Plastic Bank hires first Asia sales chief as social enterprise eyes ninefold growth in 2021

Former Coty, Luxottica and L'Oréal executive Giovanni Bottazzi is moving to Singapore to engage companies in Asia to use "social plastic".

A Plastic Bank collection centre in the Philippines
Founded in 2013, Plastic Bank incentivises people in developing countries to collect plastic in exchange for cash or good and services. The collected plastic is recycled, and used by consumer goods firms in their products and packaging. Image: Plastic Bank

Plastic Bank, a social enterprise that creates a marketplace for “social plastic” by enabling waste collectors to exchange recyclable plastic for goods and services, has hired its first head of sales and strategy for Asia.

Italian national Giovanni Bottazzi takes on the newly created position, moving from cosmetics firm Coty, where he was sales director for Japan. He will be based in Singapore, which will serve as a regional hub for the for-profit social enterprise.

Founded in 2013, Plastic Bank incentivises people in developing countries to collect plastic in exchange for cash or good and services. The collected plastic is recycled, and used by consumer goods firms in their products and packaging.

Headquartered in Van Couver, Canada, Plastic Bank operates in Haiti, Brazil, Egypt, the Philippines, and Indonesia, where most of its collection centres are located. 

Currently, most of the plastic collected is sold to Western multinational consumer goods firms such as SC Johnson and Henkel, Plastic Bank’s two biggest buyers. Bottazzi comes on board to strike deals with more Asia-based companies looking to use recycled plastic in their products.

Giovanni Bottazzi, Plastic Bank, head of sales, Asia

Giovanni Bottazzi has joined Plastic Bank as the social enterprise’s first head of sales for Asia

Despite the limitations of the Covid-19 pandemic, which have hit waste collection systems hard across the region over the last year, Plastic Bank saw sales increase six-fold between 2019 and 2020. Bottazzi said the firm is aiming for ninefold growth this year.

“Companies have shown more willing to do good things over the last year, as their customers are demanding sustainability in the products they buy. This has driven growth in the business,” Bottazzi told Eco-Business.

Products made from Plastic Bank’s “social plastic” can feature the Plastic Bank logo, which will help generate more sales and raise brand awareness, Bottazzi noted.

Bottazzi teams up with former Luxottica colleague Claus Skadkjaer at Plastic Bank. Skadkjaer is Asia president of Plastic Bank, and has spent the last two years sourcing local partners and setting up the supply chain.

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