Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, has long-lacked adequate infrastructure. But when a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck in 2010, most existing roads were obliterated, along with thousands of residences, commercial buildings and schools. Without sound infrastructure, the population of Haiti has very limited access to clean water and sanitation systems. As a result, Haitians rely on bottled drinking water. Because proper disposal methods aren't in place, plastic bottles litter the island. When rain falls, they're swept away into canals and eventually make their way into the Caribbean Sea, contributing to the world's stubborn plastic waste challenge.
Imagine for a minute that we could transform this trash into opportunity – to improve livelihoods, promote education and reduce global materials use. Backed by one of the largest supply chains in the IT industry, HP is doing just that with our HP Original Ink Cartridges. Made from plastic bottles collected in Haiti, these cartridges build on our progress to advance the circular economy through our closed-loop recycling program.
HP launched its initiative to source recycled plastics from Haiti in collaboration with the First Mile Coalition and with support from our established recycling partners.
For HP, the Haiti project was about finding new sources of plastic materials for our closed-loop recycling programs while supporting our corporate vision of "making life better for everyone, everywhere."
This initiative supports our efforts to reinvent the way we design, manufacture and recover our products as we shift toward a circular and low-carbon economy. It opens up new market opportunities and generates a much-needed steady revenue stream for individuals and companies in Haiti. And it supports our longstanding commitments to responsibly source materials for our products and treat all workers in our supply chain with dignity and respect.
The program is also designed to help improve the working conditions of Haitians collecting bottles in the Truitier landfill, provide a path out of poverty for the children who work in the landfill, and open up new economic opportunities for more citizens.
Through the program, after bottles are collected in Haiti and processed locally, they enter our global supply chain where they are mixed with millions of returned cartridges from HP customers, eventually finding new life as new products. This isn't a special product line – the recycled plastic from Haiti can be found in HP Original Ink Cartridges.
It was equally important that we worked with partners that share the same values when it comes to the treatment of workers. Like HP, members of the First Mile Coalition maintain a Code of Conduct with its suppliers based on standards set forth by the International Labour Organization and the UN convention on the Rights of the Child. Even with these programs in place, we discovered that HP held its suppliers to even higher standards. Based on this disparity, we worked with the organizations to help them improve their processes to raise their supplier standards for all of their suppliers in Haiti and around the world.
It's important to note that we use colored bottles (red, gray, and brown) collected in Haiti to produce our ink cartridges. Most companies that use recycled bottles to create new products can only use clear plastic bottles. Since the Haitian workers see no market value for colored bottles, they are rarely collected and continue to pollute the landscape and ocean. By using these unwanted bottles in our recycling process, we are opening up new markets for this waste.
HP and its partners are also working with the Haiti recycler to improve on-island recycling processes and capabilities. This will ensure that the recycled plastics quality meets HP's strict quality requirements, and more importantly, it will increase the value of all recycled plastics processed at this facility. This will result in more plastics value for the local communities and potentially will open additional markets and customers for this material.
Through March 2018, HP has sourced more than 170 tonnes of plastic – more than 8.3 million plastic bottles – from Haiti for use in our closed-loop recycling process. To put that into perspective, a typical HP ink cartridge uses a little more than 1 bottle of PET material.
In addition, working with our partners, we have provided 50 children with educational opportunities, food and medical assistance, and created more than 420 income opportunities for adults.
HP has long been on the front lines of closed-loop recycling. Through 2017, we have manufactured more than 3.8 billion HP ink and toner cartridges using more than 99,000 tonnes of recycled plastic. This includes 4 billion post-consumer plastic bottles. Through our closed-loop recycling program, we are helping divert on average more than 1 million water bottles per day from landfills.
In addition, analysis shows that using recycled plastic rather than virgin plastic in our ink cartridges, on average, reduced carbon footprint by 42%, water use by 38%, and total energy use by 63%.
Today, more than 80 percent of HP ink cartridges contain 45 to 70 percent recycled content, and 100 percent of HP toner cartridges contain 10 to 33 percent recycled content.
By adding another valuable source for our supply chain through our work in Haiti, HP is deepening our commitment to improving social and environmental outcomes in our global supply chain. It's the right thing to do – both for our company and for everyone we touch along the way.