This World Cleanup Day, a group of our colleagues volunteered for a 3-day learning journey to Bali, Indonesia, one of the areas that has experienced a significant transformation through CHARLES & KEITH’s Impact Programme, in collaboration with our CSR partner, Plastic Bank. During this trip, we had the opportunity to directly witness the impactful work we do with CSR partner, Plastic Bank – a partnership driven by a dual commitment: preserving our oceans from plastic pollution and empowering the women collection members in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Equipped with tools and gear, we were split into two groups to venture into Plastic Bank’s collection branches within the community in Tabanan. Collaborating with the dedicated collection members at Plastic Bank, we meticulously combed through the area, systematically removing plastic waste from the streets. Engaging in conversations with the women in the collection team, we gained valuable insights into their daily lives and challenges. Every member was actively involved, diligently picking up each piece of plastic along the way, carefully identifying and sorting various types into their respective bags.
Witnessing the Alchemy™ app in action, our team learned how the collection members monetize on their efforts. The app allows the collection members to exchange their gathered plastic waste for tokens, which can eventually be converted to cash.
This heartfelt encounter gave us a glimpse into the remarkable stories of collection members –the unsung heroes– in the fight against plastic pollution in their respective communities. It was a touching experience that brought our mission to life and reminded us of how big a difference we can make together.
We also had a special meeting with a collection member who, despite facing physical challenges, managed a small stall where she collected plastic not just from her own daily life but also from her neighbours. To show our support, we purchased items from her store and shared them with the local community.
After an energising lunch, we explored the aggregator branch, a pivotal component of the plastic recycling ecosystem. Here, collected plastic is cleaned, sorted by type, and broken down into smaller pieces, readying it for the processor branch. Guided by the Plastic Bank operations team, we observed how everything was executed meticulously. The precision and scale of this operation left a lasting impression, offering valuable insights into the recycling journey.
Following an informative tour of the branch, we rolled up their sleeves, donned gloves, and actively participated in cleaning and sorting plastic waste. This experience not only highlighted the dedication and hard work essential to this critical phase but also allowed them to gain a profound appreciation for the intricacies of plastic recycling.
Amid our collective efforts, our team had a heartwarming surprise planned. We had brought a special gift for the women at the branch: a pair of new sandals for each of them. As we presented the sandals, the women’s faces lit up with joy and gratitude. It was a simple yet powerful gesture that brought smiles to both the givers and the recipients.
The exchange of stories and experiences enriched our understanding of the community’s commitment to recycling and highlighted the positive impact the program had on the lives of these individuals, making the day’s efforts even more meaningful.
The day’s journey concluded with a visit to Plastic Bank’s office, where their Supply Chain and Plastic Bank Foundation team shared more about the plastic recycling process and plastic waste management. This engagement offered us a direct observation of the plastic pollution issue and a greater appreciation for the tireless efforts of the collection members in their fight for a cleaner world.
The activities of the past two days left a deep and meaningful impact on the team, we return back to our daily lives with a renewed sense of purpose. Carrying with us not only the cherished memories and the wisdom we gained but now, having been intimately connected to our commitment to fight ocean plastic pollution, the mission for us continues: a quiet but unwavering effort to make our world a cleaner and greener place.