Assurances, Policies, and FAQ's
Plastic Bank abides by strict standards that advocate for human rights and ethical labour practices. We take a firm stance against child labour and forced labour of any kind. In this guide, we explaining how Plastic Bank maintains strict control and governance of the assurance topics critical to our successful partnerships – these include:
Blockchain for Collection Traceability and Transaction Transparency
With the guidance of IBM, we’ve built a blockchain backed platform that offers transparency and traceability in all transactions worldwide. Simply put, blockchain is a digital ledger utilizing cryptography that tracks our worldwide operations. Every transaction is captured by the app, ensuring a complete end-to-end audit trail of every transaction and exchange starting from the initial point of collection to a registered collector all the way to the Social Plastic® product on the shelf. The complete audit trail chain is unique to us and provides real-time data visualization – allowing for transparency, traceability, and rapid scalability for both the collectors and for Plastic Bank partners.
The Plastic Bank App is powered by blockchain to add further value with Hyperledger Fabric Smart Contracts – permitting trusted transactions and agreements to be fulfilled. This is an extra precaution to ensure economic development in vulnerable regions is not threatened by corruption or fraud.
Developed on the IBM blockchain platform, our app is built using the same enterprise level cloud and server systems as a bank would use, allowing for enhanced scalability and security.
For more information, see here:
Ethical Trade & Supply Chain
Plastic Bank is a registered member of SEDEX, home to one of the world’s largest collaborative platforms for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains. Sedex works with some of the world’s most recognisable brands and standard setting organisations, such as the United Nations and Ethical Trade Initiative.
Plastic Bank is also working on a multitude of certifications and ISO certification, and will be one of the first companies to be ISO 17033 certified for Ethical Claims. We are also formalizing our official Social Plastic Standard based on ISO 17033. Our standard will encompass the principal’s of the World Fair Trade Organization and the United Nations Guiding Principles as demonstrated through ISO 26000 for Social Responsibility.
Beyond just the written standard, Plastic Bank’s app and platform have special features for internal auditing and account management to continuously ensure all participants remain in compliance with our requirements.
Child Labour and Ethical Workplace Standards
“The only place children should have to work is in their classroom”
– David Katz, Founder and CEO
Plastic Bank abides by strict standards around child labour and forced labour.
What is Child labour?
Child labour, as defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention, is “work by children under the age of 12; work by children under the age of 15 that prevents school attendance; and work by children under of age of 18 that is hazardous to the physical or mental health of the child.”
Our Philosophy on Child Labour
Children have a right to develop free of burden, suffering, despair, longing or servitude. Our human duty is to create an environment where children can be present, conscious and open to creating possibilities for themselves, their families, their communities and the world.
The foundation of Plastic Bank’s ‘No Child Labour Policy’ is based on the Company’s commitment to practical, meaningful and culturally appropriate responses to support the elimination of child labour practices.
We will always comply with all applicable child labour laws and forced labour laws, including those related to wages, hours worked, overtime and working conditions. Plastic Bank will always strongly and vocally oppose all forms of exploitation of children and people bound to forced labour.
The Plastic Bank App, powered by blockchain technology, ensures we are not employing any children as collectors. When collectors register with Plastic Bank, we verify their identities to ensure that they are above the legal age in their given country. We only accept collections from registered collectors and we only allow adults to register as collectors.
Plastic Bank staff at collection centers are trained to do random audits and make sure all collection is done by adults to ensure collectors are not taking advantage of second tier child labour (adults using children to do their collection).
In the case where an unaccompanied minor attempts to drop off plastic at one of our collection centers, Plastic Bank employees work with the community to identify the child and their family, and determine if any additional resources can be brought in to help. We understand that in collection communities, children might be operating in proxy for an adult family member in a time of need.
Plastic Bank also provides structured, ethical opportunities for families to participate in collection. This is done through school and faith-based programs where we typically have designated areas for dropping off materials. When children participate at these locations, it’s in an extracurricular capacity, which doesn’t take away from their regular activities and provides the extra benefit of educating children and their families on circular economies and the varying impacts of plastic waste.
Plastic Bank’s Policy
Plastic Bank will never employ any person below the age of eighteen years at the workplace. Plastic Bank prohibits and opposes any use of child labour and forced or compulsory labour along its entire value chain. No employee will ever work against his/her will or work as bonded/forced labour, or subject to corporal punishment or coercion of any type related to work. All processors and collection branches sign a No Child Labour Agreement in order to be qualified to participate in our ecosystems.
Collector, Stakeholder and Processor Agreements
Collector and Stakeholders
Plastic Bank collectors are independent collector entrepreneurs. When they register, they receive access to Plastic Bank premiums, community incentives and non-cash redemption items. Collection branches and processing partners must sign our Code of Conduct around ethical business operations.
Plastic Bank processing partners – involved in the conversion of collected plastic into Social Plastic feedstock – commit to the prevention of child labor in all activities. Processors strictly follow the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Guide.
Processors commit to following the stricter law if more than one laws apply (e.g. state and federal, local and international) in their countries of operation. They also require their own suppliers, partners and vendors to follow the stricter applicable laws and recognize children’s rights. They formally commit to never using forced labor or human trafficking in any form – prison, slavery, indentured, bonded or otherwise.
Are the salaries of the employees included in the yearly investment?
Impact Programs are funded by the purchase of Impact Credits. For every kilogram of plastic purchased, a portion goes directly to our collector communities – funding collectors, branch operations, transportation, and costs in our value chain.
Impact Programs are calculated by the volume of collected plastic waste, and each partner is giving an equivalent bottle count (approximately 50 bottles per kilogram) depending on the level of impact. Each kilogram will be collected by Plastic Bank collectors at a determined number of collection branches worldwide.
What are the uses and applications of the reprocessed and recycled plastic, or Social Plastic®?
Social Plastic® is ethically sourced recycled material that drives environmental, social and economic impact. CPG or FMCG companies use Social Plastic® in products and packaging, replacing virgin plastic and creating a closed-loop supply chain. Plastic Bank works with partners to understand their unique brand value and material needs.
Social Plastic® has proven to be of significant brand value to current partners, examples include:
Henkel’s recent diamond award and video
SCJ’s Windex Brand and their progress in tackling plastic pollution
ScanCom, one of many packaging and product applications
Food grade items for Carton Pack, selling in Aldi with our rPET fruit and berry clamshells
What is the difference between Social Plastic® and recycled plastic?
We build recycling ecosystems in coastal communities where local collectors exchange plastic waste for premiums to help them provide basic family necessities. In addition to basic family necessities, Plastic Bank provides other community development programs that drive impact in our collector communities, including school programs for basic education and waste management awareness, and faith programs to involve local faith-based organizations. The collected plastic waste is used as currency to access these programs, and the plastic materials are then reprocessed for reintroduction into the global supply chain as Social Plastic®.
What types of Social Plastic are collected and available for sale?
- rHDPE (milk containers, detergent containers)
- rLDPE (plastic bags, bubble wrap)
- rPET (plastic beverage containers)
- rPP (battery casings, dairy product containers)
How much have you collected?
We track our impact in real-time using blockchain technology. To see our latest impact metrics, see here.
What’s the average amount of plastic collected by one person in a day?
On average, our collectors are able to collect about 20 kilograms of plastic waste per day.
Does Plastic Bank collect marine litter for recycling?
Plastic Bank believes that before we can effectively clean debris from the oceans, we need to turn off the tap to ocean plastic before it enters the ocean in the first place. For that reason, Plastic Bank’s primary focus is ocean-bound plastic waste, defined as plastic found on the ground within 50 kilometers of a waterway or coastal area.
What countries do you operate in?
We currently have operations in Haiti, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil and Egypt.
How do you select countries for expansion?
When looking to expand operations and scale into a new country, we identify countries with extremely high rates of plastic pollution and poverty. These countries typically lack waste management infrastructure and have a greater dependency on single-use packaging, resulting in a disproportionate amount of pollution.
What is your basic operating plan, and what communities benefit?
Plastic Bank builds ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities and reprocesses the materials for reintroduction into the global manufacturing supply chain. Collectors receive a premium for the materials they collect which helps them provide basic family necessities such as groceries, cooking fuel, school tuition, and health insurance. Plastic Bank’s certified blockchain platform secures the entire transaction and provides real-time data visualization – allowing for transparency, traceability, and rapid scalability. The collected material is reborn as Social Plastic® which can be easily reintegrated into products and packaging as part of a closed-loop supply chain. Plastic Bank currently operates in Haiti, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Egypt.
What do you do with the plastic after it’s collected?
The collected material reprocessed and reborn as Social Plastic® can be easily reintegrated into products and packaging as part of a closed-loop supply chain. This empowers the regenerative economy by creating lasting social, environmental and economic impact. To learn more about Social Plastic®, see here.