As the benefits of using blockchain technology to address various sustainable supply chain issues become increasingly apparent, the technology is being explored by a growing number of companies in the plastics industry to develop solutions for plastics traceability and circularity. The latest announcement in this regard comes from Dow Polyurethanes, a business division of Dow, which has launched a blockchain pilot project to test the technology’s suitability for supporting flexible foam circularity.
The pilot uses a blockchain platform developed by ChemChain to transfer verified product information securely within Dow’s Renuva mattress recycling programme. The programme is part of Dow’s Renuva’s circular economy programme, which the company established to advance the recycling of end-of-life polyurethane products in collaboration with the value chain.
“What if we could ensure transparency in a circular product without compromising confidentiality? Our engagement with recyclers and customers on circular solutions has led us to pose this crucial question. Ensuring that the necessary compositional information can be shared at every step in the value chain is critical to enable circularity at the end of product life”, said Jihane Ball, director of global product safety and compliance at Dow. “Through our pilot, we are testing the transfer of product information in a controlled way and applying it to the Renuva mattress recycling program.”
The advent of circular products is driving the need for efficient and reliable information sharing along the supply chain. Full traceability enables full circularity by making it easier for suppliers, processors, manufacturers, moulders and brand owners to choose traceable, sustainable and circular materials and products. Yet full traceability is precisely what existing chemical industry information exchange systems are unable provide.
Blockchain technology can speed up information exchange, providing quick access to verified data on a need-to-know basis, and enable traceability. Only selected and trusted parties in the supply chain access the information, which is critical to ensure confidentiality.
ChemChain is a blockchain platform designed for use by the chemical industry to create a trusted, decentralized, and globally accepted open-source blockchain infrastructure to store, exchange, build and track chemical-related information along the supply chain: from feedstock producer to end consumers, recyclers, and waste operators. The platform is the result of the ChemChain European project.
The ChemChain platform allows product manufacturers to embed and control information in their products. Dow will use this to generate digital assets containing key encrypted information on the chemical composition of its solutions. These assets can be integrated into the final polyurethane-based products ensuring contents can be identified at every stage in a products’ lifecycle. Recyclers can then easily access this information and identify the most appropriate action for the disposal or recycling of end-of-life mattresses.