SC Johnson to improve recycling infrastructure in developing nation to combat ocean plastics
SC Johnson has partnered with economic development firm Plastic Bank to upscale access to recycling infrastructure in developing regions and leverage blockchain technology to stop plastic waste from entering into oceans while improving economic and social outlooks for communities.
SC Johnson and Plastic Bank already have nine plastic collection centres in Indonesia. The two organisations announced on Friday (18 October) that they have expanded the initiative. Under the three-year agreement, more than 500 collection centres and points will be created across Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – the latter four are amongst the five countries that contribute most to ocean plastic.
The partnership will also develop a “Social Plastic ecosystem” that will create jobs at the recycling centres and collection points for some of the poorest communities. Residents can collect plastic for digital tokens that can be exchanged through blockchain technology for necessities, healthcare coverage, school tuition and local currency. edie has requested information as to how citizens can access the platform.
“More than 8 million metric tons of plastic leak into the ocean every year, so building infrastructure that stops plastic before it gets into the ocean is key to solving this issue,” SC Johnson’s chief executive Fisk Johnson said.
“I’m particularly pleased that this program we developed with Plastic Bank helps to address poverty and this critical environmental issue at the same time.”
Once the plastic has been collected, it will be recycled into a 100% “Social Plastic” bottle, which SC Johnson will use for its Windex brand from February 2020.
The firm’s Windex Vinegar Ocean Plastic bottles, the industry’s first plastic bottle made entirely from recycled ocean plastic, are now available in the North American domestic market with eight million units set to be supplied to retailers such as Walmart and Target. As well as being 100% recyclable, the product is also non-toxic and cruelty-free.
The Windex Vinegar Ocean Plastic bottles are the latest in a line of packaging developments aimed at reducing plastic pollution, including Ecover’s 50% ocean plastic bottle and Proctor & Gamble’s (P&G’s) 25% beach plastic product, both launched in 2017.
SC Johnson's latest sustainability report revealed the company is on target to meet its 2025 targets for plastic and recycling, Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy, with 94% of the firm's plastic packaging now recycle, reusable or compostable.
Plastic Bank plans to collect 30,000 metric tons of plastic waste over the three-year period – equivalent to stopping 1.5 billion plastic bottles from entering oceans and waterways. All plastic will be collected within 30 miles of ocean or waterway in countries that lack formal waste collection infrastructure.
“Together with SC Johnson, we now have the ability to help close the loop and advance a circular economy while developing infrastructure in the areas where it is needed the most,” Plastic Bank’s founder David Katz said.
“We are eager to expand exponentially and maximize our efforts in cleaning the environment, prohibiting waste from entering the ocean and alleviating poverty simultaneously. There is no better partner than Fisk and SC Johnson – other CEOs should take note.”
In an exclusive interview with edie, SC Johnson's boss Fisk Johnson praised the ambition of the organisations to have pledged to tackle plastic packaging under a global commitment, but has noted that behaviour change and closing the loop will help accelerate action.