Yesterday P&G brand Gillette announced a new sustainable brand, Planet KIND, with products that it says are kind to “both skin and the planet”. The razor handle is made from 60% recycled plastic and every product will prevent ten plastic bottles from entering the ocean.
It has partnered with Plastic Bank, a social enterprise that uses digital tokens to incentivize plastic collection and tracks the recycling through blockchain.
“Planet KIND makes it easier to incorporate eco-friendly choices into your shaving and skincare routine,” said John Claughton, VP of North America Grooming at P&G.
Plastic Bank CEO David Katz likens ocean plastic pollution to an overflowing kitchen sink. One would first switch off the tap before cleaning up the mess. Yet when it comes to plastic, there tends to be more emphasis on cleaning the ocean rather than preventing it from becoming more polluted.
Katz claims that 80% of ocean plastic comes from countries with high rates of poverty. The UN says half of ocean plastic waste is from five countries: China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Because Plastic Bank’s collection process potentially improves the lives of collectors, Plastic bank calls its product ‘social plastic’ rather than ‘recycled plastic‘.
Plastic Bank members collect bottles and take them to a plastic bank store where they receive digital tokens, which can be exchanged for food, tuition and other services. Given the scale of plastic that needs collecting, Katz said, “I see plastic as the Bitcoin of the earth and available for everyone.”
So far, the company operates in Haiti, Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Egypt.
Meanwhile, there are numerous blockchain projects targeting plastic recycling. Some, such as the BIOTA Deposy project, are exploring incentivizing plastic recycling. But many are looking at tracing the origin of materials. Startup Circularise has worked with Porsche, major plastics company Covestro and DOMO Chemicals, and recently attracted funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program.