In a matter of fifty years, the use of plastics for packaging have shifted from nonexistent until the late 1940’s to a material that is used, and therefore disposed of, anywhere and everywhere.
There is a great concern associated with recycling and reusing plastics, especially because it is so common and cheap to buy that people hardly ever think of what price they really pay when using it is, especially when it comes to the environment. A great new initiative, however, called “Plastic Bank“, has the aim to address the problem of plastics and plastic pollution, and what is more, it could also tackle poverty.
The idea is pretty simple, to replace money with plastics, and use them as a form of currency in areas where poverty is of a great concern. By doing this, people will become aware that plastics are not something that should be thrown away wherever suitable, and their value is actually much greater than written on the label. Dr. Mike Biddle and his team, who are behind the initiative, think that exactly the attitude and perception that plastics are too cheap hence should be disposed of, is what has led to the enormous ocean and land pollution.
Plastic Bank is essentially a fancy recycling point, where used plastics can be brought in and turned into materials for 3D printing. In poor areas where pollution and poverty are the key problems, using the materials instead of money could really solve the two issues with one simple step. The new currency can also be spent on education, training and other essential necessities. The inventors are aware of the huge task they have at hand, but with the new low energy plastic recycling system that they propose, Biddle and his team are convinced that they will be able to introduce a whole new concept of reusing the material.
The first place where the project will be tested is Lima, Peru, and it will all begin in less than two months, after a great crowdfunding campaign that brought more than $20,000 to the initiative.
Image (c) Plastic Bank