Greiner Packaging, a family-owned European manufacturer of plastic packaging in the food and nonfood sectors, views ocean pollution as one of the greatest environmental challenge society faces today.
“We are a family business. As such, we’ve made it our mission to preserve our world for future generations,” explained Manfred Stanek, CEO of Greiner Packaging.
That mission has now led to a new collaboration with Plastic Bank, a social enterprise that builds ethical recycling ecosystems in coastal communities. Greiner Packaging has committed to supporting the activation of five collection points in Manila, Philippines.
Most ocean plastic comes from regions in the world where no recycling infrastructure exists, such as southeast Asia. In the Philippines alone, an estimated 2,000,000 metric tons of plastic leak into the ocean each year.
Plastic Bank constructs this infrastructure, organising the collection of the plastic waste, which the collectors can exchange for money, goods, or digital tokens, and reprocessing the materials for reintroduction into the global manufacturing supply chain. Collection members receive a premium above the market rate for plastic, enabling them to earn a consistent, liveable wage. Plastic Bank also enables local entrepreneurs to set up and operate their own Plastic Bank branch as a fully supported franchise.
Plastic waste, in other words, becomes a valuable currency.
The reprocessed materials are sold as Social Plastic. Plastic Bank’s proprietary blockchain technology, powered by IBM, enables a transparent and traceable supply chain, and auditable, real-time impact tracking.
Greiner Packaging was impressed by the organisation’s achievements, and particularly by its vertically integrated approach.
“Collecting plastic refuse combats poverty in addition to cleaning up the environment and making a key contribution toward a circular economy. Our shared goal is to prevent plastic from flowing into the oceans while lifting people out of poverty,” said Stanek.
As a producer of plastic packaging, Greiner is aware of the need for a more sustainable industry. The company has been developing recycling technologies for foam and plastic, as well as identifying new applications for recycled plastics, since the 1980s.
Moreover, as a signatory to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, it has pledged to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging, make its packaging reusable, recyclable, or compostable and increase the use of recycled material in its packaging products.