Plastic Bank pays people for ‘harvested’ waste plastic, which they process into plastic pellets and sell to companies as a recycled raw material – a concept they call Social Plastic.

Plastic waste litters beaches and oceans across the globe. Rather than viewing it as garbage, the company empowers local communities by paying them to collect this waste and bring it to a Plastic Bank facility. From there, it is recycled and repurposed, to create raw pellets of Social Plastic for reuse in other industries. The company also offers collectors access to 3D printers, enabling them to create goods for themselves and their communities, helping them to become small-scale entrepreneurs by selling the items they have created.

Plastic Bank actively seeks industries to buy their Social Plastic. In doing so, the company not only empowers disadvantaged communities to recycle their local waste and improve their livelihoods, but also encourages corporations to become more conscious of sourcing more sustainable plastic. The company has recently completed its final pilot project in Peru and is now working in Haiti.

Why you should care

Plastic pollution is a global problem with as much as 12.7 million tons of plastic washing into the ocean each year. By highlighting the environmental, social and economic benefits of recycling plastic, the company is empowering individuals and saving resources.

How the Global Goals are addressed

No Poverty

Plastic Bank offers uneducated and unskilled people the chance to earn an income and improve their economic circumstances.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Plastic Bank offers individuals the chance to improve their livelihoods and even become small business owners via the company’s 3D printing program.

Responsible Consumption and Production

By recycling plastic instead burning it or sending it to landfill, the company reduces environmental pollution. Similarly, reducing demand for the production of new plastic helps to curb carbon emissions.

Life Below Water

This social enterprise removes plastic waste from the environment and recycles it into new materials. Plastic waste is particularly damaging to aquatic animals and environments.