IBM Japan, Mitsui Chemicals and Nomura Research Institute have announced a new consortium to explore how blockchain technology can be used to create better plastic recycling methods, according to a press release from the NRI.

Fast facts

  • Making new plastics from recycled plastics is an exact process that requires knowing the specific chemical makeup of the materials being recycled. But due to current waste management methods, this is difficult to achieve. A partnership between IBM and Mitsui had existed since April to address this issue by building a blockchain platform to trace materials.
  • The Nomura Research Institute recently joined the consortium to accelerate and expand this operation. The consortium aims to promote correct recycling methods based on traceability and build an incentive system for the public and companies to contribute to recycling efforts.
  • According to the World Economic Forum, only 14-18% of the 400 million tons of plastics created each year are recycled.
  • “NRI aims to solve social challenges through co-creation with a diverse range of partners. This consortium will feature Mitsui Chemicals, a key stakeholder for a recycling society, and IBM, a company that retains vital technologies for achieving our goal,” said Hirofumi Tatematsu, a senior executive managing director of Nomura Research Institute, in a statement. “We welcome more partners to join in and engage in co-creation.”
  • IBM Japan announced another partnership with Mitsubishi yesterday which aims to use blockchain to track and capture the usage of carbon dioxide, or CO2 — the production of which is contributing to global warming. Mitsubishi will be in charge of the physical infrastructure needed for the capture, while IBM will handle the digital infrastructure of the project, according to IBM.