SK Geo Centric has introduced Korea’s first platform utilizing “blockchain technology” for recording and tracking the history of recycled plastic materials. By leveraging the tamper-proof nature of blockchain, it aims to ensure that customers can rest assured when using recycled plastic materials and expand the materials’ range of use.
The recently launched history-management platform for recycled plastic materials by SK Geo Centric records and manages all processes, from the collection of waste plastics to their recycling and transformation into new products, using blockchain technology. Blockchain is a distributed data storage technology where the “blocks” containing data are replicated and stored on multiple computers, and linked like a “chain” to compare and verify each other’s authenticity. It is impossible to forge or alter the data without permission. Therefore, it is being used to increase trust in fields such as cryptocurrencies and financial certifications.
Recycling of waste plastic is gaining the limelight as an alternative solution to environmental pollution, but there are also some doubts about the source and safety of collected waste plastics. In addition, manufacturing companies want to confirm whether the components of parts using recycled materials are suitable for production. Such needs require more advanced information than what the existing “ISCC PLUS certification” provides. SK Geo Centric has identified these concerns from client companies and consumers while promoting its plastic recycling business. As a result, it introduced the history-management platform to address these concerns.
The history-management platform records all processes, from securing waste plastics to recycling them into materials, and finally producing the complete product. Intermediate producers and consumers can scan the QR code attached to the product with their smartphones to check the entire recycling history of plastics used for the product. The recycled plastic history information includes the types and sources of the waste plastics used as raw materials, as well as the proportions of each material used to make a new product. Similarly, detailed information needed by intermediate producers, such as the quality grade of a material, is also included. Therefore, the history-management platform can ease the difficulty of getting through the certification process regarding the suitability of recycled materials and reduce the cost required for the process.
The history information of recycled plastic, which can be checked by scanning the QR code, is verified through a non-fungible token (NFT) to confirm its authenticity, and the information can be shared with stakeholders, such as material purchasers, via emails. This platform paves the way to produce products using recycled plastic materials and provide objective proof of those products to customers.
SK Geo Centric expects that systematic history management will enhance the trust in the plastic recycling process and help expand related industries because it can stimulate the market for high-quality waste plastics that are suitable for recycling and harmless to the human body. Moreover, it is also possible to efficiently allocate resources to industrial sites by identifying the demand and quality conditions by material in the plastic recycling market in real-time.
SK Geo Centric plans to start construction of the world’s first integrated plastic recycling complex, the “Ulsan ARC (Advanced Recycle Cluster),” in the second half of this year. The company expects the volume of recycled plastic materials distributed in the market is expected to increase once the complex fully operates. Consequently, it also anticipates that the number of stakeholders in the market seeking material histories will grow.
Na Kyung-soo, CEO of SK Geo Centric, said, “We began establishing the history management platform as we were aware that trust from stakeholders in the market was absolutely necessary for plastic recycling to spread.” He added, “We will continue to systematically develop related systems so that customers can trust and use recycled plastic materials that are safer and of higher quality.”