October 2019 – Making Waves

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/1173482

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And we make more every day." Katz's goal is to return a steady feedstock of recycled material that is easier and less expensive to buy than new plastic. "We're closing the loop in the circular economy," he explains. Growing up on Vancou- ver Island, Katz realized in his teens that plastic was a problem when he saw it washing up on the beach. He also had an early intro- duction to the disadvan- taged. His parents, who had immigrated to Canada from Israel in 1967, owned the Hotel Douglas. "It was like growing up on the East Hastings of Victoria at the time," Katz says. When the hotel tavern BCBUSINESS.CA E N T R E P R E N E U R O F T H E Y E A R 2 0 1 9 / S P E C I A L C I T A T I O N , S O C I A L E N T R E P R E N E U R David Katz F O U N D E R A N D C E O , T H E P L A S T I C B A N K n In July, David Katz met with Pope Francis—his second visit to the Vatican. The first was for a special event there in 2017, shortly after receiving a United Nations Momentum for Change Climate Solutions Award. The latest, when he spoke with the Pope and handed him a gift, was because of a new interfaith program Katz has launched—it includes educational sermons and on-site recycling programs so worshippers can donate used plastic instead of just a monetary offering or tithe. Pope Francis has said it is a Christian duty to be stewards of the planet. Katz describes Vancouver-based Plastic Bank, founded in 2013, as the world's largest chain of stores for the poor where everything can be purchased using plastic garbage. Some 8,000 col- lectors in Haiti, Indonesia, the Philippines and, most recently, Brazil receive Plastic Bank Rewards in exchange for salvaged plastic. Using a mobile app, they can deposit their earnings in a digital bank account to spend on school tuition, medical insur- ance, pharmaceuticals, cellphone minutes, cook- ing fuel, high-efficiency stoves and more. The organization, which has 70 staff, sells the plastic to companies like German manufacturer Henkel AG & Co. and U.K.-based retailer Marks & Spencer Group to be upcycled into new products. Katz believes the pro- duction of virgin plastic should be halted. "All the plastic we've ever produced is still here," he notes. "We have 8.3 trillion kilos of plastic on the Earth. There are seven and a half billion people who average 62 kilos each. IS AN ENTREPRENEUR BORN OR MADE? I don't think anyone looks in the delivery room and says, What did you have? A little girl. What did you have? Oh, I had a top closer. I don't think so. I think that you're forged in life opened at 9 in the morn- ing, there would be a lineup of customers wait- ing to drink. "They were the poor," Katz recalls. "It's all part of my journey into what I'm doing now to see all those people as people. I didn't sit in judgment of them. They were just people that I knew, and they were all nice, and they were friendly." —F.S. OCTOBER 2019 BCBUSINESS 51

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