by Cindy Huynh
IBM aired a TV Commercial during an NFL match on September 17, 2018, called Plastic Bank, a new initiative which aims to tackle ocean plastic and global poverty with blockchain technology. The Plastic Bank is backed by IBM Technology which uses the LinuxOne blockchain to encourage entrepreneurs from the world’s most impoverished communities to clean up plastic in exchange for digital credits.
Collect Plastic Waste and Earn Rewards
With eight million metric tons of plastic dumped into our oceans every year, scientists predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic waste than fish. The Plastic Bank, a social enterprise founded in May 2013 has decided to tackle plastic waste in oceans head-on. They’ve partnered with IBM and the Cognition Foundry to clean up the ocean while lifting millions in underdeveloped countries out of poverty.
“I realized we had to challenge our perception of plastic, and make it too valuable a commodity to simply throw away into a river or stream,” said David Katz the founder and CEO of The Plastic Bank.
“At the Plastic Bank, we encourage citizens to collect plastic waste and deliver it to our local processing centers.”
Katz added that in exchange for the plastic, individuals can earn life-changing rewards like education for their kids, food, and mobile credits. As for the plastic, Plastic Bank grinds up the waste into pellets and re-sells this to manufacturers to be re-used as an ethically-sourced raw material.
IBM LinuxONE to Support Plans of Global Expansion
According to IBM’s Plastic Bank website, the organization initially relied on traditional record keeping approaches to track the transactions between the organization and the citizens supplying plastic to recycle. They, however, quickly realized that to scale the operations into a global platform, they “needed a high-performance IT system.”
The Plastic Bank decided to work with IBM’s blockchain technology delivered on a private cloud currently managed by Cognition Foundry. Blockchain technology is used to track the process of recycled plastic from the time of collection, the point of compensation, and delivered to other companies for reuse.
The Plastic Bank is also working with the Cognition Foundry to develop a blockchain-powered token rewards system. The rewards, exchange platform, and transparent tracking of plastic is an excellent way of incentivizing the collection of plastic and ensuring that more plastic does not become a part of the ocean.