From pollution to poverty, social enterprises like the Plastic Bank are discovering new solutions to old problems. And Canadian entrepreneur David Katz shows us the key to successful social enterprises lies in changing the way we think, finding the value in people and things everyone else tosses aside.
Something's rotten in the port of Manila -- and the stench is 100 per cent "Made in Canada." In June, 2013, 50 school bus-sized shipping containers arrived at the docks of the Philippines' capital city. Philippine media reported how port officials cracked the giant crates open to find tonnes of plastic mixed with garbage -- including dirty diapers.
A massive waste-to-energy garbage incinerator is being proposed for Nanaimo, population 88,000, to burn Metro Vancouver's garbage. It would be located on a site roughly 50 kilometres south of downtown Nanaimo, but prevailing winds would rain toxic material all over a town that breathes air rated by the World Health Organization as among the cleanest on earth.
Garbage -- or to use the more politically correct term, waste -- is big business. Really big. It can also be a messy business, particularly when politicians get involved. So no big surprise that the left hand doesn't seem to care what the right hand is doing at Metro Vancouver when it comes to regional waste management.
Issac Newton said that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. While this may be true for physics, it certainly does not carry over into interpersonal matters. Often the gentlest of gestures, smallest of actions or the quietest of whispered kind words will have an avalanche effect on the lives of others.
Since going green no longer means having to forfeit beautiful packaging to sell a product in a way that is consistent with any brand's image, there is simply no longer any excuse for offering products in unsustainable packaging. In the new age of green packaging, sustainability and brand promise can now go hand in hand and beautiful packaging doesn't have to be ugly for the environment.
So what are the differences between being a collector vs. being a hoarder? Both involve assigning special value to your possessions. Some people jokingly have referred to my kind of collecting as hoarding, as I like to keep things that have sentimental value to me. Kind of like a human pack rat accumulating memories.