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VeChain and New Scientist Team Up for a Greener Tomorrow, Aiming to Recycle 353 Million Tons of Plastic

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    • The issue of global plastic pollution is being tackled with blockchain technology, focusing on transparency and efficiency in waste management.
    • VeChain, a foundation specializing in blockchain-based tracing and certification solutions, is at the forefront of this initiative, harnessing the potential of technology to incentivize sustainable practices among producers and consumers.

In recent years, the world has been increasingly grappling with the plastic pollution crisis. Against this backdrop, technology, particularly blockchain, is now stepping up to the plate. Renowned for its transparency, blockchain offers a groundbreaking way to combat plastic pollution.

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One such organization leading this charge is VeChain, a foundation specializing in providing technological solutions for tracking and certifications. VeChain is proving that blockchain can encourage sustainability among manufacturers and consumers.

Just days ago, negotiations were underway at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris among 175 nations aimed at battling plastic pollution. The discourse aimed to spur institutional action and establish a legally binding international treaty to effectively manage the lifecycle of packaging.

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French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna expressed concern that plastic waste could soon outweigh aquatic life, highlighting the severity of the situation. This sentiment is echoed by Inger Andersen, head of the United Nations Environment Programme, who pinpointed the extensive use of plastic due to its cheap economic cost, which starkly contrasts its high environmental toll.

World Environment Day this year is dedicated to this very cause, rallying governments, institutions, businesses, and stakeholders to tackle plastic pollution. Derived mostly from fossil fuels, plastic has moved beyond being a waste management issue. According to António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, it has morphed into a problem concerning the climate, nature, and health.

OECD data reveals that out of 460 million tons of plastic produced globally in 2019, a mere 9% gets recycled. Around 19% is incinerated while about 50% ends up in controlled landfills. The remaining 22% is dumped in unauthorized landfills, openly burned, or littered. Plastic makes up a staggering 85% of total marine waste, disrupting complex ecosystems, decimating fish populations, destroying coral reefs, and speeding up climate change.

Modern technology can come to our rescue, with solutions such as 3D printing. When properly recycled, almost all types of plastic can be cleaned, shredded, dried, and turned into raw material for 3D printers. Not only are filaments made from recycled plastic more cost-effective in terms of energy used for their production, but they also retain most of the virgin plastic’s qualities, enabling the printing of objects at a thousand times lesser cost than using commercial polymeric filaments.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can optimize supply chains to reduce costs. Predictive analysis can provide better insight into demand fluctuations, helping companies avoid overproduction and use only the amount of plastic they need, thus generating less waste. Scientists have recently used machine learning to create an enzyme that breaks down PET plastic into its chemical components in less than 24 hours. Companies can transform these components into new materials, preventing wastage.

VeChain’s high-energy-efficient blockchain platform dedicated to sustainability comes into play in these waste collection, water cleaning, recycling, and disposal initiatives. VeChain has implemented this technology to trace and validate the outcomes of the ReSea project, a Danish initiative that removed 305 tons of plastic waste from the ocean.

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Jack Williams
Jack Williams
As a Blockchain Analyst, I specialize in analyzing the performance of decentralized systems and optimizing their efficiency. Through data analysis, I provide insights on blockchain technology, smart contracts, and cryptocurrencies to help businesses make informed decisions and improve their operations.
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