UK retailer Marks & Spencer has launched a new eco-friendly shopping bag in association with Plastic Bank, aimed at alleviating poverty in Haiti and the Philippines.
Priced at £1.30 each, the reusable bags are made of 75% 'Social Plastic©', or plastic that has been collected and recycled by Plastic Bank.
Plastic Bank is providing incentives to poor people in these countries, in the form of wages, for collecting plastic waste and depositing them at any of its 36 recycling centres.
It also provides the option to exchange plastic waste for blockchain digital tokens that can be used to buy food, water, cooking stoves, and fuel.
Sustainable Plastic Bag
CEO of Plastic Bank, David Katz, said, "M&S has powerfully responded to customer demand for sustainable products and created an immediate impact on the lives of our collectors.
"The M&S team has been incredibly committed to our partnership and thanks to their support, Plastic Bank is empowered to stop more ocean plastic, help more people out of poverty and make responsible production the standard for businesses everywhere."
Plastic Bank's recycling centres based in Manila sort the plastic by type and colour, and shred it into flakes. It is then exported to Vietnam where each shopping bag is produced.
Plastic Bank has recycled the equivalent of over 100 million plastic bottles since opening its first centre in Haiti in 2014.
Minimising Plastic Waste
Product developer at Marks & Spencer, Natalie Tate, said, “With more plastic than fish predicted to be in the ocean by 2050, it’s vital that we all take action to minimise plastic waste.
"This is a strong, sturdy, practical bag to help our customers with their shop, but with the added benefit of reducing poverty and preventing more plastic getting into our seas by turning waste plastic into a tangible and re-usable item.”
The bag has been launched as part of M&S's plastics plan, which aims to remove 1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging in less than a year, and replace the 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery given out in its stores each year with FSC certified wood alternatives.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.