Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Plastic Bank.
About our policies and where to find them
Plastic Bank strongly believes in making every place we operate in better because we have been there. Wherever we operate, we are committed to both respecting people and supporting universal human rights. We adhere to all local laws and regulations and we do our best to contribute positively to our communities and minimize our impact on the environment.
Please find our code of conduct here.
“The only place children should have to work, is in their classroom” – David Katz, Founder
Child labour, as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention, is “work by children under the age of 12; work by children under the age of 15 that prevents school attendance; and work by children under of age of 18 that is hazardous to the physical or mental health of the child."
All children have the right to develop and grow, free of burden, suffering, despair, longing, and servitude. Our human duty is to create an environment where children can be present, conscious, and open to creating opportunities for themselves, their families, their communities, and the world.
Plastic Bank's "No Child Labour Policy" is built upon our commitment to practical, meaningful, and culturally appropriate responses to support the elimination of child labour practices.
Plastic Bank WILL NEVER employ any person below the age of eighteen years in the workplace. Plastic Bank prohibits and opposes any use of child labour and forced or compulsory labour along our entire value chain. No employee will ever work against their will, work as bonded/forced labour, or be subject to corporal punishment or coersion of any type related to work.
- WE WILL NEVER employ children that fall into the definition of child labour as stipulated by the ILO Convention, notwithstanding any national law or local regulation;
- WE WILL ALWAYS comply with all other applicable child labour laws, including those related to wages, hours worked, overtime, and working conditions;
- WE WILL ALWAYS be against all forms of exploitation of children. We do not provide employment to children before they have reached the legal age to have completed their compulsory education, as defined by the relevant authorities;
- WE WILL ALWAYS demand business partners and associates to have and uphold similar standards and abide by country-governing laws in countries wherein they operate.
Despite the scrutiny of the emerging legislature to prevent it, child labour persists. Current causes of child labour across the world include poverty, limited access to education, repression of workers' rights, and limited prohibitions on child labour.
- Poverty and unemployment levels are high. Poor children and their families may rely upon child labour in order to improve their chances of obtaining basic necessities. More than one-fourth of the world's population lives in extreme poverty, according to 2005 U.N. statistics. Intensified poverty pushes many children into child labour.
- Access to compulsory, free education is limited. In 2006, approximately 75 million children were not in school, limiting future opportunities for the children and their communities. A 2009 report by the United Nations estimated that achieving universal education for the world's children would cost $10-30 billion.
- Existing laws or codes of conduct are often violated. Even when laws or codes of conduct exist, they are often violated. For example, the manufacturing and exporting of products often involve multiple layers of production and outsourcing, which can make it difficult to monitor who is performing labour at each step of the process. Extensive subcontracting can intentionally or unintentionally hide the use of child labour.
- Laws and enforcement are often inadequate. Child labour laws around the world are often not enforced or include exemptions that allow for child labour to persist in certain sectors, such as agricultural or domestic work. Even in countries where strong child labour laws exist, labour departments and labour inspection offices are often underfunded and understaffed, and courts may fail to enforce the laws. Similarly, many state governments allocate few resources to enforcing child labour laws.
This policy is publicly available throughout our company and is clearly communicated to all employees in a manner in which it can be understood through a combination of induction programs and policy manuals. The implementation of the policy is the responsibility of each country’s team, who do not permit minors to enter the premises of collection points as workers. This is a zero-tolerance policy. Employment contracts and other records documenting all relevant details of employees, including age, are maintained at all units and are open to verification by authorized personnel or a relevant statutory body. Suppliers are obliged to take the appropriate measures to ensure that no child labour occurs at suppliers’ and their subcontractors’ places of production.
If child labour is found in any place of production within the value chain, Plastic Bank will require the supplier to implement a corrective action plan. If corrective action is not implemented within the agreed time-frame, or if repeated violations occur, Plastic Bank will terminate all business with the supplier concerned. The corrective action plan shall take the child’s best interests into consideration, such as family and social conditions and the child's level of education. Care shall be taken not merely to move child labour from one supplier’s workplace to another but to enable more viable and sustainable alternatives for the child’s development.
Periodic assessments are conducted regularly. This is in conjunction with random checks of records by either the country manager or another assigned member of staff.
If child labour is found within the supply chains of Plastic Bank, we will seek to work in partnership with the supplier and appropriately qualified organizations to develop a responsible solution that is in the best long-term interests of the children.
The supplier and Plastic Bank will agree to a corrective action plan, which may comprise of the following actions:
- Collate a list of all potential child labourers and young workers.
- Seek advice and help from a recognized local non-governmental organization (NGO) that deals with child labour or the welfare of children.
- Develop a remediation plan that secures the child's education and protects their economic well-being, in consultation with Plastic Bank, a local NGO (where possible), and with (while respecting the views of) the child.
- Explain the legal requirements and restrictions on working ages to the child and assure them that, if they wish, they will be employed when they reach working age.
- Understand the child’s desires and explore the opportunities for them to re-enter education.
- Whether the child contributes to the livelihoods of their family or they are self-dependent, his or her wage should continue to be paid until they reach working age, or until an alternative long-term solution has been agreed with the child and their family (for example, employment of an unemployed adult family member in place of the child labourer).
- Ensure that the child worker has adequate accommodation and living conditions.
- Documentation of all actions.
- Develop processes to prevent a recurrence.
- Immediately expel any of the suspected or confirmed child labourers and/or young workers.
- Threaten the children or their families or hamper the progress of investigation and remediation.
- Conceal or falsify any documentation.
Such actions will be considered by Plastic Bank as evidence that the supplier is not committed to child labour remediation, in breach of this Child Labour Policy.
As a processing partner from Plastic Bank (involved in the conversion of collected plastic into new recycled flakes or pellets), you formally commit to the prevention of child labour in all your activities. As such, you will strictly follow the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the U.N Convention on the Rights of the Child guide as your policy on child labour.
When it comes to legal aspects, you will commit to always following the stricter law if more than one laws apply (e.g. state and federal, local and international) in our countries of operation. You will also require your own suppliers, partners and vendors to follow the stricter applicable laws and recognize children’s rights. You will formally commit to never used forced labour or human trafficking in any form – prison, slavery, indentured, bonded or otherwise.