Retrieve, Reshape, Redeem

Photo of monika robinson
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Website or social media url(s) (optional):

@plaestik.project @monika.robinson @blissell @jaezo

Date Started

May 16th, 2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

Ever since I can remember Ive wanted to help fight this problem. I was a little girl when I first started fishing grocery bags out of the trash cans around the pond I lived by to pick up trash while I walked my dog. It was the least I felt I could do in return for all the peace and mindfulness being able to enjoy that pond brought me. I understood even then than you couldn't expect everyone to clean up after themselves and that I was a willing and capable body and I could surely pick up the slack. But this project always seemed to be too big for me to tackle. I would tell myself that someone else had more resources or time than I did and they would fix the problem! Then I grew up and realized that no one, if not I, was going to put in the effort to make this change. So I started the Plaestik project in hopes that I can be apart of the solution ive always dreamed of.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Many people grudge the thought of using plastic, but its everywhere, from our milk jugs, to straws, to the kiddie pool your mom used for two days last summer. Plastic is not going away, and its continuing to pile up in our landfills and places where no plastic should ever be, like the hike you went on yesterday or at the beach you visited over Christmas break. Plastic even ends up in places like Bali where the currents drag it to their shores.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Plastic is a really useful material and more than just finding a solution for plastic waste we want to create an organization that takes the plastics out of the landfills and reshapes it into objects of desire to change the current world view about plastic. Our hope is that this project can fund an organization that can provide the skills and resources necessary for people to help us clean the plastic out of our environments, one of our biggest concentrations would be on the ocean because we believe this could significantly impact the global warming crisis and provide jobs to people in places where plastic seems to gather due to the oceans currents. Our starting point is with High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) which is an easily recyclable plastic that recycling centers dont receive a ton of value for. HDPE includes milk jugs, laundry detergent containers, protein powder containers, etc. Once we master HDPE we will expand to other types of plastics in order to have a bigger impact.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

People could get involved with a drop off service diverting plastic away from the landfills or local areas. Because we don't want to depend on our supply coming from just people in the neighborhood we would like to employ people to visit landfills to retrieve plastics that would need to be sorted, cleaned, and manufactured into products that we would create an online site for where they could be purchased. These funds would go directly to acquiring gear and teams in third world countries to gather trash out of the ocean and collect it for specialty products labeled with the country or ocean by which they were gathered. We would have branding and campaigns to educate people about the environmental impact they have, from these we would create product lines tied to those events.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

A lot of people want to tackle this issue, its near and dear to the hearts of many. There are a lot of solutions out there but its not good enough. We want to take it a step further by bringing the solution to countries around the world and not only providing the education and resources, but also training locals and empowering them to clean up their environment and to sustain their families. Educate,train,empower,employ,de-pollute the environment.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Ive been thinking about this project for quite some time and through a lot of research and networking I was able to educate and find help around me. First I started by literally dumpster diving to collect things like milk jugs and laundry detergent containers and this led to an opportunity to inform my roommates about the problem and now they are saving their plastics for me. I was also able to educate and engage my classmates in helping me to collect HDPE plastics. This has led to finding a resource for unlimited HDPE plastics through a local recycling center. After I organized, cleaned, and ground the plastic I obtained from this recycling center, I realized this projects was going to need more hands. Thats when I recruited Jae and Elliott to help the cause. I also found an investor who is interested in the project and is a possible resource for funding.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We will start our campaign locally, branching out as we achieve funding goals. We'd like to start with getting our own equipment to be able to make a small set of products for which we will sell. We also will look into crowdfunding resources from sites like Kickstarter and Indigogo. Once we receive the additional funding from those campaigns we'd set out to help a high priority community after researching and qualifying them. We'd educate the problem and the solution, train, and employ locals to help us clean, organize, and prepare the plastic they've retrieved before arming them with machines of their own to be able to recycle that plastic.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

We plan to acquire machines that could speed up our process and increase efficiency. We have goals to expand not only in North America but globally creating a large wave of people recycling plastics and making them into desirable and useful things all while improving the environments that we live in and helping the economies in which we serve.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Sales
  • Mentors/advisors

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Id love to get as many people as are interested involved with this project. Id love to go around educating children and teaming up with other organizations with similar desires to run with this idea. I noticed a few other entries that are geared toward cleaning up the environment. Id love to reach out to them and get them involved with the project if they accept. Id love working with cultures all around to find out what their feedback is and how we can make this project better according for each individual who wants to participate. Id like to think about how we can act locally on a global scale which means we would take the temperature of each community we entered and tailor our approach to their specific needs. I think engaging people is easy when they know you are committed and determined to make it happen. I want as many people who are willing to get involved and am working on an instagram page for the project to gain social media presence and spread the idea. Of course Im open to any possibilities and feedback from anyone.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mystica Jacob

I was not able to evaluate by the time I found this entry but this is really great! I really love the concept and design and I really hope to see this expanded and supported!

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