastic Bank

Close loop

Plastics collected by Plastic Bank are classified as "social plastics" and introduced back into the value chain. This means that Plastic Bank has confirmed that the collector has received a price higher than the market price. Currently, Henkel has put this plastic in 25,000 bottles for laundry and cleaning products and plans to incorporate it into more packaging in the future.

Bergmann said that through this, consumers can make a positive contribution to the fight against plastic waste. David Katz, founder and CEO of Plastic Bank, agrees: We are suffering from poverty and preventing plastic from flowing into the sea. ”

Indeed, all of us play an important role in maintaining plastics in the environment and the circular economy. This begins with the realization that it is a substance that can not be wasted.

Find out how Henkel goes into a circular economy with sustainable packaging



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