lots of sellers
PlastX is the technology platform enabling people to create plastic circular economies, specifically targeting Asia.
There's a lot in that mouthful, so in this first article, we unpack the problem.
Why we need plastic circular economies.
The devastating effects of plastic pollution are well documented. Globally, businesses and governments recognise the need to keep plastic out of the environment and continuously reused - perfect circularity. Many brands have even committed to using more recovered plastic.
Circularity constraints in Asia.
In Asia (and the rest of the developing world) creating circular economies is a mammoth task, especially considering the lack of infrastructure, tidal plastic and Western waste exporting. Traditional waste management can't cope, and dirty plastic holds little value for the informal collector network operating throughout the region.
Solving the problem with basic economics.
Plastic recovery is not a waste problem - it's an economic problem, one where supply and demand are not currently aligning.
Demand - businesses want to buy r-Plastic. BUT (and it is a big but) the material needs to fit the buyers needs. It has to be the right type, colour and condition, and it needs to be at market prices.
Supply largely fails to meet these critical thresholds. Where used plastic is collected, it is usually co-mingled, which makes it expensive to get the needed plastic back out. Where it enters the environment it degrades, lowering its value.
PlastX connects buyers with people in the community who are willing to collect to order, at source, where the plastic has most value.
Whether it is HDPE red bottle caps, LDPE shipping wrappers or the perfectly clear PET drink bottle, collected well, they have value.
supply & Demand
Despite knowing what the buyer wants, supply through traditional recycling businesses, generally misses the mark on one of the more core criteria - resulting in a continuous spiral, without circularity.
PlastX is the technology platform that matches buyer needs with a community of people willing to collect in Asia.
PlastX bypasses the messy waste stream, getting clean homogeneous plastics at the source - straight from end of life to the next one.
Like bottle take-back schemes, PlastX gets quality plastic recovered from the community. Unlike them, all plastics are eligible and all collected plastics have a pre-defined 2nd life.
PlastX makes the marketplace hum
With PlastX, buyers of recovered plastic can buy it (by type, colour, condition and price) in Asia directly from the community. Collectors are respected - PlastX embeds human rights and can tailor verification for the buyers needs. Cutting out some of the middle-man process means collectors can earn more.
a Tech start-up without bearded hipsters!
Trish, Ben and Murray are the founders of PlastX.
In 2016, Trish & Ben led the Australian Packaging Covenant, tasked with revitalising the co-regulatory framework and setting Australia’s packaging sustainability strategy. It was a huge challenge, yet we did it – receiving industry & governments endorsement by year’s end.
Along the way we discovered the reason circular economies fail, especially in Asia - the needs of 2nd life plastic users & waste management are disconnected.
Joined by Murray, bringing Asia commercial markets nous, we connected the needs of buyers with the reality of plastic waste in Asia to develop a disruptive business model for a new marketplace.
The relevance of PlastX has been boosted by global brands committing to use more recovered plastic and much of Asia rejecting Western waste plastic imports.
PlastX is an early stage start-up with a commercial business model, that just so happens, to alleviate plastic pollution.