Island in ThailandPhoto by Flowdzine Creativity on Unsplash

The Earth is a magnificent tapestry of life, woven with intricate and delicate threads that connect every living being to each other. But as we look around us, it seems that this tapestry is fraying at the edges, unraveling before our very eyes. Our beautiful home is changing. With our rivers and ocean choking with plastic waste, our land losing its resources, and smog covering our sky, the changes are not for the better.

It is easy to despair and feel powerless as you observe the degradation of our planet. But what if the greatest obstacle to saving the Earth is not the scale of the problem, but who we are becoming? Helpless bystanders watching species face the brink of extinction due to plastic pollution, and doing nothing?

When was the last time we actively participated in shaping a better future for our planet? We like to think that someone needs to step up and change the fate of the Earth. What if that someone is meant to be us?

The journey of becoming 

The idea of changing the world can be overwhelming. You are filled with doubts and confusion – not knowing how, when, and where to start. But the secret is to JUST BEGIN. 

You don’t need to know everything, you just have to commit to becoming the person who could make a difference. This is the mindset that paved the way for changemakers around the world, including David Katz, our Founder and Chairman at Plastic Bank. His story of becoming starts with the realization that no one is coming to save us. It’s up to you, me, and all of us to make this world a better place.

Growing up on the West Coast of Canada, David began to witness the gradual decline of marine ecosystems at a young age. He would go on and explore Vancouver Island’s beaches with his friends, hoping to find things from faraway places. Instead, all David found was waves carrying other people’s garbage. This was an awakening for David to act, and dedicate himself to addressing the issue of plastic pollution.

When he embarked on his journey, he was overwhelmed with fear, insecurity, and unknowing – but David recognized that humanity could no longer wait. It was time to turn off the tap and prevent plastic from reaching the ocean in the first place. Rather than seeing plastic as just a convenience, he searched for a way to reveal its inherent value so humanity could stop seeing it as waste.

Plastic Bank collection community members in Brazil
Valdir Gomes and Joao Mazio, Plastic Bank community members in Brazil.

On May 9, 2013, David Katz created Plastic Bank to empower the world to stop ocean plastic and help alleviate poverty. His idea has revolutionized the world’s recycling systems by turning plastic waste into a currency that collection community members in vulnerable coastal areas can exchange for additional income and life-improving benefits. Beyond environmental impact, David created a way for recycling to make lasting social impact. 

This spurred a global Social Recycling movement that mobilized over 550 recycling communities in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, and helped over 35,000 members to find paths out of poverty with the support of over 170 partners.But this is not about David’s journey of becoming. In essence, it is about us — our journey, our change, our purpose — the becoming of us. It is about all of us, gathering together to play our part within that one story of life. The sooner each one of us becomes, the better the story for all of us. 

Humans of Social Recycling

We invite you to begin your journey of becoming. Embrace your fears and doubts, and let them serve as catalysts to spark a sense of curiosity and purpose. Become self-aware of what you are contributing to the world, to seek out new knowledge, and to collaborate with others to create a better world for all of us. We invite you to become a Human of Social Recycling.

Today, the Social Recycling movement has stopped more than 80 million kilograms of plastic from entering the ocean – the equivalent of over 4 billion plastic bottles. 

But this is just the beginning…

As the Social Recycling movement enters its second decade, our mission evolves from ‘turning off the tap to ocean plastic’ to becoming a broader and deeper movement that enables people to become the change they seek in our world.

Our journey has made us realize that recycling has to be human-powered – not just through impact contributions and purchase of recycled materials, but through a perpetual and persistent behavioural change, which brings the mindfulness of recycling in what we purchase, how we use it, and how we dispose of it.

Our 10th anniversary marks the beginning of Plastic Bank’s new era – where we become the Humans of Social Recycling – humans who believe that the becoming of a wasteless world starts with the becoming of us. 

Together, we can make a positive impact on our planet and people. A wasteless world is possible.

Begin your journey of becoming with us at

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