Consider this: Americans use 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour of every single day. This plastic really adds up, and computer giant HP has decided to do something productive with all these leftover bottles.
HP manufactures all kinds of computer-related products, from the machines to the printers to the ink that goes in them. Now, they have created a way to cut down on their plastic use while boosting local economies in developing nations.
Earlier this month, they announced a partnership with Thread, a company that utilizes recycled plastic bottles from Haiti to Honduras to create clothing and other refurbished materials from plastic. Thread has already partnered with designers Timberland and Kenneth Cole to create fabric for clothing and accessories while creating a job market in poorer cities.
Thread’s goal is to recycle plastic bottles that normally end up in landfills and waterways and create manufacturing jobs in cities. They are trying to reduce child labor in these nations as well by simply creating a job market that employs older family members, offering them job training and medical care. In addition, Thread helps to get children into schools while their families work, so the parents don’t have to worry about the additional expense of child care, Engadget reports.
Despite the fact that Thread typically creates the actual thread for fabric, there are a lot of byproducts leftover that are perfect for making other items, such as plastic ink cartridges. Thread and HP’s partnership is the first of its kind, and HP has decided to go the non-traditional route and create all their materials for the ink cartridges from this plastic.
For their project, Thread and HP will focus mainly on communities in Haiti. Currently, 300 children are working to collect recyclable materials from Haiti’s main landfill, which puts both their health and their family’s health in jeopardy. Thread hopes that if HP can create jobs in the area, these children will be able to remove themselves from poor working conditions and get an education that will help them be successful later on in life.
All in all, the HP and Thread partnership will invest more than $150,000 in entrepreneurs and businesses in specific neighborhoods all across Haiti.
“HP has been committed to sourcing materials responsibly and treating all workers with respect for decades,” explains Stuart Pann, Chief Supply Chain Officer at HP Inc, to Sustainable Brands. “Our work in Haiti enables us to reach the vulnerable collectors in Haiti and make their plastic part of our supply chain — which creates economic opportunities and a better quality of life for these families.”
Last year, HP fabricated more than 3.4 billion ink cartridges by utilizing 88,900 tons of recycled content material. The majority of their ink cartridges use about 45% to 70% of recycled content, and HP’s goal this year is to raise that number to 100%.
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