Non-Profit Helps The Poor Barter For Goods With Foraged Waste

Non-Profit Helps The Poor Barter For Goods With Foraged Waste

Plastic Bank guides people in developing nations into entrepreneurship through sustainable efforts.

Serena Chu
  • 6 january 2014

Many choose to look the other way when they see trash washed up on shore, but not David Katz – this entrepreneur is compelled to take action against plastic pollution and restore some green integrity in developing nations. His organization, Plastic Bank, has plans to incentivize garbage collection, setting up a “currency” that’s not backed by gold, but by plastic pollution and recyclable waste.

The idea cemented in Katz’s mind after he attended a meeting at the Singularity University in California. And after some careful planning and an elaborate business plan, Katz is looking to build the first Plastic Bank facility, which will be commissioned to remove plastic waste from land and ocean, in Peru next April.


As a means to increase the overall living standards in the region, the organization focuses their attention on people from impoverished communities. For those Peruvians willing to participate in localized waste pick-up, educational and monetary opportunities will be offered in exchange for their contributions. They will be able to exchange mixed plastics for credits that can be used for foods and other everyday goods, as well as access to the 3D printing facilities to make their own items or parts. In addition to those services, training will also be given to waste collectors so that they can establish their own recycling facilities in the future.

Peru is only the start, Katz envisions processing centers across the globe, specifically in areas where natural beauty is tarnished by pollution, like parts of Central and South America and South East Asia. This nonprofit serves a grandeur purpose: Plastic Bank is a catalyst for change, educating and empowering local people to reveal the value in themselves and to see the transformation of waste into necessities and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Plastic Bank

Source: Co Exist, Plastic Bank 


Modular System Lets Musicians Create Their Own MIDI Controllers

Arts & Culture
Retail Today

Basquiat-Inspired Fashion Line Supports Emerging Talent

The late artist's estate has collaborated with New York label alice+olivia on a new range of designs

Op-Ed Today

Why Personalization Is The Key To Customer Satisfaction

Andrew Blackmon of The Black Tux shares how the company is using machine-learning models to streamline the fitting process


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Health Today

Fidgeting Tools Designed To Help Creative Minds Focus

The DIDGETS Collection helps those who have anxiety or are restlessly moving to focus while they are working

Related Expert

Jennifer Lopez

Science, Space, Technology, Innovation, Social Good

Home Today

Sharing Service Connects Directors With Film Locations

Finding affordable places to film can be difficult, so GETset was designed to help creators easily find good locations

Technology Today

Adobe Is Teaching Machines To Copy Your Artistic Style

A new research project called Stylit uses a camera to mimic a drawing and reproduce the strokes digitally

Travel Yesterday

Mercedes Reveals Dazzle-Free LED Headlights

Digital Light offers great precision with a resolution of over two million pixels


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Creative Director: Navigating The New World Of Founder-Brands

Richard Smith, Creative Director at Sullivan, explains how visionaries like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg approach their branding and why it’s important to apply brand thinking to founders’ products

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Cities Yesterday

Nissan Is Testing A Digital Car Sharing Program In Europe

Nissan plans to launch their new service in Paris sometime this year to trial the profile-matching service

Social Media Yesterday

Your Favorite Tweets Are Now Wearable

This temporary tattoo allows fans to wear their most favorite moments from the social platform

Consumer Goods Yesterday

This Mirror Tracks Your Dark Circles And Fine Lines

HiMirror is a device snaps a photo of your face every day to provide feedback on how to care for your skin

Sustainability Yesterday

Biodegradable Furniture Made From Pine Needles Could Be The Next Phase Of Sustainable Living

Premiering at Dutch Design Week 2016, the collection fully utilizes an often wasted material

Syndicated Yesterday

Madrid's 'Robin Hood' Cafe Charge The Rich To Feed The Poor

The charity restaurant makes money from customers by day to offer homeless people meals at night


Conference Built Around Report Launch

USA Yesterday

Amazon Launches Cashier-Free Store For Ultimate Efficiency

The retailer is looking to make shopping even faster by letting customers instantly pay as they walk out the door

Augmented & Virtual Reality Yesterday

Marble-Like Mini-Worlds Invade Miami Art Week And Your Mobile Screen

The gallery world's sphere of influence seems to be expanding into the realm of Pokémon Go—why that's a good thing

Health Yesterday

A 'USB Stick' That Can Detect HIV Levels

The simple device developed at Imperial College London measures viral load in less than 30 minutes

No search results found.