Despite of the conservative right-wing’s pessimism when it comes to saving the environment and reducing extreme poverty, can a “mere” social enterprise manage to do both?
By: Ringo Bones
Given their inability to provide a workable solution, the world’s conservative right-wing had been resorting to politics, religion and even sham science to deny the world’s most pressing environmental problems – i.e. climate change – since the mid 1990s by adopting the position that these problems are a “hoax” perpetuated by “bleeding-heart liberals”. Sadly, this also made it easy for right-wing conservatives to adopt the position that helping the world’s poorest citizens is a “Marxist-Leninist Socialist idea”. Fortunately, there are still sensible folks out there that are working hard to formulate a sensible solution to solve the pressing problems of extreme poverty and environmental degradation.
Fortunately, David Katz, founder of The Plastic Bank has established a social enterprise whereby recycling plastic wastes is monetized to reduce poverty and halt any additional plastic that gets dumped in the world’s ocean that contributes to the ocean gyre plastic pollution. The scheme is fully compatible with established capitalism and free enterprise by establishing a system where impoverished people that collects plastic wastes can trade them to The Plastic Bank for goods and services.
As a so-called social enterprise, The Plastic Bank makes money from discarded plastic wastes by recycling them and then selling them for a profit to their various customers. The Plastic Bank started in Haiti and, according to David Katz, it was a perfect place to test the concept because Haiti’s solid waste infrastructure is largely nonexistent and because of this, most current operations of The Plastic Bank are primarily located in countries and territories where solid waste collecting infrastructure is largely nonexistent. The idea for The Plastic Bank got started when David Katz got gravely concerned on the increasing amounts of plastic wastes that find their way into the world’s oceans. At present, about 8-million tons of plastic wastes find their way into our oceans every year.