State of the Planet

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A Plastics Treaty Will Be Grand, but this Recycling Innovator in Indonesia Isn’t Waiting

The following is an excerpt from a Sustain What blog post. 

A few days ago, I — like many others online — was fixated by an appalling #plasticsmonster creeping through a newly opened irrigation canal in eastern Indonesia. As you almost assuredly know, the ocean plastic crisis starts on land, and Southeast Asia is a prime source.


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The video was posted on LinkedIn by Tom Jackson, a co-founder of Honest Ocean Material, a young operation with a vital mission: “to empower local communities by reversing the ocean plastic problem and retrieving the plastic from their communities.”

They’re doing this by spreading the capacity to separate and shred high-quality recycylable material and create a reliable supply chain to serve a variety of companies eager to move to a circular model for success. The focus is villages and towns across the eastern portion of Indonesia’s vast archipelago, but — to my eye, at least — this model can travel.

people stand near shredded plastic
Plastic collected in dispersed Indonesian villages and towns (bags at top left) is shredded and converted into raw material for new products. Photo: Honest Ocean

I tracked Jackson down to get the back story. He’s on Lombok, the island just east of Bali. We recently spoke on a pop-up Columbia Climate School Sustain What webcast:

Read the rest of the story on the Sustain What blog.

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