Prevented Ocean Plastic have been partnered with plastic recycling infrastructure on the ground in Ecuador for more than a decade.
In October 2022, Raffi Schieir, director of Bantam Materials and the Prevented Ocean Plastic Programme, and Maxine van Bommel, the Prevented Ocean Plastic Programme lead, travelled to the country to visit a partner that Schieir describes as “one of the best recyclers in the world”
As Schieir explains, “The reason we’ve been able to really engage with Ecuador as a sourcing region is because we have fantastic partners on the ground there. They know how to run their factories to a high standard, they have the right combination of sophisticated machinery, quality control practices, traceability practices, and access to bottle collection and raw material collection done in the right way. On top of that there are government policies in place that support the collection of plastic, prioritising the materials that we’re looking for, and allow it to be processed in value.”
Van Bommel describes the Ecuador organisation as “the gold standard. Everything there is above and beyond”.
As well as making a difference on the ground, Prevented Ocean Plastic collection from the coastal region of Ecuador also prevents waste plastic from flowing into the Galapagos.
As Schieir explains, “Ecuador is really compelling geography with a huge need. The coastal region of the country feeds into the Galapagos Islands, an area of vital environmental importance, and it’s a privilege to prevent plastic pollution potentially reaching that part of the world.”
Prevented Ocean Plastic research centre representatives had not been able to visit Ecuador since before the COVID pandemic. Part of this recent visit was to confirm the same historic impact was still being made, while reviewing infrastructure advances of the last 3-4 years.
“The developments at the factory were immense,” says Schieir. “They had introduced wonderful new programs related to traceability, and were better engaging with their staff and community.”
To help foster this engagement, the Prevented Ocean Plastic research centre is also sponsoring an unprecedented ‘Day in the Life’ programme for bottle collectors in the country, generating 100 collector profiles to identify their true realities and advocate for their needs.
And there are plans for more progress in the future.
“We’ll be looking at expanding our ambitions in Ecuador”, Schieir continues. “We want to increase our output from this region. Perhaps doubling it. Our Ecuadorian partners have a 10-year market-leading track record of sorting their recycling to quality, to be able to create a product that is usable by the market, but still want to expand their impact. It’s rewarding to showcase them for all the great work they’ve been doing already, and continue to elevate them and align their practices with the other best global recyclers.”
About PREVENTED OCEAN PLASTIC:
Prevented Ocean Plastic is a pioneering plastic recycling company developing locally customized sorting and collection infrastructure to underserved communities across the world. We are committed to strengthening the supply chain and scaling solutions for the management of plastic waste in the country. We provide high quality traceable recycled plastic to global markets to drive environmental, social and economic value from the bottle collector to the end consumer.