Blockchain start-up unveils plastic offset scheme

A technology start-up has launched a new initiative for companies and families to calculate and offset annual "plastic footprints" by purchasing credits that support global projects that tackle plastic pollution.

The Plastic-Offset Scheme was launched on Tuesday (14 November) by the Blockchain Development Company (BCDC), which has a UK-based management team. Through the scheme, businesses can purchase BCDC Tokens to offset the amount of plastic consumed. Token purchases will be recorded on an immutable blockchain platform, meaning that stakeholders can ensure the tokens are spent on worthwhile project solutions.

BCDC’s chief executive Gordon Cowan said: “We are currently in talks with numerous plastic pollution abatement projects around the world. To partner with and invest in them, ensuring true global plastic-offset.

“It is imperative we tackle the plastic problem head on and encourage all projects involved in fighting plastic pollution to contact us and join the BCDC Global Plastic-Offset Scheme. We believe our initiative is a fantastic way of combating this, and every purchase of a BCDC token will allow us to grow the scheme and fight the scourge of plastic pollution.”

Humans have produced 8.3bn tonnes of plastic since the 1950s, with the majority ending up in landfill. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation warns that the issue could deteriorate further, with the world’s oceans expected to contain more plastics than fish, by weight, by 2050.

BCDC is attempting to facilitate funding for new plastic solutions by mirroring a carbon offset scheme. While some carbon schemes struggle to verify how carbon credits are being spent, the use of blockchain for the plastic offset scheme will alleviate any concerns from those purchasing tokens. Acting as a digital ledger, blockchain creates a verifiable audit trail and because the “chain” can’t be modified it can immediately provide proof of purchase for any transaction.

Businesses can assess their plastic impact through an online portal. BCDC then offers that company offset tokens or currency from the country that the purchaser resides in to invest in projects. Currently, the tokens enable an individual to offset two years’ worth of plastic, compared to one year through cash.

The plastic offset scheme works with partners such as the Plastic Disclosure Project (PDP) to calculate and certify plastic purchases and consumption. PDP has previously worked with Thailand-based surfboard manufacturer Starboard to help the company understand and act on its waste footprint.

The BCDC platform will support projects that divert plastic away from landfill. Projects that can create a second-life for non-recyclable and hard to recycle plastics will also be prioritised. One such project backed by the scheme is RecycleToCoin, an app-based plastic collection schemes that partners with charities to offer consumers gift cards and incentives to trade in plastic bottles.

edie webinar: How to solve the plastics problem

The latest webinar masterclass series will take place on 7 December. The webinar brings together retailers, manufactures and circular economy experts to discuss how we can achieve a much-needed shift in mindsets to catalyse change in this material flow and rethink the global plastics economy.

To learn more about the event or register for the webinar, click here.

Matt Mace

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