Like the lingering bit of advice from 1967’s “The Graduate,” plastics as a field of opportunity is being reimagined for the blockchain age. But this time, it’s for plastics recycling. 

Blockchains are proving extremely useful for tracking materials across all sorts of supply chains and creating transparent and immutable audit trails. Meanwhile, governments around the world are issuing legislation requiring retailers and plastics producers to show they are meeting minimum levels of recycling, requirements that are likely to intensify going forward.

That’s where a handful of blockchain startups see opportunity, by connecting major refining companies with new types of plastics recycling in a bid to reinvent current supply chains. Blockchain’s appeal here: measuring action and demonstrating it to the public.

Currently, only rigid plastics that go into things like bottles are mechanically recycled into lower-grade plastics, a process that can be repeated twice at the most. But a combination of clever industrial technologies is set to make plastics recycling more sophisticated over the next few years, returning the chemically altered raw materials back into the manufacturing…

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Author: Ian Allison


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