Millions of people in developing countries rely on collecting waste plastics as their primary source of income. Yet these recyclers only receive 5% of the industry profits. The low value of plastic leads to irresponsible disposal and environmental contamination. Our open book trading system connects these recyclers directly with commercial buyers who pay a fair trade price for the plastic. This helps to reduce poverty levels and increase recycling rates.
Picture Yasbel, a single mother of 3 living on less than $2 a day in a rural village in India. With limited opportunity for employment she provides for her family by collecting discarded plastics.
Being a recycler can be difficult. In her village, a buyer of the plastic comes once a week with a truck. Since there is only one buyer, Yasbel has very little negotiating power over the price she receives for the collected plastic. The price of plastic is so low in her village, that often plastic waste is racked up and burnt or dumped directly into the river.
All that will change when the recyclers in her community are introduced to Plastics For Change™. Using the transparent, open book trading system we anticipate Yasbel will be able to dramatically increase her income. The recyclers will have competitive paying jobs to provide for their families by cleaning up the streets and helping to reduce the amount of plastic entering the water canals. When the plastic is seen as a valuable resource rather than garbage, it will start to disappear from the otherwise beautiful landscapes and rivers of India.
Yasbel is just one of millions in her country that makes her primary household income from recycling. Yet only 5-10% of plastics are recycled globally. We need to make the plastics more valuable for those at the base of the recycling pyramid. We can use this discarded resource to reduce poverty and create change.