Eastman Chemical Co. is working with technology firm SAP SE on a project that would allow certified recycled content to be traced across the value chain.
GreenToken by SAP uses blockchain technology to provide visibility through the value chain of sustainable products, such as the specialty plastics made with Eastman's molecular recycling technologies.
Through data transparency enabled by blockchain, the platform is designed to give brands and consumers traceable information of sustainable attributes of products, officials with Eastman in Kingsport, Tenn., said in a news release. That includes products' percentage of certified recycled content.
"Our objective is to help innovate a solution for the industry," Chief Information Officer and Vice President Aldo Noseda added. "Through this collaboration, we will work with industry leaders, value chains and brands to build traceability of sustainable products from origin to consumers."
Officials with both firms realized during initial discussions that the new technology can be an important enabler of the circular economy.
"The ability to provide brands with auditable proof that their products have been made with waste plastic recycled through molecular recycling can be a turning point for the circular economy," GreenToken co-founder James Veale said.
"Teaming up with Eastman, we aim to offer transparency across the supply chain so customers and consumers can choose more sustainable products," he added.
Eastman has commercialized two molecular recycling technologies that produce Eastman Renew materials already adopted by leading brands. Eastman's processes are certified and audited under International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) standards, officials said, so the GreenToken solution "will bring an extra layer of transparency to Eastman's circular solutions."
In January, Eastman announced plans to build what officials said will be one of the world's largest plastics-to-plastics chemical recycling facilities, which Eastman calls molecular recycling. Construction was set to begin by the middle of 2021 in Kingsport. Mechanical completion is expected to be done by the end of 2022.
Eastman will spend a total of $250 million on the recycling project in 2021-22. The plant will be able to use low-quality and low-cost feedstocks, with the product mix upgraded over time. The completed project then will be able to produce 330 million to 440 million pounds of polymers per year.
A company spokesperson told Plastics News that Eastman “is on track and making progress” with construction of the molecular recycling facility. The spokesperson added that Eastman is performing site preparation construction — including grading, installing underground piping and electrical work — with heavier construction scheduled next.
SAP, which based in Walldorf, Germany, is a market leader in business software. The firm employs more than 100,000 worldwide and posted sales of more than $32 billion in 2020.
Eastman makes Tritan-brand copolyester, as well as other specialty plastics and chemicals. The firm employs 14,500 worldwide and posted sales of $8.5 billion in 2020.