Blockchain technology has been dubbed one of the most disruptive technologies of our time, and this is only the beginning. Blockchain is being used in a variety of industries, from banking to fashion, and IBM is now using the technology to improve the way we recycle plastic.
Issues with Plastic
According to the World Economic Forum, approximately 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year, with only 14 percent -18 percent of this total recycled globally. The ability to reuse and recycle trash is crucial to the viability of a circular economy.
Manufacturing new plastics from recycled polymers, on the other hand, is a precise process that necessitates knowledge of the chemical composition of the recovered materials. However, due to current waste management practices, this is difficult to achieve.
The presence of multiple participants, inefficiencies, and a lack of digital data make it difficult to ensure supply chain visibility and traceability.
Blockchain Saves the Day
According to a press release from the NRI, IBM Japan has announced a new collaboration with Mitsui Chemicals and Nomura Research Institute to investigate how blockchain technology can be used to develop better plastic recycling techniques.
Blockchain technology is useful because it allows activity to be tracked on a decentralized ledger, ensuring event accountability and traceability. It also provides manufacturers with information on the material’s lifecycle and confirmation of its chemical structure.
By hosting research groups and blockchain platform demonstration trials, the consortium will assist market participants. It also intends to use its market dominance to develop an incentive-based system for companies that have contributed to resource recycling.
The most recent in a long line of applications
However, this is not the first time Mitsui and IBM have worked together on a blockchain network for plastic recycling. Earlier this year, the two organizations collaborated to develop a platform that tracks substances from their raw form to the stages of recycling and repurposing.
Nomura Research Institute recently joined the collaboration in order to speed up and expand this operation. The consortium’s mission is to promote traceable recycling procedures and to create an incentive structure to encourage the general public and businesses to participate in recycling initiatives.
The NRI is not new to the blockchain space; however, its primary involvement has been with BOOSTRY, a Japanese blockchain platform that facilitates the issuance of government bonds.
Meanwhile, IBM Japan announced another collaboration with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries yesterday to investigate the use of blockchain in CO2 recycling.