Video Friday: The Plastic Bank – Monetizing Waste Plastic

The Plastic Bank can reverse plastic pollution and help impoverished communitiesSocial plastic

The Plastic Bank is an organization and a movement aimed at removing plastic waste from the world’s oceans, beaches and waterways in a process that empowers people living in poverty to raise their standard of living and strengthen their communities. The concept is to establish “Plastic Banks” in impoverished areas with an existing abundance of plastic waste, allowing people to harvest the waste for credits used for micro-finance loans, repurposed necessities and 3D printing of everyday products.

A key focus of the program is education and empowerment, allowing people oppressed by poverty to envision and realize a better life for themselves, finding value in what has heretofore been a waste stream choking their communities and polluting the global environment.

“Social plastic is plastic waste that is harvested and repurposed for cause,” says Plastic Bank founder and CEO David Katz. “When operational, The Plastic Bank will exchange social plastic as a currency that can be used towards items that help lift individuals out of poverty and support local entrepreneurialism. As technology develops, The Plastic Bank will provide 3D printing services with the goal of converting social plastic into the raw material for 3D-printed products like tools, parts and household items.

Global social and environmental crises are linked, and so are the solutions,” adds Katz. “The crisis of waste plastics is an industrial problem that demands a transformative solution, like taking ocean-bound plastic waste and assigning it value. That is the promise of social plastic.”

Support the Plastic Bank

There are several ways you can support the Plastic Bank. First, by donating as little as $1 to their Indiegogo campaign you will help establish plastic repurposing centers around the world. You can also partner with the Plastic Bank to demand that corporations use only recycled plastics and help the transition to cleaning up the millions of tons of plastic waste entering our oceans every single year.

Image credit: Bastian, courtesy flickr

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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