Turning Plastic Waste into Money

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Plastics are a common site on all beaches around the world.

Plastics can be found in every ocean and sea around the world. Around 80 percent of the litter found in the ocean starts on land, and most of it is plastic. This plastic rubbish pollutes the water and hurts seabirds, fish, turtles and other marine animals that mistake it for food.

In parts of Peru, naturally beautiful beaches are now littered with plastics that have washed-up from the ocean. However a recycling startup in Peru aims to change that.

“Plastic Bank” aims to clears the world’s beaches and waterways of plastic rubbish while also educating and improving the lives of people living in poverty. Reusable plastics collected by local communities are used as a form of currency —they can be exchanged for 3D printed products, basic necessities such as food and clothing, and for micro-finance loans. The plastics are recycled and sold, and the funds are used to support the organization.

The goal is to clean up the environment, while also helping impoverished communities to become empowered through education and financial support. Plastic Bank is opening its first center in Peru, with plans for more banks to be opened in other communities around the world.