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Vlog: Recycled Plastics, Chain of Custody Audits and the Changing Face of Business

by / Thursday, 30 April 2015 / Published in Vlog
plastics-recycling

Maybe you already buy recycled poly or PET. Lots of great companies do. Maybe you just think you do. Unfortunately, not all producers do a full chain-of-custody audit. They don’t know where their bottle recyclers, mills and yarn suppliers might be cutting corners. When you don’t know where your plastic is coming from, it’s not entirely savory to claim that you’re producing something sustainable. And that knowledge can be a bit expensive.

But this is knowledge that we must develop, and we’ve got a strategy: we rely on building relationships with suppliers. It’s simply too expensive to have to go through a full chain-of-custody audit every time we do business. This is just one of the challenges of working in ethical sourcing.

 

Things are changing. The next generation thinks differently, and does business differently too. We’re even changing corporate structures to acknowledge not-for-profit corporate ventures. I think we’ll see the rise of the B-Corp – companies that make a profit but also work social good and sustainability goals into the core of their business. Five years ago, suppliers had no idea what I was talking about when I brought up social compliancy. Now, at least, it’s in their vocabularies.

There are obstacles though. The fact is, it’s still cheaper to work with virgin PET and other non-sustainable materials. But it’s not THAT much cheaper. At least not as different as consumer pricing might have you believe. Raw materials are just one cost, totally separate from production, design etc.  Prices should reflect this. A lot of businesses crank up costs absurdly for using organic, recycled or Fair Trade materials. In my eyes, this is a big problem. That’s one reason why we have trouble competing with cheap mass produced stuff.

We’ve got a much better chance of bringing ethical goods to the people by adding the additional cost for organic goods at a flat rate. But we must also do our due diligence to know the complete story behind them, which is not cheap.

Find out how some of the biggest brands in the world have told their story with rPET here.

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