In the world, only 15% of the plastic produced is recycled. Every year, millions of tons of this material end up in the ocean, with disastrous consequences. Furthermore, countless informal workers in emerging countries operate in the recycling production chain under terrible conditions.
The Fair Plastic Alliance is born to tackle environmental and social challenge connected to the poor handling of the plastic recycling chain. Members of this alliance are Serioplast, leading international company in the sector of plastic packaging production for the major players on the global consumer market; Oxfam and CESVI, non-profit organizations that have been working for years on projects aimed at empowering capacity building among local communities and at bringing about economic and community development; WeCyclers, a Nigerian startup capable of implementing an innovative and scalable model to collect waste, which respects workers’ rights; and various cooperatives that unite informal collectors to offer more opportunities and a dignified lifestyle.
According to Serioplast the FPA brings together for-profit and non-profit international stakeholders, with a common goal: to develop a fair and inclusive production chain for plastic recycling, which offers men and women who operate in the informal waste collection sector the opportunity of having a fully recognized job and a dignified lifestyle.
“The Fair Plastic alliance wants to face the environmental and social issues generated by plastic through an innovative approach, leveraging on the active inclusion of informal pickers. This is possible when adopting a business model that brings workers back to the center. A model where investors give up on dividends and reinvests profits in the inclusion and development of local communities, thus guaranteeing economic, social, and environmental sustainability and giving an impulse for a bottom-up transformation, sustained and supported by the industrial production chain – says Delia Innocenti, Serioplast CEO.
“I have created WeCycliers firmly believing that lifting thousands of informal waste pickers out of poverty in my city, Lagos, would be a great thing for the air that we breathe, for health, and for labor dignity. – states Bilikiss Adebiyi Abiola, co-founder of WeCyclers. – Lagos, with its 25 million residents, suffers from chronic pollution from waste discarded anywhere on the streets, without any rules. Thanks to what we started, plastic here has become a resource that allows people to send their children to school, have a stable income, afford medical care”.
And it is precisely to the cooperative nature of the alliance that Benetta Gualandi, Programme Manager for Oxfam South Africa speaks, “We are experimenting with an innovative model to stimulate development based on the participation of basic communities, civil society, private sector and national and local government; a strong partnership, where each stakeholder acknowledges their role and puts their expertise and resources at everyone’s disposal”.
“I am very proud to bring Cesvi on board this initiative” says Daniele Barbone, CEO of the Italian NGO. “President Gloria Zavatta and I have dedicated our careers to environmental sustainability. The Fair Plastic Alliance endorses Cesvi’s vocation towards environmental safety and proves that projects involving local populations have a cultural function as well. This is the direction we have taken with our partner Blue Sky Recycling, together with Serioplast, to create a Social Business for plastic waste collection and recycling in South Africa”.
The Fair Plastic alliance is open to all those who recognize themselves in its values and who want to adopt a business development model based on a fair and circular economy: companies, ONGs, cooperatives, associations and representatives of stakeholders in the plastic sector. The goal is to stimulate a debate that must involve multinational companies that use plastic for packaging, policy makers, local communities and consumers.