By Sangeeta Waldron
Mountains of rotting garbage are piled high at Truitier landfill, the largest dump in Haiti. The stench alone would drive most people away. Yet, over 300 children currently collect recyclable materials from here, where they and their families are exposed to daily hazardous working conditions. Truitier has always been a city dumping ground.
After the earthquake, waste management has become a complex problem. However, things are happening to create a more sustainable waste management and HP Inc. has announced the launch of Original HP ink cartridges made with plastic from bottles recycled in Haiti.
This enterprise has been made possible through the close partnership with Thread and the First Mile Coalition, which addresses child labor in the ‘First Mile’ of global supply chains, beginning with communities that neighbor Truitier. Together they want to improve the lives of the children by providing them with educational opportunities, including scholarships, as well as full access to medical care, health and safety trainings.
The commitment partners will provide job training for the adult family members of the children, who are also working in the landfill, and will invest over $150,000 in entrepreneurs, micro-enterprises and/or small-to-medium enterprises in targeted neighborhoods. Rosette Altidor, a Haitian collection center owner says, “The work that [Thread and] HP are doing helps me get my children to school, and helps me pay for my home. It motivates me to motivate others to collect plastic as well. Everyone can benefit from clean-up work in Haiti.”
This initiative represents HP’s efforts to reinvent how products are designed, manufactured, used and recovered in a shift toward a circular and low-carbon economy. It opens a new market opportunity, generating a steady revenue stream and partnering to improve conditions for workers. HP is not only creating jobs, but importantly, bringing dignity to the collectors of recyclables in Haiti, while creating sustainable ink cartridges. It also helps prevent plastics from reaching the Caribbean Sea, battling the ever-growing problem of ocean pollution.
HP has long been an industry leader in ‘closed-loop recycling’, combining material from products returned by its customers through the HP Planet Partners program with other post-consumer materials to create new Original HP cartridges. Through 2016, the company manufactured more than 3.4 billion HP ink and toner cartridges using more than 88,900 tons of recycled content material, which includes 3.7 billion post-consumer plastic bottles. By making Haiti a starting point of the supply chain, HP is helping to push social and environmental change.
Sangeeta Waldron writes on women and children; sustainability; climate change; social enterprise and social entrepreneurs. She has a particular interest in India. She is the founder of Serendipity PR, in London, UK, where she works with high-profile brands and organizations in the public, non-profit, and corporate sectors, winning awards for her work from the communications industry. She has been appointed to the Women In Enterprise Taskforce and was until recently chairman of London’s leading conscious well-being organization, Alternatives, which hosts leading speakers such as Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Neale Donald Walsch and many other well-known names. She describes herself as a Spiritual Entrepreneur, Conscious Explorer; enjoys paying it forward and being a mum.
A version of this post originally appeared on Justmeans