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Seeing Plastic As An Asset, Managed By Blockchain, Could Help Solve The Plastic Problem

July 24, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
In a blog post from INSEAD, the authors argue that it’s still early days in the use of blockchain in the war against plastic waste and the environmental and financial costs that entails. Raising public awareness has been a start, but the solution will require a shift in consumer behavior as well as significant resources and collaboration to speed joined up innovation from a range of stakeholders. It will also require a change in perception, seeing plastic packaging as an asset rather than trash, and a market framework to manage the assets. This, the authors argue, could be based on “crypto-credits or blockchain tokens”. The technology is being developed. Plastic Bank, a Canadian company, has established schemes in a number of developing and emerging countries that enable people to drop plastic waste at a collection center in exchange for credits on a blockchain-based app. Dutch start-up Circularise has developed a blockchain platform to accurately price recycled material and identify how many time it has been recycled. Enabling technologies like RFID and NTFS will be important to help trace materials through their journeys, and blockchain can provide a way to create a “material passport” that tracks the journey and stores information about the material. The limiting factor at the moment is the current “near-zero value” of plastic packaging, which could be addressed, for example, by adopting something like the deposit-return scheme model, adding a small surcharge to the price of a product, to be redeemed when the packaging is returned[Image Credit: © pasja1000 from Pixabay]
Michael Peshkam, INSEAD Executive in Residence, and David Dubois, INSEAD Associate Professor of Marketing , "How Blockchain Can Win the War Against Plastic Waste", INSEAD Knowledge, July 24, 2019, © INSEAD Knowledge
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