In 2023, Tesco, a leading multinational supermarket, and Keep Sea Blue, an international non-profit, unveiled an innovative project powered by blockchain technology to reduce plastic pollution. With this collaboration, Tesco’s project aims to use discarded plastic collected from at-risk coastal areas for fresh fish packaging, with an immediate goal of incorporating at least 30% Recycled Coastal Plastic into the packaging for salmon, haddock, cod, and sea bass. This initiative is expected to annually remove about 500 metric tonnes of plastic from the environment and significantly reduce the need for ‘virgin plastic.’. The plastic is sourced through a transparent, traceable process certified by their partner Keep Sea Blue, involving a network of collectors and recycling operations across the Mediterranean.
Indeed, a custom blockchain solution ensures transparency and traceability, confirming that the recycled plastics are authentically sourced from clean-up efforts. This initiative marks a significant step in sustainable retail, integrating environmental protection into packaging, beginning with Tesco’s fresh fish products. The expected result is an important reduction in plastic pollution and a shift towards more sustainable packaging practices.
Importance of Reducing Plastic Packaging:
Nowadays, it is more than urgent to reduce plastic usage. Indeed, some alarming statistics show the importance of recycling and reducing waste: global plastic production has surged from 2 million tonnes in 1950 to over 450 million tonnes, significantly impacting the environment when mismanaged. Approximately 350 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated yearly, with 0.5% ending up in oceans, contributing to a crisis affecting wildlife and ecosystems. Furthermore, the recycling rate for plastic waste is very low at just 9%, with half of the world’s plastic waste going to landfills and an important portion not being managed properly, increasing the risk of pollution in water sources (sea, river etc..)
How can blockchain promote sustainable recycling?
Due to its intrinsic properties, blockchain brings transparency, immutability and traceability, key characterics that are crucial for enhancing the process of recycling and other environmental initiatives like Tesco’s plastic recycling project. By providing a tamper-proof, auditable ledger, blockchain ensures that every piece of recycled plastic is verifiably sourced from clean-up efforts. This transparency not only bolsters consumer trust in the sustainability of products but also sets a standard for other companies to adopt environmentally responsible practices, fostering a more sustainable and ethical approach to managing and reducing plastic waste in the retail industry.