We have all witnessed the harrowing images. South East Asia is drowning is a literal sea of plastic. Despite the newly deployed United Nations initiative of reducing plastic pollution for ASEAN cities by producing plastic waste maps and simulations for each pilot city and training government officials to use smart technologies to monitor, assess, report on and sustainably manage plastic waste, the problem is very real and is utterly devastating to the environment.
TONTOTON, a newly launched Vietnam based start-up, founded by long time environmentalist Barak Ekshtein was formed to tackle the ongoing plastic pollution problem and stop the endless flow of ocean bound non-recyclable plastics before it reaches the waterways.
On March 2nd of 2021, TONTOTON became the first company worldwide certified under the Ocean Bound Plastic Neutrality Standard. The plastic pollution crisis needs immediate action to reduce air pollution caused by open air burning and to stop the flow of plastic waste into the ocean. TONTOTON, with the help of international companies, offers an immediate and long-term solution to upcycle plastic waste into usable energy and raw materials. As Vietnam is the 4th largest contributor to marine plastic pollution globally, with an estimated 2,500 tons of plastic waste discharged daily, the TONTOTON activities are currently focusing on poor waste management areas of North and South Vietnam.
When asked what inspired him to form and launch TONTOTON, Barak Ekshtein replied – “It all started with a product I saw with an environmental claim related to ocean plastic and I wanted to develop similar products as well. I researched in depth the source of the material and it became clear to me that there is no truth in the claim. This led me to think about how to develop a product that will have a proven environmental effect. I learned that while recyclable plastic is collected in very high percentages, non-recyclable plastic is not collected efficiently and is a major source of pollution in nature. I realized that I could create a proven environmental effect by focusing on collecting and treating non-recyclable plastics and at the same time helping companies reduce their environmental footprint. And that the most effective way to do this is by a plastic credit system. The possibility of treating non-recyclable plastics as an alternative energy source, as a substitute for coal and at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions, allowed me to develop TONTOTON as a controlled and effective system for creating an environmental effect.”