Photo: David Katz
The Plastic Bank may be the solution to our ocean pollution problem. The general concept is fairly simple, but makes a big impact that improves the lives of millions of people while protecting and preserving one of the world’s most important natural resources.
This is how Co-Founders David Katz and Shaun Frankson decided they would make a difference; by establishing a social enterprise with a triple bottom line framework of “people, planet, profit” or “the three pillars of sustainability”. Essentially, it’s a self-sustaining business model that benefits many people and our Planet Earth.
Plastic Waste = Social Plastic®
So, how does Plastic Bank work? By turning plastic waste into currency. For a more elaborate answer? The Plastic Bank collaborates with local organizations and government to open collecting facilities where its residents can turn in plastic waste they collect from oceans and waterways in exchange for currency and other life-improving services (like solar-powered electricity).
This waste is then recycled back into usable plastic, or Social Plastic® as they are known, which is resold to big companies for re-use. This strategy makes plastic too valuable to discard and encourages more people to recycle, preventing them from ending up in our oceans that I love so much. If you need a little bit more than that, check out this video:
I had a titillating conversation with Shaun Frankson a couple of weeks ago about social entrepreneurship and The Plastic Bank, and he shared with me their vision and long term goals of becoming a global brand. Being the amateur environmentalist and “green campaigner” that I am, I was excited about the concept but wondered how it can be applied locally to benefit non-profits already fighting the fight against ocean pollution, so that I can advocate for it on a local level.
How You Can Get Involved
He assured me that while their efforts are currently focused on developing countries with the highest poverty rate, their long-term plans include coming to countries like the United States to work with non-profits and community organizations with aligning mission to do just that. When that will be depends on the demand of Social Plastic®.
Which is where YOU come into the picture. How you can help make this a global reality is by spreading the word through social media and demanding corporations use Social Plastic®. If you are a business, you can request to use Social Plastic® in your products. Think your country can benefit from The Plastic Bank? Apply to bring it to your country.
Remember one of the basic principle of of economics we learned in college? The more you demand for Social Plastic®, the more corporations will want to incorporate it in their products, the more it will benefit the poor, the less it will end up in our oceans. It’s a win-win-win-WIN situation. Join the movement by visiting www.PlasticBank.org, or following them on Facebook and Twitter.