Fabricio is a Plastic Bank collection community member in Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Fabricio is a Plastic Bank collection community member in Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Think of a plastic bottle, one among billions, starting its life in a factory. It’s filled, used, and then discarded – a fleeting moment of convenience, now a permanent mark on our planet. 

This bottle embarks on a journey that could lead it to the ocean’s depths, joining a swirling mass of plastic that suffocates marine life and poisons our ecosystems. Or, it could be one of the fortunate few, reclaimed, recycled, and given new life.

This is where the narrative shifts, and the concept of plastic credits enters the stage. Plastic credits offer a chance to rewrite the end of our bottle’s journey. Instead of contributing to the growing plastic crisis, it becomes part of a solution. By investing in plastic credits, businesses and individuals empower communities to collect, manage, and recycle plastic waste, transforming it from a pollutant into a resource.

Through this lens, the journey of a plastic bottle transforms from a tale of environmental despair to one of empowerment, community involvement, and optimism. But what are plastic credits?

The concept of plastic credits

Plastic credits are a tangible way for businesses to offset their plastic footprint by financially supporting the removal of an equivalent amount of plastic from the environment and setting it up for recycling. This initiative offers a substitute for the production of new plastic and plays a crucial role in cleaning up existing waste.

The concept is simple yet impactful. Individuals and companies calculate plastic usage and purchase credits to counterbalance their footprint. These credits finance projects to collect and recycle plastic waste, especially in areas lacking proper waste management infrastructure. This approach offers an immediate solution to plastic pollution and promotes a circular economy, valuing every piece of plastic for reuse instead of disposal.

Plastic Bank – a social enterprise that empowers communities to gather discarded plastic and use it to pave their paths out of poverty – takes this concept further by integrating environmental action with social empowerment. Let’s explore how plastic credits work at Plastic Bank! 

Plastic Bank’s plastic credits

At Plastic Bank, plastic credits are more than a transactional tool for offsetting plastic use. 

These credits are a cornerstone of a more significant, transformative movement, where the act of purchasing plastic credits ignites a wave of positive change throughout collection communities in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

This stems from the social enterprise’s unique approach, which intertwines the environmental mission with social impact. Plastic Bank’s model turns discarded plastic into a currency, enabling collection communities to exchange plastic for income and social benefits. These benefits include health, work and life insurance, digital connectivity, grocery vouchers, school supplies, fintech services, and more.

Essentially, plastic credits purchased through Plastic Bank contribute to a dual mission: reducing plastic pollution and helping end poverty – redefining the value of plastic and turning it into a tool for empowerment.

Plastic Bank’s proprietary blockchain-secured platform enables traceable collection, secures income, and verifies reporting.Plastic Bank’s proprietary blockchain-secured platform enables traceable collection, secures income, and verifies reporting.

Traceability of Plastic Bank’s plastic credits

Before discussing how to get plastic credits, let’s quickly explore how the social enterprise ensures the traceability of every piece of plastic collected and exchanged within its ecosystem.

At Plastic Bank, a plastic credit represents the verified assignable value to stop one traceable kilogram of discarded plastic, redeemable in local currency. This system guarantees that the path of each piece of plastic is fully documented.

Each step is traceable, offering a transparent view of the collection bonuses awarded to members, and providing tangible proof of social impact. 

Plastic Bank’s proprietary blockchain-secured platform assigns a unique claim ID number for every transaction, ensuring that each plastic credit is singular and its environmental and social impacts are uniquely attributed to one purchaser. This transparency reaffirms the integrity of plastic credits and strengthens the trust of Plastic Bank’s partners and supporters in its mission.

Plastic Bank’s Impact Programs

To get a plastic credit, you can subscribe to Plastic Bank’s Impact Programs, including Plastic Net Zero and Plastic Net Positive, catering to individuals and businesses seeking to address their plastic footprint.

Plastic Net Zero

This program is for those looking to balance their plastic usage by ensuring that an equivalent amount of discarded plastic is collected for recycling.

Plastic Net Positive

For those aiming to go beyond neutrality, this program guarantees that 1.5 times their plastic footprint is collected and recycled, amplifying their positive environmental and social impact.

Other options are also offered to businesses, such as Workplace Impact, which stops a minimum of 5,000 kilograms of plastic from polluting the environment; Workforce Net Zero, which guarantees the collection of 84 kilograms of plastic for every staff member; and Event Impact, which is designed to offset 100 plastic bottles per event attendee.

Where do your contributions go? Seventy percent of the funds generated through the purchase of plastic credits are allocated to the following crucial areas:

  • Collection benefits (24%): This portion directly supports the collection members, providing them with bonuses and social benefits. 
  • Developing and maintaining recycling infrastructure (23%): Supporting collection operatives and in-country networks to develop and implement projects that stop plastic pollution and help end poverty.
  • Technology development for material traceability (23%): Maintaining and improving Plastic Bank’s blockchain-secured platform to continuously advance its internal auditing and reporting capabilities, add new user types, and offer more tech-enabled social benefits.

The remaining funds cover the administrative and marketing costs of Plastic Bank’s global operations, ensuring the continuation of its mission to stop plastic pollution and use it to end poverty.

Elizabeth Ampuyas is a collection community member from Baseco, Tondo, Manila, Philippines.Elizabeth Ampuyas is a collection community member from Baseco, Tondo, Manila, Philippines.

Choosing the right program

Subscribing to Plastic Bank’s Impact Programs starts with a crucial step: understanding your or your business’s plastic footprint. This foundational knowledge is key to choosing the right program that aligns with your sustainability goals and the level of impact you aim to achieve.

If you are an individual, you can use Plastic Bank’s footprint calculator, an accessible tool designed to help you find out just how much plastic you use and dispose of. For businesses, consulting with an expert is recommended. Plastic Bank’s experts can guide you through the process of accurately determining the amount of plastic generated by your products, operations, or events over a specific timeframe.

Remember the journey of a plastic bottle we discussed at the beginning? This is your opportunity to become part of a larger story – one where every piece of plastic has the potential to contribute to positive change rather than polluting our ocean and landscapes. Together, we can transform the global narrative on plastic, turning waste into worth and despair into hope.

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