As our name says, we are looking out for pioneers from all around the globe. But what exactly is a pioneer and what is he doing? If you look up the definition of a “pioneer” you will find some different definitions on what a pioneer is. Initially pioneer being a military term, its use and meaning has shifted towards more of a figuratively term. We now refer to people as pioneers who take a forerunner role on a certain field, accomplish something groundbreaking and thereby pave the way for others to follow.

As we continue to introduce you to extraordinary ideas, we want to present you an idea by people of who we think are truly pioneers. Maybe some of you have already heard of the “Plastic Bank”, but for those of you who haven’t, we share their story here. Maybe you can find some inspiration in getting to know their story.

The Plastic Bank

The basic idea of the founders David Katz and Shaun Frankson is to add value to plastic waste. Countries like Haiti, the Philippines and Indonesia are currently suffering extremely under the enormous waste generation. The generated waste (especially plastic waste) is often just thrown into rivers letting the waste flow into the ocean. This is where the founders of the „Plastic Bank” want to intervene. They had a quite unusual idea on how to solve this problem.

The plastic bank

People in the countries mentioned above that are affected by the waste problematic can collect plastic waste on the streets where they live. With their bags full of plastic, the waste collectors can bring the waste to the company’s recycling stations. The Plastic Bank then offers to change the collected waste into money, items or blockchain-secured digital tokens. When the collector wants to sell his plastic and decides to receive money for it, he even gets more money than the price of the raw material would be (above market-rate). This ensures the participation of poor people and triggers a high participation in general.

Now you might think that this sounds like a “nice” idea in the first place, but how can this project refinance itself? Especially when the project buys the collected plastic at an above market-rate? The founders of the Plastic Bank have an easy, as well as genius, solution to this question.

„Social Plastic“

The collected plastic waste gets utilized and recycled. Furthermore, the then recycled plastic is sold as “Social Plastic”. Many companies buy the recycled plastic and use it for their own product packaging. “Henkel” for example has used “Social Plastic” for the packaging of over 1 billion products. Therefore, companies like “Henkel” can advertise their products with the tag of “Social Plastic”. This concept makes a huge impact on the circular value chain of plastics.

This program furthermore creates a win-win situation by fighting pollution and poverty. The collectors ensure that plastic waste on the streets disappears and they get an understanding of how important it is to recycle properly. In addition to that the program makes an immense contribution to fight poverty. The earned money through collecting plastic waste ensures the collectors to have food on the table, to give their children a good education and being able to afford a roof over their heads.

Would you
have thought that you could create a win-win situation out of plastic waste
before reading this article? We truly think that the founders of the Plastic
Bank are pioneers, as they paved the way for tackling global waste problems
with innovative ideas. Hopefully this encourages you to be a pioneer and pursue
the ideas you might have on tackling global waste problems.

Become a pioneer yourself!

If you have an unconventional idea that tackles global waste problems and want to be a pioneer yourself, we gladly want to support you on your journey. Therefore we have launched a global competition to guide young and innovative people. If you and your idea can convince us, we will support you on your mission to become a pioneer. Our support will make it a lot easier for you to take the first pioneer-steps on “uncharted territory”. The winners of our competition await funding, as well as an invitation to our winners-workshop in Berlin.

All further information on our competition can be found by pressing on the „apply-button“. We are looking forward to hear from you and your ideas!

Further information on the plastic bank and their work can be found here.