Can we redeem plastic?

Near Smoky Mountain, people are turning plastic from rubbish into an income. 

It’s a project run by Plastic Bank, a social enterprise which sees waste not just as rubbish, but a means to uplift the poor. 

The organisation is committed to creation care, with a particular focus on diverting plastic away from the ocean and back into the economy. Plastic destined for landfill or the ocean can be recycled, made into pellets or flakes, and sold on to companies producing plastic products – saving them from making new plastic, which takes 300 years to break down.

In the Philippines, where plastic pollution is a significant issue, Plastic Bank is working with informal waste collectors, as well as schools and faith communities, to encourage all parts of society to help divert ocean plastic.

Impacting the community

The project at Smoky Mountain is one example of this. It’s a slum area built on a former rubbish dump, where – as so often – the poorest are surrounded by and most affected by the waste and pollution. 

At the school nearby, however, pupils get to learn about protecting the environment and put this into practice. 

Plastic Bank encourages them to bring plastic from home into school, which can be weighed for recycling. Plastic Bank then buys the plastic from the school, which uses the funds to improve education on-site.

It’s a similar story with the faith communities and informal collectors, who are rewarded for the plastic they collect with funds they can use for charitable projects or providing for their children. 

Not only does all this help divert plastic away from the ocean, it educates people about separating their waste at home and improves their quality of life.

The project is one example of creation care in action, reflecting the principle that God will reconcile all creation to himself (Colossians 1:20), and that caring for it also means caring for our neighbour. 

Find out more:

Explore the Plastic Bank website
Find out about OMF International’s commitment to creation care as part of our mission to share the good news of Jesus Christ in all its fullness.
Explore the biblical basis for creation care in OMF’s free three-part series of booklets ‘why care for creation?’