Social Plastic® is a simple idea to reduce the need to produce any more virgin plastic (most of which are petrol based products) when recycled and ethically traded plastic is a viable option.

Some clever entrepreneurs David Katz and Shaun Frankson have started The Plastic Bank.

The Plastic Bank focuses on developing nations with high levels of plastic pollution in their waterways and oceans. Locals are rewarded by collecting plastic that is lining their beaches and waterways which provides them with an income/supplementary income. The collected plastic is then turned into viable products, and can be done so within the community with their own opensource recyclebot – a 3D printer that can be used to produce items needed within that community. Or it can be sent to a nearby Plastic Bank affiliated centre to be utilised in many different ways. Companies can then purchase this commodity and make their own products out of it and can promote their use of Social Plastic® to consumers that value non-virgin materials.
Lush (North America) were the first company to trial the use of Social Plastic® for their Charity Pot products.
Katz and Frankson hope that consumers start to request Social Plastic® in the goods that they buy, creating more demand and an ethical and sustainable option where plastic is required.

Check out the three minute clip for an overview.

ethically sourced plastic that helped improve someone elses life and kept plastic from coming into the ocean

– Shaun Frankson

Pretty clever system really: cleanup waterways; create jobs where they’re needed most; create plastic products from non-virgin plastic supplies. #winning

You can follow The Plastic Bank on Facebook and other social media platfoms, here.
They also encourage supporters to sign their digital petition to show demand for Social Plastic® and create awareness of the conscious consumer movement.

And for further food for thought…

Image sourced from:

Image sourced from:





It’s brunch o’clock on Sunday. If you’re anything like me the decision of where to go for decent nosh can be crippling at the best of times (early morning decision making is not a strength in this household). Or maybe you’re visiting a new city and you haven’t the foggiest idea of where to turn for good food.

The idea of ‘good food’ is of course relative to the person, the situation and perhaps whether you’re suffering from the ‘Sunday-morning-flu’. These days ‘good food’ can mean more than just who in town has the best hollandaise on their eggs benedict.

 A delicious and entirely local dinner from Roots Restaurant, Lyttleton
Good food can be much broader and depending on what you value it can encompass such things as ethically sourced ingredients; free-range and organic options; food that is prepared in a sustainable environment, where waste is minimised and managed smartly; perhaps has sustainably caught seafood on the menu; and ideally uses fantastic in-season, local ingredients.


Up until recently it has been incredibly difficult to judge which businesses do well at this stuff. Enter the good folk at Conscious Consumers NZ. These guys and gals have come up with an accreditation scheme to help consumers make more sustainable and ethical choices in the hospitality sector. One of the best things about this system is that it is incredibly easy to use and is *free* for consumers to use. Businesses that sign up and pay the annual fee are are awarded any mix of up to 12 ‘badges’ in areas they can prove they perform in. Ultimately the scheme functions via a *free* app where you can check out who locally (limited cities in NZ currently as they build the brand) is operating within 12 areas of sustainability. These badges fit neatly within three categories,  Smart waste, ethical products and community. This way you can identify the values that you most closely align with, be it organic, eco-packaging or sustainable seafood.

 Local  Generosity
 BYO containers  Recycling  Eco-packaging  Composting  Eco-cleaners
Free range Fair trade Sustainable Seafood Vegetarian/Vegan Organic

Businesses are reviewed annually to ensure they still fit the criteria of the badges they hold. Businesses pay an annual fee to be profiled on the Conscious Consumer website as part of the package. If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of the accreditation process you can check this out.

Fancy a deal?

On the app you can set your preferences of cities and favourite businesses. From time to time businesses offer rewards or deals to customers that use the app.

Sometimes you’ll see a sign in a shop, usually at the counter with a QR code on it advertising either their business and/or their current deal. 



This is a great, if not basic, way to identify businesses that share the same values as you and support them with your custom. The app is free and I recommend you give it a whirl. It’s not hugely scientific, but it is evidence based. Personally I think this is a great start in the right direction and primarily exists with the well-meaning consumer (that’s you) in mind.

Conscious Consumer app does the hard work for you!


Feel good factor

It’s great to see that these like-minded businesses can measure their positive impacts.

Check out these stats (correct at time of publishing, otherwise see up-to-date stats here)

Each year our businesses spend $1,002,000 on organic food and beverages.

Each year our businesses spend $9,538,100 on local food and beverages.

Each year our businesses save 1,311,300 containers potentially going to landfill.

Each year our businesses help 21,200 animals avoid factory-style farming.

Why not download the app now? It’s available on both apple and android platforms from here