Work of the Future

Plastics For Change

A mobile platform that helps brands ethically source recycled plastic, ensuring fair wages for urban waste pickers

Team Lead

Andrew Almack

Basic Information

Our Solution

Plastics For Change

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Our tagline:

Developing an ethical sourcing platform for sustainable livelihoods for the urban poor & transitioning the industry towards a circular economy
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Our pitch:

In most developing countries the informal sector is responsible for 80-90% of recycling activities. Wastepickers at the base of the supply chain face numerous challenges when accessing fair market prices for the discarded plastics they collect. They also face multiple challenges to formal employment. When they are unable to make a living from recycling there is often no other safety net to sustain their families. The informal recycling economy is also highly dysfunctional with inefficient supply chains. Therefore it is difficult for brands to have complete supply chain transparency and for the industry to source consistent supplies of high quality recycled plastic. Majority of the plastic used by the industry is still virgin.

Plastics For Change has developed an ethical sourcing platform to create sustainable livelihoods for the urban poor, while transitioning the industry towards a circular economy. Our deal process and mobile platform provides wastepickers with access to fair and consistent income opportunities.

Similar to fair trade agriculture, our platform creates transparency and accountability from the base of the supply chain to the store shelf. This results in more efficient shared-value chains and higher quality recycled plastic. We provide expertise to help catalyze brands and manufacturers to replace the use of virgin plastic with ethically sourced recycled plastic, thereby immediately improving the social and environmental impact of their products.
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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Bangalore, India
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The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:

  • Inclusive Supply Chains
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Our solution's stage of development:

Pilot

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About Your Solution

What makes our solution innovative:

Aiming to create transparency at the base of the recycling supply chain & creating markets for all types of plastics.

2+ billion people live on less than $2 USD a day, leaving an enormous opportunity to reduce poverty through recycling.

Our model revitalizes the recycling infrastructure to create jobs for some of the most marginalized members of society in developing countries. Additionally, our platform can collect customized impact measurement metrics to evaluate progress towards the SDGs, from Co2 savings to livelihood creation.
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How technology is integral to our solution:

The PFC mobile application is a platform-as-a-service (PAAS), which optimizes trade of plastic by facilitating more effective supply chains. Open API-based platform supports supply chain deals and transactions between stakeholders.

Stakeholders represent each tier of the informal supply chain, ie. scrap shop, and wholesaler. The data collected from the supply chain transactions is used for impact reporting and monitoring price fluctuations for our clients.

PFC de-risks the supply chain by hedging the price of raw materials in advance with brands and manufacturers, thereby creating transparency and ensuring consistent supply of plastic materials.
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Our solution goals over the next 12 months:

1) Educate 50 brands / manufacturers on the best strategies for transition from virgin to recycled plastic and the importance of sourcing recycled plastic from responsible supply chains.

2) Hire and train 4 additional local deal coordinators to help integrate the informal sector workers into a formal / legal framework by designing inclusive market systems

3) Provide 60% of platform stakeholders with access to social security, financial Inclusion.
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Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:

We envision a world where plastic waste is optimized as a resource for reducing poverty.

By leveraging the purchasing power of brands and manufacturers, we intend to scale our solution to communities around the world that lack recycling infrastructure.

In the next 5 years, PFC aims to:

1) Expand to 30 cities that lack waste management infrastructure throughout India and South East Asia
2) Provide fair market access to 50000 users through our platform
3) Build partnerships with 12 global brands, creating markets for the recycled plastics.
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http://www.plasticsforchange.org/

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The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:

  • South Asia
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How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:


Our platform helps wholesalers source plastic from wastepickers and also provides access to high value markets with brands. By facilitating both the supply and demand for recycled plastic our platform enables the development of plastic recycling infrastructure.
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How many people we are currently serving with our solution:

Key results from our pilots:
1) We have on-boarded 215 informal waste workers
2) Total volume of plastic mobilized for pilots is 20 tonnes
3) Total CO2 offset through these pilots will be approximately 50 tonnes
4) On an average the prices paid to the informal waste workers is 10-15% higher than market price of the raw material. Note: Consistent and reliable payments are crucial in helping sustain their livelihoods.
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About Your Team

How our solution team is organized:

For-Profit

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Explaining our organization:

Although our registered headquarter address is in Canada, our entire team and operations are based in Bengaluru, India.<br> <br>The PFC team is focused on creating sustainable livelihoods for the urban poor, while transitioning the industry towards a circular economy. Our deal process and technology provides wastepickers with access to fair and consistent income opportunities. <br><br>Our team in Bangalore is 7 members strong and through our partnership with a local NGO called Hasiru Dala there are 12 full time changemakers working on this initiative.

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How many people work on our solution team:

12

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The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:

Andrew Almack, founder and CEO- spent several years understanding the functionality of the informal recycling economy in Bengaluru city and assessing the needs of the informal sector stakeholders. He specializes in helping brands make a profitable transition towards the use of recycled plastic in their product lines. He is passionate about supporting sustainable livelihoods and reducing plastic pollution.
Through a bold vision and relentless dedication he was able to develop partnerships and bring together the supply chain. Plastics For Change was launched with a crowdfunding campaign that allowed us to hire our first staff in India.
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Our revenue model:

Plastics For Change works with brands to design socially and environmentally responsible supply chains. We de-risk the supply chain for the wastepickers and plastic aggregators by hedging the raw material costs with brands. This increases the profitability and reduces risk at each level of the informal value chain.

PFC's technology platform is administered through local deal coordinators. The deal coordinators are responsible for engaging the members of the informal recycling economy, educating and on-boarding them onto our platform. The deal coordinators also audit the supply chain and ensure the stakeholders are adhering to our code of conduct. The deal process and mobile platform helps wastepickers access markets by reducing the following three problems in the supply chain:

1. Reducing the volatility in price by facilitating long-term relationships with buyers who guarantee a fair minimum rate in advance.
2. Providing access to working capital finance to ensure prompt payment can occur at the point of exchange throughout the supply chain.
3. Preventing the exploitation of informal waste workers through peer to peer rating system and audit system.
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Partnership Potential

Why we are applying to Solve:

Aiming to hire a head of franchisee partnerships to scope out and on-board new franchisee partners, and a head of business development to work with brands and manufacturers to educate them on the best processes for sourcing recycled plastic.

We're looking to continuously improve our sourcing platform by building additional features to serve the informal recycling economy. Our product roadmap features include - digital payments, supply chain finance mechanisms and an impact reporting tool.

Utilizing MIT's valued network we can share case studies for how technology can be applied to reduce plastic pollution and poverty.
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The key barriers for our solution:

Makets:
If price of oil drops, decreased demand for recycled plastic & could disrupt the economic feasibility of the recycling industry.
Our risk mitigation strategy is to hedge the price in advance by working with brands to stabilize the raw material costs for brands while also de-risking the supply chain for platform stakeholders.

Unethical stakeholders:
Socially irresponsible practices will be excluded from the platform and will lose out on business opportunities that could generate a backlash from the unethical stakeholders.
To mitigate this risk we need to be aware of the organized crime syndicates that control various aspects of the waste management system.
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The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers:

  • Other (Please Explain Below)
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Solution Team

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