So what does it mean to get to #PlasticNeutral? Just like offsetting your carbon footprint, there's finally a way to offset your plastic footprint. We use our plastic footprint calculator to measure the average annual plastic use. To account for plastic bottles, toothbrushes and containers, we have partnered with three amazing waste management organizations–Saahas Zero Waste, Aasra Welfare Association and Waste Ventures India–to compensate for the equivalent volume of your plastics intake thus motivating marginal waste workers. Our specific patented measurement device also helps you better understand your plastic use. But why are you going to #PlasticNeutral?
Reason 1: #Rebalancing the global recycling environment
How did we get to the point that, when we recycle a plastic bottle, it is more likely to travel more than 10,000 kilometers across continents than to be recycled in its own country? For more than 25 years, countries in the Global North, such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, have been exporting their plastic waste to Asian countries in the Global South, which choose to handle our waste over their own countries because it is economically more lucrative. Nevertheless, in 2018 alone, the United States exported more than 78% of its plastic waste to countries such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia to be recycled. The irony of all this is that the bulk of our waste goes to the places that have the least developed waste management systems in the world.
In South Asia and South East Asia in particular, the waste management sector is primarily made up of informal waste workers. In India, more than one million of these waste pickers, or' kabadiwalas,' live and work in landfills and landfill sites for the recovery of plastics, metals, glass and carton–with an average income of $1.50–$3.00 per day. We sell back what is obtained at the processing plant and give these items their only chance for a second life.
In order to rebalance this severe disorder, #PlasticNeutral helps to establish a more equitable, responsible and effective global waste system. Your rebalancing payment funds waste management organizations in India that collect, segregate, clean and process the amount of plastic equal to your plastic footprint and ensure that it is recycled effectively while also inspiring waste workers.
Reason 2: Recover plastics that would never have been saved
When a waste worker has a choice between finding a plastic bottle of water or a chip bag, they will always choose a bottle. In fact, waste workers will always try to collect plastics such as PET or HDPE (think soda bottles and milk jugs) from other plastics because they have the most economic value. Other plastics such as multi-layer plastics (think chip bags and wrappers) and polystyrene (think styrofoam) are the least likely to be noticed because they have an extremely low weight and the lowest price per kg, which adds up to the streets littered with snickers wrappers and the packing peanuts of someone's new Amazon Prime order.
MLPs, or multilayer plastics, and polystyrene are accumulating high in Indian landfills and flooding our water bodies at an alarming rate. Everyone wants to pick up these plastics, and there is no recycling plant that wants to take them in. For this reason, when you offset your plastic footprint, we decided to collect and recycle only plastics that would never have been saved.
They account for the equivalent volume of your carbon footprint in MLP and polystyrene waste. Such plastics are processed and then sent to a recycling plant for co-processing. Co-processing uses plastic waste as a source of energy for energy-intensive industries such as cement, lime, steel, glass and power generation. Such companies usually use coal as their primary source of energy; however, we compensate for this by using plastic waste as a viable alternative. This is a win - win situation: plastics arecleanly co-processedfor power generation and the amount of coal extracted and incinerated by this industry is significantly reduced.
Reason 3: Empowering one of the most marginalized groups in South Asia
Waste workers plays a significant role in the recycling industry in India. For waste workers, India has one of the highest recycling levels of PET plastic at 70%. However, despite the fact that these workers are the underground, environmental heroes of today, Indian ragpickers are still struggling to meet even their most basic needs. We are exposed to harmful substances on a daily basis, earn poor wages and lack basic civic facilities. In their work, more powerful players often exploit higher value chains, which restrict their access to fair wages. Many live on the site of the landfill or on the outskirts of the slums and struggle for basic sanitation, water supply and electricity. Such communities are usually illegal settlements that are not accepted by the local government and therefore do not have access to the basic services of the city.
Nevertheless, through the repurpose program, we partner with organizations that rescue waste pickers from these unsafe working conditions and provide them with more safe and financially stable employment in the formal waste management business. They are given fair pay, healthier working conditions and guarantees to prevent exploitation of any kind.
Reason 4: Create a Circular Economy Ecosystem
When you go to #PlasticNeutral, plastics are locked back into the loop. Low-value plastics such as MLPs and polystyrene re-enter the production cycle while more coal is being thrown out. Our mission is to find plastic waste sources through reuse, recycling and redesign. This is how we see it: for every toothpaste container that re-enters the chain, that is, one less container buried in a landfill, burned in incineration, or floating into the ocean.
We assume that the circular economy is the way forward for the future. We are therefore also collaborating with companies with the goal of redesigning packaging and with policymakers on regulatory changes to reduce the production of plastic at source. In partnership with FMCG firms, we are developing a Circular Economy Innovation Lab to find sustainable packaging approaches, creative circular business models and recycling innovations aimed at reducing post-consumer waste and manufacturing plastics together.
Reason 5: Contributing to a more sustainable future
for all of Going #PlasticNeutral is all about future thinking. We are rebalancing the global plastic environment, giving new life to "lost-case" plastics, inspiring today's workers for their children tomorrow, and creating a forum for creative green technology to turn our linear economy into a cyclical one. But we also dare to take another step: by neutralizing your plastic footprint, you're offsetting the plastics that you've made today, but we're asking you to reconsider the plastics that you're going to make tomorrow. We'll give you personalized, aware lifestyle tips to raising your plastic footprint and live an increasingly sustainable life. The plastic bottle begins with us: when we reject disposable products and, in the first place, agree to reduce our waste, we begin to catalyze improvements in manufacturing, technologies and the environment.
Join the movement, then. Encourage your friends, family, employer or school to move on to #PlasticNeutral and reshape the current socio-economic and environmental atmosphere around plastics.
Calculate your plastic footprint and go to #PlasticNeutral today!