The Plastic Bank launches its first collection centre in Lima, Peru with many more to come.  With the launch of the first collection centre, The Plastic Bank is transforming plastic waste into a currency.  This will provide a reliable source of income and a consistent fair trade rate to those who recycle plastics for a living.  This means that these families will have more money for basic necessities and the opportunity to provide a better future for their families, while making plastic waste to valuable to throw away and end up in our oceans. It is estimated in Latin America and the Caribbean that approximately 4 million people derive their livelihoods from the recovery of recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic and metal.  In these regions, there is very little tax revenue to support waste management so it is common for plastic to be raked up, burnt or discarded into the streets and ocean bound waterways.  This waste plastic makes its way through our waterways and ends up in the ocean gyres, causing mass devastation to the ocean environment and aquatic life.

The Plastic Bank’s mission is to help those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid ascend from poverty by providing fair trade cash value for the collected waste plastic they return to the center.  “It is important to provide the tools for a community, to bring them together to be a part of the solution to eradicate poverty and eliminate plastic waste from our oceans, rivers and waterways.” said David Katz, Founder of The Plastic Bank. The Plastic Bank ensures all returned plastics are sorted, cleaned, shredded and re-pelletized to form new plastics, creating a complete replacement of new plastic.  The recycled plastic created by The Plastic Bank is called “Social Plastic®” and when purchased by plastic manufacturers, will improve the life of a disadvantaged person. The Plastic Bank focuses on healing an impoverished community and its environment. “Social Plastic® is going to change the way the world views plastic and help to reduce the amount of virgin plastic in the world” said David Katz, Founder of The Plastic Bank.  “Our mission is to create value and a market for Social Plastic®, enabling millions of people around the globe to lift themselves from poverty.”

Until now, plastic has been an international commodity. The international commodity price of plastic is very volatile and goes up and down with the market. When the price falls, the recyclers are directly impacted. The majority of recyclers typically have little to no savings and are making just enough to buy basic necessities. Contraras, a recycler at The Plastic Bank, said “I’m often worried that I won’t have enough money for my family when the price drops.” With the first collection centre, The Plastic Bank is working to provide a reliable source of income year round for the collection of waste plastic. “When consumers look for the value of a product, it’s important that more and more people include the environmental and social impact into that value equation.  Sustainable products with a social impact have the potential to turn businesses into a force for good.” said Shaun Frankson, Co-Founder of The Plastic Bank. “It all starts with the consumer. When consumers ask long enough for sustainable products with a positive social impact and make buying decisions based on those factors, the culture of the world and the priorities of businesses will change.  I envision a future where sustainability and genuine social impact are requirements for business success.”

With the December 5th, 2014 launch of the first Plastic Bank collection centre, The Plastic Bank is celebrating the important role these recyclers have in protecting the environment and creating sustainable communities. Their role is paramount in building a stronger, more educated and economically stable community. They need to be recognized and compensated fairly for their efforts and contributions.  With the success of the first Plastic Bank collection centre, The Plastic Bank will continue its expansion in the next coming year throughout Latin America, South East Asia and locations with an abundance of poverty and plastic waste.

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