Since we started Ocean Bottle over two years ago, the global ripples of the plastic crisis have become clearer, and the plastic collection space has evolved massively in response.
Environmental and social certifications specifically for plastic collection and collectors have been established, and recyclers are now able to collect more types of plastic and put them back into a circular material chain. Even more collection centres are being developed in critically polluted locations, and grass-root waste management is being formalised all over the planet. It’s become clear to us that no single organisation can solve this alone.
So without further ado, we’re excited to introduce you to one of our new plastic collection partners, Plastics For Change. This means that we’re now collecting plastic in even more heavily polluted coastal communities in countries like India and Ghana.
MEET PLASTICS FOR CHANGE
Plastics for Change was founded in 2015 and has developed an ethical sourcing platform to create sustainable livelihoods for people from less economically privileged backgrounds, while transitioning industry producers towards a circular economy. With the World Fair Trade Organisation, they have developed a certification for the first time for “fairly traded plastic”, protecting the wellbeing and financial guarantees for waste-workers. They work towards breaking the cycle of poverty for thousands of informal waste collectors in developing countries and prevent ocean-bound plastics from contaminating the environment.
Together, we’re focusing our work in Pondicherry, a popular tourist destination on the South-Eastern coast of India that struggles with waste management due to increased consumption. One of the most exciting parts about this partnership is that we’ve opened our first dedicated Ocean Bottle collection centre there, as well as collection points across the region.
Plastics for Change’s proprietary technology platform tracks the journey of plastics from collection to refurbishment and into new products, matching our goal for total transparency. We chose to launch this project based on the potential impact we can make in Pondicherry. The city, on the South-Eastern Coast of India, is home to about 250,000 people, yet only a few informal waste recovery chains have existed there until now. Our centre has given neighbouring communities a closed-loop collection centre handling all their plastic waste.
Since opening the centre in the second half of 2021, we’ve funded the collection of more than 98,280 kgs of ocean-bound plastic, provided full-time employment for 8 staff members at the centre, and supported the income of 26 scrap shops and 31 collectors’ families – and this is only the beginning.
Stay tuned for our interview with Shifrah, Chief Impact Officer in the next month and read more about our partnership in our 2021 Impact Report.