Experts today believe at least 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year. The World Economic Forum says that’s the same as dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. And by 2050, it’s expected to increase to four garbage trucks per minute.
That’s why companies like SC Johnson are working hard to find ways to minimize the amount of plastic waste around the globe. From a product perspective, we have taken many steps, like developing our products to encourage reuse, designing out of excess packaging and increasing the recycled content of our plastic bottles.
But we see an opportunity beyond products, too. We want to help recover plastic waste through innovative recycling and recovery programs. In this way we can reduce environmental impact and, at the same time, do some good in communities that have excessive plastic pollution.
In 2018, SC Johnson kicked off a partnership with Plastic Bank, one of the leading organizations working to reduce ocean plastic.
Plastic Bank’s mission is to create social and environmental impact in areas with high levels of poverty and plastic pollution. To do this, they exchange plastic collected by residents for money, goods or services. The collected plastic is recycled and sold as Social Plastic®. The collectors benefit from the value they receive in exchange.
Working with Plastic Bank, we are opening eight new recycling centers in Indonesia, each able to collect about 100 metric tons of plastic a year and provide opportunities for hundreds of local waste collectors. The first center opened in Bali on October 28, 2018, and all eight centers should be operational by mid 2019.
In October 2018, SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson visited Indonesia and dove at Manta Point with Conservation International (CI), our long-time partner in environmental action. For more than 15 years, we’ve been .
As a lifelong diver who has been in seas around the world, Fisk has seen ocean conditions decline and wanted to see the ocean plastic crisis up close. Manta Point gained fame in 2018 when a diver shared video of extensive plastic pollution in the water.
While Fisk didn’t encounter the same level of pollution as that diver, the marine biodiversity was inspiring and further spotlighted the devastating impact plastic pollution could have.
One reason the Plastic Bank partnership was so appealing was the opportunity to do good for people AND the planet.
SC Johnson has a long history of efforts that aim to meet both these goals, such as our long-term investment to encourage in Rwanda and a program launched in 2016 to for workers at waste separation facilities.
We hope this new partnership will have a similar positive impact. Nearly 28 million Indonesians live below the poverty line, meaning a program of this scale could bring significant benefits.
Right now, due to safety concerns, many Indonesian residents don’t carry cash. But the Plastic Bank program uses Blockchain technology, meaning collectors get access to resources with less risk of loss.