Melissa makes you discover green initiatives!
Plastic Bank, the start-up that turns plastic into money in southern countries.
Today, plastic is everywhere and pollutes our planet. To get rid of it, some companies like Melissa recycle it by giving it another use.
Canadian David Katz goes even further: he makes money out of plastic. A concept that he declines in the countries of the South.
Launched in 2013, Plastic Bank is present in Haiti, Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines. The start-up is spreading collection points there where people bring plastic waste, to sell it, save money or buy services with it.
The idea? Making plastic waste a currency in developing countries. Where the poorest populations are concentrated. There too where public infrastructure for waste collection and recycling is often inefficient, or even non-existent. There, finally, from where a lot of plastic waste is carried by the rivers to the seas and oceans. “However, they have value, repeats David Katz. It's a bit like being in a field of diamonds and all you have to do is bend down to pick them up with your hands full... but you have nothing around you to spend those plastics or convert them into money. »
The plastics collected are then recycled and resold to industrial partners to be used in the manufacture of new products. In these countries where public waste collection infrastructure is often lacking, “the idea of making plastic a currency is interesting, notes Mélanie Grignon, from the French Development Agency.”
That's what Plastic Bank does. Established in Haiti, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Philippines and Indonesia, the company creates "collection centers" in these countries, small shops where local populations can bring back plastic packaging collected on beaches or in wild dumps, and exchange them for money.
Not just money either. Waste can also be exchanged for phone credits, electricity, rechargeable bulbs, WIFI connections... "We have also developed a smartphone application that allows collectors to create a bank account and save the money earned with plastic waste, continues the Canadian entrepreneur. In Haiti, we also have a partnership with about fifty schools in which parents can pay school fees with plastic waste that we then collect. »
So many goods and services that these local populations do not always find easily around their homes. "In these countries, as everywhere else, collecting plastic is a badly perceived activity," continues David Katz. We are working to change this perception by making plastic waste valuable enough to make people laugh at “what will people say?”. Thus, we involve as many people as possible. The ultimate goal is for household plastic waste to be brought directly to our centers, without going through the "wild dump" box. »