Waste to Value

We aim to create an ethical 3D printing filament by blending recycled PET sourced responsibly from waste pickers to increase the earnings of waste pickers in Thailand.

By

Full Circle Filament

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Social causes

Beneficiaries

SDGs covered

Endorsed by

Covestro (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

Market of Implementation

  • Thailand

Problem

Waste pickers earn around 3 dollars a day and are excluded from processing that increases value and therefore income. There is little separation of waste at source. Therefore, the product waste pickers collect has very low value. At the same time, Thailand faces an immense challenge to curb the amount of plastic entering the natural environment, particularly the oceans. Thailand is one of the top 5 marine polluting countries collectively responsible for 50% of the plastic waste entering the oceans. Processing of recyclable plastics such as PET is low, with most material being shipped to China as bales of bottles or flakes. As of January 2018, China no longer imports recycled plastic bottles or flakes, putting more pressure on local authorities to find solutions in Thailand.

Solution

Our project seeks to increase the earnings of waste pickers by enabling them to collect waste PET that is separated at source and is therefore cleaner. We will pay the waste pickers a higher rate for the clean PET which we use to create a valuable product that can be sold on international markets: a high quality and ethical recycled 3D printing filament. We will function as a for profit business that will be built in two main phases: Phase 1 is to start the production of ethical filament with the inclusion of waste pickers upstream in the value chain sourcing clean waste PET and running processing facilities. Phase 2 is to expand the inclusive element of this business downstream in the value chain to the production of 3D printed products that are made by and/or for low income communities. The end goal is to create a circular model in which plastic waste is translated into value for low income communities and kept out of our oceans.

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