Data-driven 'Plastics Cloud' launched to combat plastics waste

Software firm SAP UKI has unveiled plans to collect live data from supply chains as part of a "Plastics Cloud" pilot aimed at improving plastics purchasing and recycling.

The cloud platform will use supply chain data to forecast future trends related to plastics use

The cloud platform will use supply chain data to forecast future trends related to plastics use

SAP will use machine learning to forecast trends in the purchasing and recycling of plastics. The Plastics Cloud platform stems from confusion amongst corporates and consumers as to what types of plastics can be recycled and will enable users to reduce their plastic waste output by highlighting demand for certain types of plastic. 

“At SAP, we believe that companies have the power to create life-changing innovation and we’re committed to helping achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” SAP’s UK managing director, Jens Amail, said.

“The Plastics Cloud is part of that commitment. We need to find a better way to use data. There’s so much information being generated within the plastics supply chain but there’s no single source of access for that information. We hope the Plastics Cloud will serve as another piece of the puzzle to solving the problem of plastic waste.”

Created in collaboration with London-based Design Thinkers Academy, the cloud platform will be backed by businesses that are committed to reducing single-use plastic waste. According to research from Sky, plastic now accounts for 95% of the rubbish in our oceans.

SAP additionally claims that the data can be shared with consumers to help them measure, understand and act on their own plastics impact.

UK Plastics Pact

To drive awareness of the Plastics Cloud, SAP has announced its membership to WRAP's UK Plastics Pact. Major firms including Nestlé, Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Unilever have all committed to the Pact, which calls on members to ensure the recyclability of their packaging and make unnecessary single-use plastic packaging "a thing of the past".

WRAP’s chief executive, Marcus Gover, added: “We are delighted to have SAP sign up to The UK Plastics Pact. As the first technology business to become a member and through its Plastics Cloud, SAP is helping us drive innovative thinking to reduce plastic waste within the packaging sector by 2025 – a key goal for the Pact.”

The Plastics Cloud is the latest technological innovation designed to eliminate plastics waste. The Plastic-Offset Scheme, for example, was launched last year as uses blockchain technology to purchase tokens that offset the amount of plastic consumed by an organisation or individual.

Elsewhere, Unilever has agreed to a partnership to develop technology capable of converting PET plastic waste into virgin-grade materials available for use in food packaging, while Dell is spearheading a global initiative to combat ocean plastics.

Matt Mace


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