Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Improving Waste Management Efficiency with Blockchain Technology.

User avatar of Dominik Nawracaj

Dominik Nawracaj

7 min read·15 Reads
Improving Waste Management Efficiency with Blockchain Technology.

Waste Management with Blockchain Technology.

Municipal waste management for many years has been a big challenge for the city administration, its authorities, and civilians.
To prevent the negative consequences of improper waste management (ecological, financial, economic, and social), optimum and long-term solutions must be developed.
As a consequence, it is critical to develop secure and transparent technologies for gathering and processing garbage-collecting data. This avoids neglect while also enabling tracking, billing, and process improvement. The goal is to guarantee that every empty trash container and garbage truck is correctly weighed, examined, and recorded, and that their contents are only sent to waste management facilities that satisfy the highest standards. So that residents only pay for the garbage they produce and are rewarded for proper segregation. So that towns have data and may reach suitable agreements with the corporations that serve them.
Until just recently, blockchain in waste management was regarded as an abstract concept. Meanwhile, as current technologies advance, it is becoming a reality, elevating this field of action.
However, without new solutions, it is hard to accomplish the desired results for the entire society. Among the aims are achieving adequate levels of recycling and enhancing the overall efficiency of the garbage collection operation. Blockchain technology is also being employed in software used by municipal agencies and independent garbage providers.
What advantages will blockchain technology bring to that branch?

  • More transparency throughout the process: when researching the use of blockchain in waste management, it is important to consider how trash disposal should be handled. The applicable legislation requires transparency, which is demonstrated in systems such as the Waste Database. The combination of digital software and blockchain facilitates this process by recording all information about individual waste cycle participants in real-time. This allows you to precisely document what is occurring with garbage at any given time.

The blockchain allows for the recording and transfer of resource and waste streams, providing a record of trash origin. This provenance may be used to validate that garbage was transferred or discarded, as well as to identify the organization or individual who is accountable for it. For example, ownership of waste W can be transferred from company O to person I and documented on the blockchain using their digital identities. If this is also the final blockchain record containing W, we may conclude that I am liable for the waste, as accountability passes with ownership.

  • Waste collection automation: The waste problem is critical, particularly for major trash producers and organizations with several branches. In the latter's case, garbage collection is a significant cost driver. Blockchain in trash management provides control over the expenditures associated with each garbage pickup. Several companies work on software that is also coupled with container fill sensors, and the system alerts users to any overflows.

Automating garbage collection by placing fill sensors in containers not only improves efficiency but also lowers expenses. Blockchain software allows you to monitor on an ongoing basis how much empty space a client of a certain firm has in their trash container. To ensure accurate statistics, information regarding the requirement to come for garbage pickup is transmitted over the blockchain.

  • Customer verification is another use for blockchain technology. The "smart contract" can check the garbage collection contract's authenticity. This decreases the possibility of mistakes while servicing a specific recipient, as well as needless expenses.

This database allows for the identification of future waste applications, such as who has accessible wastes for the establishment of new markets where they are reused, recycled, and recovered (for example, to shift toward circular economies). Such blockchain records are certainly valuable for auditing resources and waste streams (which may help with regulatory compliance), but they rely on several assumptions.

Limitations and obstacles.
There are several restrictions on using blockchains in general, as well as for specific waste management applications. In contrast to reward facilitation, which only requires the waste to be checked once (for example, the Plastic Bank checks the plastic waste received once at the collection location before making a payment), recording the waste chain necessitates the identification of an individual or group of waste items multiple times at defined life-cycle stages.
Physical items may be kept on the blockchain using their digital identities in both applications, but creating solid digital IDs is difficult, especially when they are required throughout a resource's life cycle. For example, QR codes and RFID tags are only reliable if they can be read, which is not assured when garbage is broken up. This is especially problematic with polymers that degrade into microplastics.
Similarly, it becomes impossible to combine waste streams while maintaining separate waste component identities. In practice, certain assumptions and constraints can aid in overcoming these issues. For example, material waste from an industrial process may be managed in batches, charged per ton from the start, and then recorded on the blockchain with a digital identity for the batch rather than individual bits. These impediments have also been highlighted as significant for supply chain management.
Most of all, the data placed on the blockchain must be accurate. While blockchain data cannot be altered, inaccurate data may surface in new blocks. Furthermore, because blockchain data cannot be updated, improper additions cannot be readily corrected. It is consequently critical to establish strong methods for documenting transactions, such as automating the process by utilizing complementary technologies (e.g., via RFID) or requiring digital signatures from all parties engaged in a transaction.
In addition, it does not assist in determining who in a chain of ownership has (financial, legal, physical, etc.) responsibility for any waste. Laws and rules may specify the sort of obligation and whether it transfers with ownership, but there are still unreliable areas.

The above-mentioned examples show several basic difficulties that must be addressed before blockchain technology applications in the trash industry may have the intended impact on assisting sustainable waste management.
No doubt, more study is needed to properly characterize the problem before assessing potential policy or technology solutions in terms of economic, environmental, and social efficacy and efficiency. Regardless, the usage of blockchain is frequently regarded as a good element, and it may help draw attention when seeking finance for a project. It is also considered by many companies in the waste management sector.


To make Blogical work, we log user data. By using Blogical, you agree to our Privacy Policy, including the cookie policy.