Henkel and Plastic Bank have opened their first three plastic waste collection centers in Cairo. The project is part of Henkel’s long-term partnership with the social enterprise. The opening of three collection centers in Egypt marks the first step of the commitment to deliver environmental, social and economic impact in the country.
Working together, Henkel and Plastic Bank aim to steadily expand their engagement in the coming years and to reach a yearly collection capacity of 5,000t of plastic waste in 2023. At the collection centers, people can return collected plastic waste and exchange it for money. This prevents the plastic from entering the rivers and oceans, and at the same time Henkel and Plastic Bank support the local population by improving the lives of collector communities. Plastic Bank reprocesses the material and returns the so-called Social Plastic back to the value chain – for example in Henkel’s product packaging. Henkel was the first global consumer goods company to partner with Plastic Bank in 2017 and has already launched first product packaging made from Social Plastic in the market.
David Katz, Founder and CEO of Plastic Bank says “Since the beginning of our partnership, Henkel has helped to collect over 1.7 million kilograms of plastic waste, preventing over 86 million plastic bottles from entering the ocean. With our collection centers in Egypt, we are taking a significant step towards stopping ocean plastic and improving lives on the African continent.”
Plastic Bank establishes recycling ecosystems in countries that still lack adequate waste management infrastructure. Collectors receive a premium for the materials they collect which helps to provide basic family necessities such as groceries, cooking fuel, school tuition or health insurance. The collected plastic is processed as Social Plastic which can be reintegrated into products and packaging as part of a closed-loop supply chain.
In Egypt alone, Henkel and Plastic Bank aim to create 1,000 jobs over a two-year period which will directly impact over 4,000 Egyptian citizens through the establishment of a long-term recycling infrastructure. The companies will build on a successful partnership in Haiti, which began in 2017.
Henkel has already integrated Social Plastic into several of its products. The Beauty Care brand Nature Box was the first cosmetic brand to introduce Social Plastic as a packaging material for its complete bottle portfolio, with all bottle bodies being made of 98 per cent Social Plastic. And Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care Pro Nature cleaners have transitioned to PET bottle bodies that are made of 100 per cent recycled plastic, of which up to 50 per cent is Social Plastic.