The earth’s plastic problem is massive. Every 10 minutes, more than 8 million pounds of plastic waste is generated by companies that make consumer packaged goods. Due to the limitations of plastic recycling, a large percentage of that waste ends up in nature, irreparably damaging ecosystems. What’s more: A massive amount of waste is routed to the Global South, where thousands of laborers are trapped in exploitative, informal plastic-waste work.
Svanika Balasubramanian co-founded rePurpose Global to take on this problem. Since 2017, rePurpose has been helping companies to measure their plastic footprints, designing impactful plastic-reduction and redesign targets, and advising them on how to engage in long-term plastic-recovery efforts. With 100 companies responsible for 90% of single-use plastic production, education and advocacy are key. rePurpose has supported 250 brands across 26 countries, including Clorox and Johnson & Johnson. It is developing infrastructure to improve plastic-waste recovery, and leading the charge on plastic credits as financing tools—think: carbon taxes, but for plastic recovery.
Its efforts are helping recover 20 million pounds of plastic every year. By 2026, Balasubramanian hopes to increase that number to 100 million pounds a year.