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POP Around the World

POP Around the World: Semarang, Indonesia 2023

By September 15, 2023October 3rd, 2023No Comments

Prevented Ocean Plastic™ is on a mission to open 25 new Collection Centres by 2025. The first centre opened in Semarang, Indonesia, in July.

For Prevented Ocean Plastic™ Commercial Lead, Ben Tingley, and Stakeholder Engagement Lead, Dan McBirney, travelling to Semarang to witness the grand opening was the first time that either of them had visited the supply chain in person.

For McBirney, it was an opportunity to confirm everything he had been told while spearheading the launch of Prevented Ocean Plastic™ in fish packaging while in his previous role at Lidl GB. “I joined Bantam at the end of 2022, but I’ve been familiar with Prevented Ocean Plastic™ since 2019 and everything that I saw in Indonesia married up with everything that I was told. We could see it, touch it, feel it, engage with it, and literally witness the impact it was making”.

A big part of that impact is delivered via dedication to Responsible Sourcing. When Prevented Ocean Plastic™ talk about Collection Centres, it means safe, dignified, and productive spaces. In Semarang, the USAID-backed aggregation centre opens on par with a commonplace UK factory- size, fit, look, and feel. The site will create direct jobs and keep plastic out of the local environment and out of our oceans. In Tingley’s words, “It’s a massive step forward for the region and the Prevented Ocean Plastic™ Programme.”

Tingley and McBirney also made time to witness the other side of the story first-hand. They visited a location where the lack of infrastructure meant plastic and other waste was being sent to landfill.

“The term ‘landfill’ is an oxymoron,” said McBirney. “From what we saw, that land was filled a long time ago. This was waste being piled up and compressed down, over and over and over again. The result was an egregious amount of waste, impossible to contain, leeching out and poisoning the environment. The scale of it was just enormous.

Prevention must be the preferred route.”

For Tingley, the trip turned his everyday responsibilities into vivid reality, “It was so much more, in every sense, than I imagined it was going to be. I thought I knew what to expect- I’m very familiar with our supply chain and I’ve seen pictures and video of everything- but it’s so different when you visit. You get the truest sense of what’s happening on the ground. You get a new understanding of size and scale, and then you get the privilege of meeting the people. The people working with us were so kind, and so clearly passionate about making things better.”

McBirney was pleased to see processes and best practices first-hand, “We saw our entire supply chain, end to end, from the problem in the environment, all the way through collection and aggregation centres, into a recycler. We saw high quality material, and we saw an exceptionally high standard of processing of that material”. And he was likewise uniquely impressed by the people he met. 

“There was one particular employee who had worked their way up from a factory floor role into a more managerial position. This was someone who not only believes in the power of the Prevented Ocean Plastic™ Programme, but also that her work was making a genuine impact on the environment, and on the entire planet”.

The Prevented Ocean Plastic™ 25 by 2025 mission started in Semarang but it will soon expand to other locations in Indonesia and around the world. Prevented Ocean Plastic™ remain commited to changing people’s lives, implementing and improving recycling infrastructure in areas that need it most, and tackling the ocean plastic problem.

Prevented Ocean Plastic™ is high quality, certified recycled plastic that has been collected from coastal areas at risk of ocean plastic pollution. Used by supermarkets and brands around the world, it meets regulatory health and safety standards, is traceable back to source and can be identified on-pack through its distinctive triangular logo. Prevented Ocean Plastic™ is an official nominee for the 2023 Earthshot Prize, and counts Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Booths Supermarket as key partners, along with major manufacturing partners such as Groupe Guillin, Spectra Packaging, and Berry Global for offerings across multiple product categories, including fish, poultry, soft fruits, pet food, personal care, and home cleaning.