There are new reusable shopping bags at the tills at Marks and Spencer. NBD – except these ones are made with waste plastic collected by people in Haiti and the Philippines via social enterprise Plastic Bank.
In return for a wage or blockchain tokens, collectors take plastic waste to 36 recycling centres in Haiti and the Philippines, after which they are sorted and turned into a material called Social Plastic. The new tote bags (£1.30) are 75 per cent of this stuff, helping to keep plastic out of our seas.
David Katz, CEO of Plastic Bank, says that the M&S initiative has 'created an immediate impact on the lives of our collectors'.
He adds: "Plastic Bank is empowered to stop more ocean plastic, help more people out of poverty and make responsible production the standard for businesses everywhere. We couldn't be more pleased to start our journey together."
Since opening its first recycling centre in Haiti in 2014, Plastic Bank says it has recycled the equivalent of over 100 million plastic bottles.
M&S says the launch of the 'strong, sturdy, practical bag' is part of its Plastics Plan, which intends to remove 1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging in under a year. The retailer also plans to switch the 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery it gives out in its shops every year with FSC-certified wooden alternatives.