Collection, Compression, and Sequestration of Plastic Waste

A solution to the global crisis in food packaging management

  • Citizens around the globe are paid a bounty to collect non-recyclable plastic film and packaging waste from their own households and the local environment.
  • The waste is brought to dedicated landfills for plastic, heat-compressed into interlocking blocks and sequestered on-site, either permanently or re-introduced into the economy at a later date as chemical or energy feedstock.
  • The incentivization (bounty) is through the introduction of a novel universal coupon, redeemable at, and continuously circulating among environmentally-committed businesses and citizens willing to accept it.
  • For example, a citizen delivers 5 kg of unrecyclable film waste and receives a 5 kg coupon, which is redeemed for a 5% discount at a merchant, who then uses it to buy stock from a supplier, who passes it on to reward a staff member, who gifts it to a friend, who uses it at a merchant…
  • The coupons themselves are polymer (i.e. not digital), similar to bank notes. The unit is the kilogram, and the value is set by any retailer willing to accept them.They have no expiry date and cannot be cashed out for legal tender.
  • The coupons can also be purchased, with the money raised providing the incentivization for collectors in places (such as emerging markets) where a cash system may be more effective.
  • Resistance will be minimal as interests are aligned for all the main actors, including governments, Big Oil, manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and waste workers. Participation is voluntary, without contractual obligations of any kind.
  • The system can have an immediate impact, scale quickly, and be easily adjusted as externalities become known.
  • Expected global outcomes include reductions in: marine plastic pollution, air pollution, landfill stress, urban flooding, vector-borne disease, and poverty.
  • reduction of plastic leakage into the local environment;
  • prevention of illicit international exportation of waste;
  • reduced strain on landfill and waste collection infrastructure;
  • availability of an easily mined, energy dense resource (80–85% carbon by weight);
  • safe, compact and permanent carbon storage (if not re-integrated into the economy);
  • increased waste separation at the household level;
  • high accessibility to information and resources on sustainable living;
  • more responsibility given to waste generators (consumers);
  • ability to start small (1 park), identify and fix inefficiencies, and improve while scaling up;
  • technical simplicity; can be set up quickly and cheaply at any scale;
  • no impact on standard recycling and waste collection procedures for other materials;
  • can also be used for contaminated recyclables rejected at transfer stations (30% of Blue Box contents currently rejected in Toronto).
  • improved tourism potential
  • reduced blockage in urban drains (less flooding)
  • fewer standing water traps (fewer mosquitoes reduces vector-borne disease)
  • improved local aesthetics
  • improved health of fisheries, coral reefs
  • reduced damage to shipping
  • reduced air pollution (less incineration of waste)
  • waste management at pollution source
  • near 100% collection possible
  • re-deployment of informal waste pickers to formal economy (safer, higher salary, better social integration)
  • improved awareness and use of waste banks (recycling centers) for recyclables
  • development of new products, markets and entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • housing improvements: flooring, flood protection walls
  • property fences, sheds, animal pens, walkways
  • river bank protection (erosion, flood control)
  • landfill barrier (increased vertical capacity, waste avalanche protection, vermin control)
  • sea walls
  • It isn’t local. ES can be used over a wide geographical, multinational expanse at any establishment or by any person willing to accept it.
  • There is no demurrage (negative interest). ES maintains its value permanently. The value itself is solely determined by any retailer, service provider or citizen willing to accept it.
  • It is not officially exchangeable with fiat currencies and thus can never be cashed out.
  • The unit is the kilogram, representing sequestered plastic and emotionally connecting the user to environmental remediation.
  • It isn’t virtual. High quality polymer bank note technology will be used to create notes similar to Canadian dollars, with robust anti-counterfeit measures and tear resistance. Notes are also washable in soapy water.
  • Because the notes must be physically exchanged, they can only be used for in-person transactions. This will have the effect of stimulating local economies, especially small businesses, farmers markets and other in-person services. Keeping transactions non-web based will prevent the siphoning-off of community wealth and protects consumer privacy.
  • only during non-peak times
  • only on selected goods (slow-moving products, last year’s fashions)
  • to a maximum level per purchase (e.g. 10%)
  • only on designated days
  • only in designated shops
  • only to a maximum annual limit (e.g. 0.01% of sales)
  • only for purchase of a book of traditional coupons for their branded products
  • The value of the note is set by each retailer.
  • ES can replace some existing sales, coupons, and introductory offers.
  • Unlike coupons and loyalty points ES can be recycled by using it to pay suppliers, give staff bonuses, or reward regular customers.
  • ES can be used to soak up unused capacity for live events or shows. For example a half-empty cinema can accept ES once the movie has started. Marginal cost to the venue is zero.
  • Governments can accept ES for taxes, fines, entrance fees to parks and galleries, continuing education, public transportation.
  • an easy way to participate in environmental remediation without altering shopping behavior;
  • a way to make corporations pay for cleanup and global poverty reduction;
  • a strong psychological benefit.



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