How is Plastic Waste in Africa Getting Impacted by Blockchain Technology? 

An Overview: African Plastic Waste Crisis

The last 30 governments in the continent have restricted their use, with Kenya levying the world’s strictest ban on plastic bags in 2017. Africa has been facing severe flooding, and one of the reasons is the blocking of drainage pipes caused by plastic bags.

Every year, more than 15 million tonnes of plastic waste make their way into the Indian Ocean, spoiling and even bringing to extinction marine life. The biggest culprit economies by plastic pollution are developing and the low-income countries, as their recycling systems generally have low capacity.

With a minor tweak of the 21st-Century technology, however, packaging companies can develop intelligent packaging methods that dive into plastic waste management, sorting, and collection issues, promote circularity, and reduce the carbon footprint of their packaging.

To refrain from plastic waste generation and tackle plastic trash collection problems, businesses are employing intelligent packaging solutions, such as:

  • RFID AND NFC tags 
  • QR codes and barcodes
  • Sensors and indicators

How is blockchain technology helping resolve this issue? 

Modern technologies are being conceived to support every plastic waste management procedure stage, from asset generation and appraisal to transfer and exchange.

Companies are installing a plastic bank in emerging economies that reward consumers who collect waste through a blockchain-based system to improve plastic waste collection and recycling.

These consumers can fetch their plastic packaging waste to collection centers and get credits on their blockchain, which can further be accessed via smart contracts or mobile devices.

Blockchain technology restricts individuals from performing double payments; furthermore, consumers are also rewarded solely on the amount of waste they fetch, enabling it to be viewed as an asset with apparent monetary, social, and ecological worth.

Moreover, Africa is developing steps toward intelligent packaging. For example, a Nigerian company, Chekkit Technologies, has adopted blockchain technology in packaging where customers can verify purchased products by scanning barcodes in the packages or using USSD for confirmation.

In the case of plastics, it generates information on recycled components to brand owners by utilizing both the Circularise system and a tracer developer by a third party. Lastly, a plastic recycling company in Norway – Empower, uses blockchain tokens to encourage donation-based recycling. They pledge to clean up an equal amount of plastic garbage by weight for every Euro an organization provides.

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