We could talk about Haiti here at Thread until we fall over. Forgive us, but it’s literally the reason Thread exists as a company. We’re constantly visiting Haiti, talking to collectors and our Field Manager, Richardson, learning about the developments of the recycling facilities, and making sure the most important part of our supply chain is running smoothly.
Thing is, Haiti isn’t the only country in our First Mile. As we grow, we’re looking for more countries where we can source material and create an impact. Along with Haiti, Thread started sourcing recycled plastic from Honduras. We aim to do the same thing there as we’re doing in Haiti – creating demand for recycled bottles, creating dignified work for the people of Honduras, and ridding the environment from plastic waste. Honduras is new territory for us, but we think it deserves some time in the spotlight. With the help of Thread’s impact team, we present to you: Honduras 101.
Why did we choose to source from Honduras?
We only work in countries that begin with an “H”. KIDDING. [Fun fact, though: The first time we moved plastic out of Honduras, a Threadhead who handled billing and invoices let everyone know that in order to delineate between Haiti and Honduras, he would be writing an “H” to signify Honduras. He has yet to live it down, as evidenced by this aside.]
Thread chose Honduras because it’s one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. The third poorest, if you want to get technical. Haiti is number one.* There is a lot of work that can be done in that country and creating demand for plastic and dignified work is a solid start in our quest to end poverty. From a geographic standpoint, it’s also close enough to the US that we can easily move material from Honduras to domestic production facilities. It’s a win-win, if you ask us.
We work with a recycling facility called INVEMA. INVEMA rocks.
Honduras’ recycling facility is pretty advanced. At INVEMA, they do a lot of things right. They have an incredibly organized bookkeeping system that can track collectors right down to the piece of plastic they sold, stay focused on the triple bottom line, out pay their competitors to keep entrepreneurs loyal, and even have a daycare where collectors can bring their children because they aren’t allowed in the recycling facility. The kids can learn about recycling there! Come on, that’s awesome!
While we know our stuff when it comes to recycling, though Haiti operates on a much smaller scale than what goes down in Honduras. INVEMA can teach us how to improve production in Haiti and connect us to people who have made plastic collection their livelihood. Because INVEMA is already an all star, we have the opportunity to focus even more on the big picture – making sure the lives of the collectors are improving.
Recycling is not a new thing in Honduras.
Some of the collectors in Honduras have been collecting for a pretty long time. For instance, a man we met at INVEMA named Edys has been recycling for four years while his father has been in the business for 20. This well-established industry is a huge part of some people’s lives and has been for decades. In order to facilitate even more income opportunities in Honduras and continue to grow our supply chain, Thread has an incredible amount to learn from the these expert entrepreneurs.
Edys brings in around 1,000 pounds of recycling a week!
We have a lot of work to do.
The collection centers are more organized and recycling is not a new concept, but make no mistake – poverty is still an issue in Honduras. There is a lot of work to be done. In fact, there is a lot of work to be done all over the world. Thread isn’t confined to the western hemisphere. We want to end poverty, remember? We’re always looking for ways to help the poorest countries in the world and will continue until poverty is history, like smallpox or Blockbuster or, with any luck, the phenomena of Fidget spinners. Our eyes are always on the horizon, but Honduras is the next step in our journey. Grab your super sack and let’s get rolling.
*Nicaragua is number 2. We knew you were curious.