2.International Flow: This Canadian Group Raps in Eight Languages
3.The Border Restaurant That Makes Asylum Seekers Feel at Home
4.Keeping Classic Sneakers Fresh With Chicago’s Teen Cobbler
5.Creating a Healthier World, One Medical Supply at a Time
6.Discovering the Mystery of the Eagle Ray
7.Presenting Really Great Big Stories
8.Whose Body Is a Beach Body Anyway?
9.Chasing a Family Dream: Father and Son Take on Longboarding
10.These Traditional Chinese Rock Climbers Use No Ropes or Tools
11.This Village in India Plants 111 Trees Every Time a Girl Is Born
12.What If Walls Actually Listened?
13.The Kings of Cork
14.The Qing Miao People of China Stay Connected to Their Ancestors Through Hair
15.The Hawaiian Rain Dancers Who Summon Storms
16.Explore the Valley Protecting Hawaii’s Ancient Plants
17.The Accidental Invention of the Best Snack Food Ever
18.In the Age of Tinder, Ireland’s Matchmaker Still Makes Love Connections
19.The Hotline for Hollywood's Science Nerds
20.Working to Keep an Island Afloat
21.Unlikely Emcees: The Muslim Hip-Hop Artists Bridging Worlds
22.Hanging on by a Hair
23.The Gnomist: A Great Big Film Coming Friday, November 13
24.In Rome, a Sculptor Learns from the Masters
25.The Library That Checks Out Dead Animals
What would our world look like without plastic? From life-saving medical devices to computers to Tupperware, it’s changed the way we live, work and understand the world around us. But the same wonder material that has revolutionized so much is choking our oceans. It’s estimated that, every minute, an entire garbage truck worth of plastic hits our oceans. Otherwise put, 8 million tons of once-useful items find their way to global waters each year. There, over time, they break into tiny pieces called “microplastics,” which end up consumed by marine life.
For David Katz, fighting plastic pollution should start long before a soda bottle hits the tide. What’s more, he believes the very plastic waste that litters our shores and seas is anything but waste. In 2014, David launched the Plastic Bank, “a global network of micro-recycling markets that empower the poor to transcend poverty by cleaning the environment,” according to its website. The organization currently operates in Haiti, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil, and works like this: community members collect plastic waste (much of it post-consumer products like milk containers, detergent bottles and plastic bags) and bring it to Plastic Bank centers where it’s weighed and exchanged for cash. In Haiti, for example, more than 2,000 collectors have recovered around 7-million pounds of plastic since the organization arrived in 2015.
What was once considered waste can now be sold to major brands like Marks and Spencer and Henkle, who will use it to package and distribute their products in a more sustainable manner. As David Katz puts it, this “social plastic” is “empowering and precious”—something that bonds collectors in places like the Philippines and Haiti to brands and consumers around the world.
This is the second story in our latest series, “The Brave,” all about the incredible people protecting our Great Big Planet.
behind the scenes
Port-au-Prince, HaitiFull Map
10 videos | 26 min
9 videos | 22 min
6 videos | 25 min
6 videos | 21 min