Giving plastic waste new life in India and Indonesia

Waste management experts are using the latest tracking technology to recover 50,000 kilograms of ocean-bound plastic.

Image © Green Worms

Image © Green Worms

Key facts

Only One members are funding the removal of 50,000 kilograms of plastic in five different locations across India and Indonesia, equivalent to five million plastic bottles!

The project is stopping ocean-bound plastic, converting non-recyclable plastic into energy, and empowering local communities to become waste management experts.

Our plastics removal partner CleanHub is at the forefront of building and using tracking technology to recover plastic waste before it reaches landfills or the ocean. Check out Only One’s live plastics removal tracker on CleanHub’s platform.

By thinking outside the box, CleanHub’s team now has the capability to process more plastic waste than the 11 million tonnes entering our ocean every year.

How the project works


People offset their plastic footprint by donating to CleanHub, whose team communicates the order volume to collection hubs.

Steffen Hitscher


Local employees collect plastic waste directly from households, businesses, and a small number of coastal waterways and beaches.

Green Worms


The plastic waste is taken to sorting stations to be processed, separated into recyclable and non-recyclable goods, and compressed into bales for storage and transportation.



Collection hubs use the custom-built CleanHub app to track and trace the entire plastics recovery process and capture proof of work.

Green Worms


Recyclable plastic waste is sold locally and given a new lease of life. Non-recyclables are converted into energy, reducing industrial carbon emissions by 25%.


Become a member of Only One today to fund CleanHub’s project and take direct action to save the planet — planting your own ocean forests and coral reefs, and removing plastic and carbon pollution.

Project impact

All projects on Only One help save the ocean and fix the climate, and 100% of our members’ funds go to impact. Keep reading to discover how our “Giving plastic waste new life in India and Indonesia” project is having a positive effect.

Biodiversity and ecosystems

CleanHub’s project is run at five different hubs across India and Indonesia. Both these countries are located in Southeast Asia, a region where fast-growing cities are generating as much as 60% of plastic leakage into ecosystems worldwide. Three-quarters of plastic pollution flowing from the land into the sea in Southeast Asia stem from uncontrolled waste, which is where CleanHub, local waste management experts, and members of Only One come in. Through CleanHub’s project, frontline waste workers are fighting ocean-bound plastic in high-leakage locations, so by funding this project, Only One members are protecting threatened and endangered marine species off the coasts of India and Indonesia from additional dangerous plastic waste. CleanHub’s effort to recover and reinvent disposed-of plastic items also has other environmental benefits, such as cleaner mangrove forests and waterways leading to the ocean in Java, Indonesia, thanks to a network of around 2,000 fisherfolk involved in CleanHub’s plastics collection.


Plastics removal

CleanHub prevents both recyclable and non-recyclable plastics from reaching the ocean, but their area of specialization as an organization is plastic waste that is unable to be recycled. This so-called “flexible” or “multilayer” packaging (think chip packets and sauce sachets) makes up 80% of the plastic products ending up in our ocean today, and over 90% of it sinks to the bottom from where it can never be retrieved. So why is this the case? Non-recyclable plastics are either impossible to recycle or not being turned into in-demand products, meaning they have no market value. To demonstrate how significant this is, you can sell one tonne of recyclable plastic for $400, whereas to safely dispose of one tonne of non-recyclable plastic, you have to pay $100, as well as collection, transportation, and sorting costs.

CleanHub’s project solves this problem through an ingenious solution. After non-recyclable plastics are collected, they are sent for incineration to win back energy. This may sound counterintuitive, but hear us out. CleanHub partners exclusively with cement plants to incinerate non-recyclable plastic waste, and this works especially well for two reasons. First, cement plants operate using exceptionally high temperatures that lead to the cleanest possible combustion. Second, it significantly reduces the net balance of carbon emissions from the cement industry, because 1 tonne of plastic waste replaces 1.1 tonnes of coal, which emits much more greenhouse gas than mixed plastics when combustion occurs.

What all this means is that through CleanHub’s project, members of Only One are helping incentivize collection of the most widespread type of plastic waste in the ocean (non-recyclables), while at the same time supporting CleanHub’s long-term goal of reducing plastic production at the source and championing a circular economy.


Community development

CleanHub lifts the livelihoods of people in highly polluted areas, fosters entrepreneurship, and empowers local communities to create plastics removal incentives and develop waste management standards. Their project helps employ over 270 local people at collection hubs, who are paid fair wages in compliance with the law. Around 100 employees are women who are receiving their own income for the first time. CleanHub also ensures proper working conditions are in place, including fire safety training and personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, as well as lunch and prayer facilities and washrooms. In 2021, during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, CleanHub’s contribution enabled on-the-ground partner organizations to give workers higher wages and improve collection hub facilities.

Green Worms

Project leaders

CleanHub cultivates partnerships with local organizations that are doing the collection of plastics on the ground and leading the way on overcoming plastic pollution. Via CleanHub, members of Only One are funding the work of:

Tridi Oasis, a women-led recycling company in Tangerang, Indonesia. Tridi Oasis focuses on increasing collections rates for non-recyclable plastics.

Green Worms, a social enterprise in Kerala, India. Green Worms intercepts plastic waste as close to the source as possible, which is an essential tactic for stopping the flow of plastic into the environment.

GOT BAG, a sustainable startup in Damak, Indonesia. GOT BAG developed the world’s first backpack made of ocean plastic and continues to close the loop on marine plastic pollution.

vRecycle, a small waste management business in Goa, India. vRecycle helps more than 25,000 homes tackle their waste, and has built over 2,000 composters and around 200 community recycling points.

ecoBali, a team of waste management professionals in Kuta Utara, Indonesia. ecoBali was founded in 2006 to address the garbage problem on the island of Bali.

Tracking technology

Everybody loves a clean ocean; nobody likes greenwashing. Which is exactly why CleanHub built the technology to track and trace every piece of ocean-bound plastic recovered from start to finish! CleanHub’s custom-built app allows waste workers to send data at each distinct stage of the plastics recovery process: collection, sorting, and safe final treatment. CleanHub aims for the initial “material registration” to happen as close as possible to the plastic waste’s source; many household collections use on-site QR codes by people’s homes. The real-time feed on CleanHub’s website shows plastic being registered upon collection, sorted by type, and disposed of responsibly. CleanHub gets over 70 data points a day on average, all with picture proof, so members of Only One can verify the plastic waste collected on their behalf and see how CleanHub takes care of it.


Sustainable Development Goals

By supporting the “Giving plastic waste new life in India and Indonesia” project, Only One members’ funds go toward these 4 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Project reporting

CleanHub has set up a live plastics removal tracker for Only One, which shows in real time how close Only One members are to hitting their goal of recovering 50,000 kilograms of ocean-bound plastic. New photos from CleanHub’s collection and sorting hubs will be shared on an ongoing basis, along with community updates.

As of July 2022, CleanHub has removed an amazing 12,878 kilograms of plastic on behalf of Only One members, equivalent to more than 1.2 million plastic bottles!

Steffen Hitscher

More about our plastics removal partner

CleanHub believes in a future where waste will have value rather than become garbage. Their team is dedicated to freeing the planet from plastic pollution while offering solutions for ocean lovers to have a verifiable environmental impact. Working alongside local organizations in Asia, CleanHub collects both recyclable and non-recyclable plastic before it reaches the ocean, then safely processes it, with the help of custom-built, state-of-the-art tracking technology. CleanHub uses methods with the lowest carbon footprint possible and helps secure better working conditions for local waste workers. So far, CleanHub’s efforts have resulted in the recovery of one million kilograms of ocean-bound plastic!

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