Be a Part of Plastic Truth Challenge

plastic-wasteBrands that use plastic packaging ship their products to high, mid and low income countries. They export their plastics to countries that have recycling infrastructure as well as to countries that do not have the means to deal with the plastic waste. Plastic waste is a major problem in our world, because current plastics are made from oil and gas, which are unsustainable and indestructible. To replace petroleum derived plastics, bioplastics made from renewable sources are up and coming.

Upcycle the Gyres Society, UpGyres, based in Vancouver Canada works to prevent plastic pollution and to transform discarded plastics into valuable products.  UpGyres premise is that because plastics are made, sold, transported and disposed globally, it has become clear that we need a global system to recover their value through large multinational operations  just as much as through local, small-scale, decentralized actions that promote community involvement and drive social change.

UpGyres partnered with HeroX to launch the PLASTIKA REPARABILIS CHALLENGE in two stages:

  • Phase One, The PLASTIC TRUTH CHALLENGE focuses on public engagement and participation.
  • Phase Two, The PLASTIKA REPARABILIS CHALLENGE incentivizes the implementation of proactive solutions to the most well-known recyclable and unrecyclable plastics and at the same time including the increasing number of bioplastics entering the waste stream and recycling system.

The UN, Greenpeace and a growing number of organizations are calling for significant and measurable efforts from Brands, plastic makers and soft drink companies to address plastic pollution and are demanding more frequently that the responsibility to protect the environment fall on businesses and industry, not the consumers. This Challenge is in harmony with the latest news about:

  • The commitment by PUMA “to end packaging as an environmental issue”;
  • Unilever’s commitment to ensuring that all of its plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025;
  • Dell shipping the First Recycled Ocean Plastics Packaging in Its Industry;
  • Nestlé and Danone teaming up to produce green plastic and commit funding to develop plastic from waste such as sawdust; and
  • PepsiCo collaborating with a biotechnology company to develop biodegradable, compostable film resins for its flexible packaging.

Brands and some of the world’s leading retail and consumer goods companies are responding responsibly amid the unstoppable transition from using oil and gas as raw materials to manufacture plastics –to using– raw materials that are nature-matched, nature-derived and nature-digestible to produce plastic alternatives. It seems that the future of plastic packaging is waste and pollution free.

A mountain of empty plastic bottles

A mountain of empty plastic bottles

Because compostable dinnerware is thrown into recycling bins contaminating the recycling system, and recyclable plastic cutlery ends up contaminating the organics waste stream, the PLASTIKA REPARABILIS CHALLENGE takes into consideration recyclable and unrecyclable plastics as well as progressively more bioplastics entering the recycling system through waste stream commingling,  helping the plastics and recycling industries, brands and plastic users to prepare, manage and optimize the standardization, collection and advancement of optimal value recovery of ALL plastics in One bin everywhere in the World.

Why a worldwide standardization system

Plastics are global. China, Canada, Europe and the United States export plastics to the world. Europe, Canada and the United States not only export plastics globally, they also export plastic waste.

In 2015, Canada bought US$15 billion worth of imported plastic products. The Canadian plastics industry generated approximately $20 billion worth of shipments in 2012 according to Statistics Canada. Plastics create a turnover in Europe in excess of 280 billion € per year.

In 2012, Canadians exported 14 per cent — 39,900 metric tonnes or 39.9 billion kilos of recyclables to developing nations like China, India and the Philippines causing environmental and health problems.

In Britain in 2015 only 500,000 tonnes out of the 1.5m tonnes of recyclable plastic waste used by consumers was recycled, according to the figures compiled by Co-op from the Recoup UK Household Plastics Collection survey. Only a third of plastic packaging used in consumer products is recycled each year, with almost two-thirds of plastic packaging placed in recycling bins being shipped overseas, prompting concerns that much of it could be dumped or incinerated. The proportion of waste plastic packaging exported to countries such as China and India has increased from 60 per cent in the first three quarters of 2014 to 67 per cent in the same period last year. Recycling groups said the problem was largely caused by consumer uncertainty about what items could be recycled, as well as the lack of provision of recycling services by local authorities.

In Canada you can recycle one type of plastic in one city but not in another.

The present system for collection and sorting of plastics is intricate and fragmented and it is the main driver for littering and for lack of recycling.

We need a standard for the collection and reuse of ALL plastics everywhere in the world.

UpGyres Challenge is to:

Devise a system that can be replicated around the world to implement 100% collection, recovery, sorting and proper reuse/disposal of ALL recyclable, unrecyclabe, compostable and bioplastics.

The Opportunity

The bio plastics market is projected to grow from more than USD 2.0 Billion in 2015 to USD 3.4 Billion by 2020.

Collecting and Sorting ALL waste plastics globally will streamline and optimize the plastic waste supply, demand, distribution channels, and the sales of the out-turn products of recyclable, unrecyclable, compostable and bio plastics to the right upcycler, recycler and waste-to-energy customers worldwide.

Recovery of ALL plastics represents an opportunity worth hundreds of millions in ALL different currencies.

The Plastic Truth Challenge

For Phase One, the PLASTIC TRUTH CHALLENGE breakthrough consists of people showing us your user experience of everyday plastics and the way you dispose of them through a 2 (two) minute video.

  • Only the first 100 videos will be considered for a cash prize.
  • 10 Cash Prizes of $100 CAD (one hundred Canadian dollars) each adding to a total of $1,000.00
  • 10 plastic user videos will be edited into a promotional and marketing campaign for Phase Two; the PLASTIKA REPARABILIS CHALLENGE.

The PLASTIKA REPARABILIS CHALLENGE addresses with a 2 year Timing of Initial Impact and with 30 million dollars the Advance Collection, Tracking and Sorting Innovations and Support Integrated Waste Management Solutions highlighted in the report Sea of Opportunity: Supply Chain Investments to Address Marine Plastic Pollution researched, written, and produced by Encourage Capital and funded by philanthropist Paul Allen.

The background for proposing this Challenge, its timing and prize size is based on the following cases:

Avangard, one of the largest plastics recycler in North America is investing $10 million on a new low density polyethylene film recycling plant, The Closed Loop Fund is a social impact fund that is investing $100M to increase the recycling of products and packaging in the United States, Los Angeles City Council approved commercial waste franchise contracts of seven companies that will invest a collective $200 million in collection and processing infrastructure, and Indonesia is pledging $1 billion a year to curb ocean waste, including developing new industries that use biodegradable materials such as cassava and seaweed to produce plastic alternatives.

These four example efforts are focused on either one country or one city; the PLASTIKA REPARABILIS CHALLENGE facilitates and provides a Global Opportunity as the Geographic Focus.

UpGyres, the Challenge organizer is now welcoming sponsorship pledges by Governments, Philanthropists, Brands, the world’s leading retail and consumer goods companies and from the plastics and recycling industries.

For more information on the Challenge, please visit: https://herox.com/upgyres-plastictruth

José Luis Gutiérrez-García

José Luis Gutiérrez-García achieved a Master Certificate in Sustainable Supply Chain Management from the University of San Francisco. He held the Chair of the Sustainability Committee for a remote gold mining operation in the Arctic.Jose is the Principal at Motoca Regenerative Solutions and Project Director at Upcycle the Gyres Society both based in Vancouver, Canada.

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