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The Plastic Bank: Recycling Harmful Waste and Reducing Poverty

Linda Crampton is a biology teacher who is interested in environmental issues. She is very concerned about the harmful effects of pollution.

A Serious Environmental Problem

Plastic waste is a very serious and rapidly growing environmental problem. Our love of plastic items and our careless disposal of these items when they're no longer useful is polluting land and water, endangering wildlife, and creating eyesores that are changing the face of the Earth.

Another tragic situation on Earth is the widespread existence of poverty. Some people have inadequate shelter or no shelter at all, a lack of safe or sufficient drinking water, or insufficient food. In some places, people are experiencing all three of these problems. Another frequent symptom of poverty is lack of education.

What if the dual problems of plastic pollution and poverty could be dealt with at the same time? This is the aim of an organization called the Plastic Bank. The organization encourages people to "harvest" plastic waste and deliver it to collection or repurposing centres. In exchange for the waste, the bank gives the harvesters money in the form of credit, services that they require, or useful items. The harvesters can either use the items that they receive or sell them. The bank hopes to both help people directly and to encourage entrepreneurship.

The Plastic Bank recycles the harvested material into pellets, which can be used by manufacturing companies. The bank calls their product social plastic. One of its goals is for all plastic items to be made of this material.

A collection of plastic toys and other items

A collection of plastic toys and other items

The Plastic Bank was created by David Katz, a technology entrepreneur from Vancouver, British Columbia. The bank's collection centres are being established in areas that have a pollution problem as well as a poverty one.

The Founders of the Plastic Bank

David Katz is a businessman and the founder and CEO of the bank. He travels extensively and has won awards for his humanitarian work. He's also a scuba diver. In his travels, he's been struck by the amount of plastic waste around the world. He says that he decided to create the Plastic Bank after he visited Malaysia and found a beach that appeared to have more plastic than sand. Unfortunately, beaches covered by materials discarded by humans can be found in other countries besides Malaysia. It's a sad reflection of our habits.

Katz has formed a partnership with Shaun Frankson, another businessman and the co-founder and CTO (chief technical officer) of the bank. Frankson describes himself as a "social entrepreneur". Katz and Frankson want to monetize plastic debris, enabling it to become a currency. In their view, discarded plastic is a valuable commodity that is being wasted. The pair also want their business to be philanthropic. They want the removal of the debris to be beneficial for specific individuals as well as society.

Other people have joined the bank's team. The team as a whole appears to be trying to eliminate plastic waste by recycling it while helping people in need at the same time. I think that's a very worthy goal.

Social Plastic provides a social benefit: impoverished communities gain access to stable income, local economies are boosted, and life necessities like food, water, and electricity become more accessible.

— The Plastic Bank website

Using Social Plastic to Help People

A Plastic Bank collection centre accepts any type of plastic. The collectors don't have to classify what they find. The centre gives the collectors credits in return for their harvest. The credits can be used to obtain goods or services. The nature of these goods and services will depend on the needs of the people in the area. Examples include items such as tools, household items, and parts, and services such as education and micro-credit loans.

Some collection centres are also repurposing centres that use the harvested material to create filament for 3D printers. People can order printed objects in exchange for the material that they collect.

In the interview with Shaun Frankson shown below, Frankson says that the bank avoids paying harvesters cash for their plastic because money becomes "very corrupt very quickly". The organization seems to have changed its opinion since the video was made, however. At one point, it gave some people money for their harvest, at least in Haiti.

Since collecting waste material and/or depositing it in a perhaps small and crowded building might be harmful during the coronavirus pandemic, the bank has made changes to help those who depend on the credits that it provides. Though people concerned about pollution may appreciate the bank for its action in reducing it, its ability to help people in need is important.

Katz and Frankson are helped by recycling experts, business people, philanthropists, and environmentalists. They are also aided by people who explore local needs and recycling opportunities, publicize the bank's efforts, and perform impact studies after a collection centre has been established.

Although the Plastic Bank is a social enterprise that has been established to help people and the environment, it's run as a for-profit business. Katz says that this is necessary because the project must be self-sustaining.

Harmful Waste in the Environment

More than 300 million tons of plastic is said to be manufactured each year. More than eight million tons (or ten to twelve million tons by some estimates) is said to enter the ocean each year. Much of this waste stays in existence for a very long time once it's made. Plastic does degrade in the ocean, but it disintegrates very slowly.

Aquatic animals become entangled in pieces of plastic and sometimes mistake them for food. Another problem is that the degradation of the material produces tiny particles of microplastic, which enter the food chain and are absorbed by living things. Researchers have found that the particles are present in supermarket fish and shellfish, which means that they enter our body when we eat these foods. The particles have also been found in water and even in the air in some locations.

Scientists don't yet know how microplastic is affecting us or even if it is, but the situation is worrying. The particles are known to absorb harmful contaminants such as pesticides, flame retardants, and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). If they hurt us, they will likely affect the animals that absorb them as well. Exploring the behaviour and possible effects of the particles is very important.

Recycling Plastic Waste

Recycling of plastic is certainly necessary. One problem with processing the material is that there are many different kinds of plastic that each require a different treatment. Sorting the material by type is vital before any recycling can be done.

At least at one time, one of Katz's team was Mike Biddle, as mentioned in the video above. Biddle is a co-founder of a company called MBA Polymers. This company carries out the automated sorting of plastic. Its recycling centres are located in several countries and process one million pounds of plastic a day. This is apparently only a fraction of the material that collects on a daily basis. Biddle estimates that only about ten percent of our daily buildup of plastic waste is recycled. According to him, the recycled material is pound-for-pound more valuable than steel.

Biddle would like the word "consumer" to be eliminated in relation to plastic. He believes that all products made of the material should have once existed as a different product. One of his goals, which is also a goal of the Plastic Bank, is to change people's attitudes. People need to think that plastic is too valuable to leave on the ground or in the water.

The bank wants companies that manufacture plastic items to make their products from social plastic and to advertise this fact. They also want consumers to buy items made from this version of the material instead of other ones.

The Collection and Repurposing Centres

The Plastic Bank was founded in 2013. The founder of PeruRail provided land and financial support for the first plastic collection centre in 2014. Peru was an appropriate place for the project to begin. According to David Katz, only 2% of that country's waste stream is recycled. Much of the discarded waste enters the waterways.

The bank also has collection centres in Haiti, which like Peru has a serious problem with plastic in waterways. Here collectors can deliver their collection to solar powered centres in order to receive money, items, or services such as sustainable cooking oil, soap, WiFi access, or a charge for a phone if they have one. In addition, the bank is operating in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Products made from the recycled plastic are sold in multiple European countries and in Australia. The European list currently includes the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

It will be interesting to watch the evolution of 3D printer use in the repurposing centres. The abilities of 3D printers are improving and the cost of some models is decreasing. Many of the devices use plastic as a printing medium, so they would seem to be well suited for the recycling of the material.

One question that needs to be answered is whether repurposing plastic from one use to another will actually reduce the amount of waste or simply maintain it at the current level. This is something that needs to be closely monitored in any recycling effort. In addition, the deposition of plastic waste is increasing, which is an important point to consider with respect to the future actions of the bank.

The Plastic Bank has created the world's first 3D printer filament from waste collected from shorelines, as shown in the video above. This demonstrates that the waste can be repurposed and can potentially help people as well as the environment.

Spreading the Message at Expo 2020

Using the Plastic Bank to remove waste and alleviate poverty sounds like an excellent plan in principle, but time will tell whether it works in practice. I very much hope that the bank is successful and that if there are any problems the system is modified to solve them. So far, the project seems to be progressing well. According to the organization's website, companies are currently using social plastic in their products and new partnerships with significant businesses are being created.

The bank will participate in Expo 2020 in Dubai, which could increase its profile. The theme of the event is "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future". One of the subthemes is "Sustainability", which seems appropriate for the bank.

Expo 2020 was originally scheduled to start in October, 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event has been postponed for one year. The "Expo 2020" name has been retained, however. The event will start on October 1st, 2021 and end on March 31st, 2022. It could be a great time to promote social plastic. According to the event's website, Expo 2020 "will welcome 192 countries, plus businesses, multilateral organisations and educational establishments".

The serious global problems of plastic pollution and poverty each need an effective solution (or more likely, many different solutions). Multiple organizations and individuals are working on the problems, but they are difficult to solve. Hopefully, the Plastic Bank will continue to help reduce waste and decrease the incidence of poverty, as it is intended to do. If the organization reaches its goals and is successful on a long-term basis, it could be very helpful.

References and Further Information

  • The plastic bank has an informative website at plasticbank.org.
  • The organization also operates a website at socialplastic.org. Both sites have social media accounts.
  • Scientists were interviewed for a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) article about microplastics in supermarket fish.
  • Microplastic particles have been found in the air and in other parts of the environment, as reported by The Guardian newspaper
  • Plastic pollution by 2040 from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Information about Expo 2020 is available at the event's website.

© 2013 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 20, 2020:

I appreciate your comment, Peggy. I hope the project is very successful. I think it's important.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 20, 2020:

Combining two very worthy projects into one is brilliant. I hope that this effort of collecting plastic from all of the items discarded and alleviating poverty at the same time will be a resounding success. I am surprised that this article of yours is not on Owlcation, but I am happy to be able to leave another comment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 02, 2020:

Hi, Chrish. Thanks for the comment. Plastic is certainly a major problem today. I hope you have a good weekend as well.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on October 01, 2020:

As one of the environment concern, I considered plastic as a Virus. not everyone see things the way we do(thanks for writing this very awakening article Ms Linda),since it's no joke and just 65% of the entire population is working to save our HOME we need to act as ONE to make some changes.

Have a great weekend!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 01, 2020:

Hi, Peggy. I agree with your comments about plastic. I hope the bank is very successful, too. Plastic waste is a major problem.

I appreciate the fact that you look for articles where you can leave comments very much. Thank you, Peggy.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 01, 2020:

We reuse and repurpose plastic items as much as possible. I like the idea of The Plastic Bank. I hope it is wildly successful. Even better would be a way to make plastic that degrades much more quickly. Thanks for writing about this important topic.

It is getting hard to find an article by you not already on a niche site where comments are possible.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 05, 2017:

Yes, I agree, Stella. Materials that are safe for the environment need to be used and unsafe materials avoided. Thanks for the visit.

Stella Kaye from UK on April 05, 2017:

A good idea which should work in principle if people are motivated enough, but the problem of plastic pollution really needs to be tackled at source. Plastic producers must be persuaded to come up with a material that is safe for the environment, rather than the burden of plastic disposal be placed directly onto the consumer.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 10, 2014:

That's great to hear, jpcmc! Recycling and reusing are important strategies to reduce plastic waste. I wish more people would do these things.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on July 10, 2014:

We try our best to reduce the amount of plastic at home. recycling and reusing them helps a lot.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 06, 2014:

I agree, ologsinquito! Meeting both goals at the same time is a great idea.

ologsinquito from USA on April 06, 2014:

It's certainly good to have plastic reused, and if it can help people at the same time that's a wonderful idea.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 23, 2014:

Hi, Audrey. I think the topic is an important issue, too! Thank you for the visit and the comment.

Audrey Howitt from California on January 23, 2014:

What a great idea! I am so thankful to have run across this hub today--such an important issue!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 19, 2014:

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Theresa. Yes, the recycling of plastics is a very important topic. I hope that the research and practical efforts proceed rapidly. The planet and the people living here need a solution to the plastic waste problem and to poverty.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on January 19, 2014:

What a fascinating and important topic. I had no idea of the progress being made in recycling plastics. I know much more needs to be done, but hopefully the recycling businesses will continue to expand their operations. Great Hub. Theresa

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 19, 2014:

I didn't know that you were in India at the moment, jonnycomelately. It sounds like great work is being done there. I hope that the effort eventually helps the planet significantly.

jonnycomelately on January 19, 2014:

Thanks AliciaC. I am currently in South India, where there is lots of work going on in various fields of study, all centered on rescuing our planet from over-use/abuse of our resources. The more people devoted to this the better, and I am sure that if we share information it will happen even more quickly.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 18, 2014:

Good luck with your quest, jonnycomelately. Some fungi can break down certain types of plastic, to a greater or lesser degree, and so can some bacteria.

jonnycomelately on January 18, 2014:

Here is a plea for anyone out there who knows anything about fungi to contact me.

I am very interested in finding out which fungi might begin the process of decay in common plastic wrappings.

If you are a professor or know someone who can help me, please, I would be most grateful for any information.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 17, 2014:

Hi, Glenn. Yes, the effect of plastic waste on animals is extremely worrying. I hope the plan to use recycled plastic in 3D printers is successful at reducing pollution. Thanks for the visit.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on January 17, 2014:

The worst thing about the plastic waste is how animals think it's food, and die from it with stomachs full of small plastic items.

I hope to see the combination of 3D Printing with Plastic Recycling continue to grow. 3D Printing may provide a low-cost method of repurposing recycled plastic, rather than letting it go into our oceans and landfills.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 03, 2014:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for an interesting comment, Goodpal.

Goodpal on January 03, 2014:

I see your point, johnnycomelately.

Over-packaging to make goods look is a major consumption of resources. Media commercials and "health" advisers create an atmosphere that turn needs into wants and often overplay certain facts. For example, who is going to disagree if packaging is justified in terms of hygiene; convenience is another evergreen argument for modification of consumer goods. Hence, we see too much processing and too much packaging of every consumable item.

Given the will it is possible to create a system where people go to farms and buy fresh fruits/veg without packaging - the same can be applied to bread and other daily consumables. This will simplify life, but the economists will complain because the economy will shrink and give them nightmares of looming depression. This is the vicious cycle of having an unsustainable economic system based purely on ever increasing consumption.

However, there is a way out if we heed the latest research in development models. Professor Amartya Sen's capability approach to development is perhaps the most popular among them. Until then, we have to be happy with whatever recycling we can do.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 02, 2014:

Thank you for sharing your interesting memories, jonnycomelately. I too remember the days of glass milk bottles being delivered to homes and then being washed for pick-up. There have been some wonderful advances since I was a child, such as improved medical treatments, but it does seem that we have lost a lot, too. We are certainly using the planet's resources at an alarming rate, as you say. It's a sad situation.

jonnycomelately on January 02, 2014:

When I was a kid we did not use "disposables." Milk came in bottles, delivered to the door each morning. Mum washed out the bottle diligently, ready for collection next morning. No one suffered from any disease spread by milk.

Bread was purchased uncut. It was well baked, kept in the open air, but stored in a bin, which kept it from going moldy so quickly. Stale bread was made into various delicious meals, like bread and butter pudding; bread pudding (which contained lots of dried fruit and spices to hide any lingering stale flavour); Queen of Pudding, which used bread crumbs mixed into an egg custard with vanila essence, then topped with strawberry jam and meringue and baked in the oven; very little got wasted, this was genuine recycling.

There was no plastic film for wrapping sandwiches (school lunch), because it had not yet been invented. We used the greaseproof paper out of the cornflakes packet. Another example of recycling.

Plastic potato sacks had not been invented. Jute sacking was used. When no longer in one piece it could be cut up to make smaller bags, or added as a blanket for the dog's bed.

We have become a complex, complicated, demanding society, using up ready resources of the planet like it only had 100 years life left in it.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 02, 2014:

I agree, Goodpal. Recycling plastic is good, but as you say, we also need to replace the use of plastic with materials that are safer for the environment. Thank you for the comment.

Goodpal on January 02, 2014:

Plastic Bank and recycling is certainly a good initiative. However, to be environmentally effective the recycling of plastic has to go in parallel with discouraging use of plastic and replacing plastic products with natural fibers products (jute, for example).

Above all, we need to have a serious look at high-consumption lifestyle of people and how it can be rationalized.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 27, 2013:

Hi, HSchneider. Thanks for the comment. I agree - the amount of plastic waste that humans produce is very worrying.

Howard Schneider from Parsippany, New Jersey on December 27, 2013:

Great Hub, AliciaC. This sounds like a wonderful idea. The amount of discarded plastic we generate definitely wreaks havoc on our environment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 26, 2013:

Hi, Deb. Shipping trash to another country for disposal has always seemed like a strange idea to me! I'm glad that the Plastic Bank is going to try to help people, too. If all goes according to plan, the organization should be able to help people as well as the environment.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 26, 2013:

Trash is big business, especially in other parts of the world, because we routinely ship it there. The US, China, and India have the largest deposits of trash, and spend the most money to ship it elsewhere This new organization will be making a lot of money, but I am glad that they are going to try to give back to the communities.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 26, 2013:

Hi, Martie. Providing aid for plastic collectors in the form of transport would certainly be useful. The collectors should definitely be helped in their efforts to earn an honourable living, as you say. Collecting plastic is a valuable way to help the planet. The collectors must be compensated appropriately for their work! Thanks for the comment, Martie.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on December 26, 2013:

We have them down here as well. I feel so sorry for the people collecting plastic in garbage bags and wish the municipality could force us to put plastic waste in separate bags, as they do in some countries in Europe. And I wish some companies or individuals could provide transport for these collectors. Most of all I wish I have had the influence , time and financial means to assist the collectors in their honorable efforts to earn their daily bread. If I ever write a hub about this I will link it to this one of your. Thank you, Alicia :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 25, 2013:

Thanks for commenting and for sharing the information, pramodgokhale. I hope the recycling plan goes well wherever it's tried, including India.

pramodgokhale from Pune( India) on December 25, 2013:

Yes,

Hub is interesting and plastic bank is really fascinating idea.It will generate wealth and employment.

In India , people collect plastic garbage but recycling contractors do not pay as per market price but some of your ideas and solutions can be replicated in India.

We can make our surrounding clean and Eco-friendly.

pramodgokhale

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 22, 2013:

Hi, Vellur. Thank you very much for the comment and the vote. I agree - the bank is a great idea. I hope it's successful.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 22, 2013:

Yes, I definitely think the idea is worth trying! Thank you very much for the visit, the vote and the share, CrisSp.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 22, 2013:

Hi, Bill. Yes, I'm very interested in seeing how the first centre works, too! Thank you for the comment, the vote and the share.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 22, 2013:

The plastic bank is a great idea and I really hope it works. Great hub, interesting and informative. Voted up.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on December 22, 2013:

All worth the try. Why not? Great, educational hub. Voting up and passing it along.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on December 22, 2013:

Hi Linda. Let's hope this works. It sounds like a great idea. I will be curious to see how this develops in 2014 when they open the first center. Very interesting hub, great job. Voted up, shared, etc...

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2013:

This is a beautiful comment, jonnycomelately. One of the founders of the bank has a background as a social entrepreneur, so I'm hoping for the best. A careful accounting and check-up process will be necessary, and the background of local helpers will have to be checked carefully. Although there is the potential for problems there is also the potential for so much good to come from this project!

jonnycomelately on December 21, 2013:

I can see the need for community involvement in such a scheme, with Co-operative principles and methods of working/accounting applied.

I am also an advocate of careful, honest, conscientious business practices, to ensure the flow in and out of finance works on a sound, sustainable basis.

Money, as I see it, is a very convenient and efficient "medium of exchange." Used honestly and wisely it can be the oil which lubricates a business process. I do not equate "business" or "business persons" as necessarily bad or corrupt.

I would like honest and astute business people to come forward and join WITH the ideal models and help to sustain them for the benefit of everyone.

What better than for a business person to build a reputation on fair play, apply such principles and build a life of which his/her great grandchildren can be rightly proud?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2013:

That's a very interesting comment, Mel. I hope very much that you're wrong, but time will tell! I will be watching the progress of the organization closely to see how things work in practice. There are a lot of unknown factors in the process and many opportunities for problems. Thanks for sharing your viewpoint and for the comment.

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on December 21, 2013:

It smells a little bad to me that this entrepreneur is opposed to paying the people who will actually be cleaning up the plastic, although he is not opposed to taking "corrupt money" himself in this for profit business. I'm sure the notoriously corrupt foreign governments of these plastic bank locales will find ways to deny these "farm credits" and so forth to the people that earn them. I'm betting that if he just paid then overnight you wouldn't find a shred of plastic anywhere. I agree with the proposition and I admire your skill in composing this hub, but I just don't trust this man's intentions. All the same great hub!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2013:

Thanks for the visit, drbj. The Plastic Bank certainly is an innovative plan. Hopefully, recycling plastic will help people in financial need and help the plastic waste problem as well.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on December 21, 2013:

The Plastic Bank is an innovative and worthwhile experiment. I hope it is successful. As you pointed out, 3-D printing firms could benefit greatly from this new source of plastics. Thanks for the information, Alicia.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2013:

Living in a rural area must be nice, Jodah, but it sounds very inconvenient to have to take your own garbage to the dump! Thanks for the comment.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 21, 2013:

Hi, Jeremy. I hope that the idea catches on, too. It could be very helpful!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 21, 2013:

Good hub. The plastic bank sounds like a great idea. There are recycling centres in most major cities here, but not in rural area like where I live. We don't even have a rubbish collection service, but have to dump it ourselves so it's a waste of time separating plastics and other recyclables from the general rubbish.

Jeremy Floyd from Washington on December 21, 2013:

That's a very awesome idea. I really hope that it catches on!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2013:

I hope it works, too! Thanks for the visit, tirelesstraveler.

Judy Specht from California on December 20, 2013:

Very interesting concept. Certainly hope it works.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2013:

Hi, EGamboa. Yes, I think that repurposing plastic is definitely worthwhile. Thanks for the comment.

Eileen Gamboa from West Palm Beach on December 20, 2013:

Definitely a win win; and surely repurposed plastic is better than double the amount of plastic, had it not been repurposed. Good article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2013:

Thanks for the comment and the vote, word55. I make sure that I recycle, too. Every little bit helps the planet!

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on December 20, 2013:

Thanks AliciaC, You're spreading the word very effectively. I do the plastics and aluminum. Hub was well expressed. Voted up!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2013:

Thank you very much for the visit, the vote and the Twitter share, Heidi! I think the bank is an excellent idea, too.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on December 20, 2013:

What an excellent idea! Thanks for sharing. Voted up & shared on Twitter!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2013:

Hi, Gail. I hope that the plan works in both cases, too! The bank could be very useful. Thanks for the comment.

Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on December 20, 2013:

I hope this works in both cases, Alicia. I am glad you have brought attention to this issue. This sounds like it would be a great solution!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2013:

Thank you, DDE. I always appreciate your visits!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 20, 2013:

Hi, Ghaelach. That's another good point to consider! There are many questions that need to be answered about this project. Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the share.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 20, 2013:

Recycling Plastic and Reducing Poverty - The Plastic Bank sounds a wonderful concept another great thought from you always something more to think about from your work.

Ghaelach on December 20, 2013:

Morning Alicia.

Great idea and a good way of cleaning our streets, parks and beaches not to mention the oceans.

They talk of making plastic a valuable product which would be great for the owners of the business and share holders, but will the price of what is inside these plastic containers also cost more. i.e food products, fluids, computers etc. They say they will exchange waist plastic for recycled plastic, that's ok for a washing-up dish in the kitchen but what about a plastic bottle containing milk. Will the price of milk not increase to the end user?.

Great hub with valuable info.

UP and sharing.

LOL Ghaelach

Europe 09:40am

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 19, 2013:

Thank you for the comment, jonnycomelately. I appreciate your visit. The Plastic Bank does offer the possibility of a bright future. I hope the organization is successful.

jonnycomelately on December 19, 2013:

Quite apart from the technological concepts this Hub touches on, I love the bright, positive, hopeful spirit engendered.

The need of the Haitian people immediately come to mind.

Thanks for sharing this AliciaC.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 19, 2013:

Thank you very much for the comment, the votes and the share, Faith. The way in which we treat the planet is certainly very sad. I hope the Plastic Bank helps both the environment and people in need. Best wishes to you, Faith.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on December 19, 2013:

Fascinating, Alicia! I hope this plan works to help both issues. It is a sad state of affairs what has been done to the planet and plastic waste. Thank you for bringing awareness to these issues and the Plastic Bank. I have never heard of it before.

Up and more and sharing

Blessings, Faith Reaper

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 19, 2013:

These are all good points, maxoxam41. It will be interesting to learn more details about the project as it progresses. Thank you for the visit and the comment.

Deforest from USA on December 19, 2013:

Why not as long as it serves the people. However how will they value a goo education? How many tons of plastic? Who will guarantee fairness?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 19, 2013:

Hi, Bill. Yes, that's exactly the way I feel. The concept is great, and the effort is badly needed. Hopefully it will be successful. Thanks for the comment.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 19, 2013:

I sure hope this idea is as good as it sounds in theory. What a great concept and one that is direly needed in this plastic-using society. Thanks for the info, Alicia.