This year, people all over the world have already dumped over 1 billion tonnes of waste and emitted 16 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. We have just 35 years to the end of oil and 29 years to the left of seafood. All these impressive facts show how much work remains to be done in the environmental protection. We need groundbreaking ideas to make visible changes quickly and properly. Blockchain can be a new step in managing processes in our fight against climate change.

Less greenhouse gases, more clean energy

During the UN Climate Change Conference, a lot of attention was paid to the blockchain. It is a distributed database and regularly verified by its users, so can guarantee solid protection for data. All information in the blockchain is kept on the multiple servers or blocks, and it is impossible to change information in one block without others. Thus, the system can be used by different parties, but it is strongly protected. All these benefits make blockchain very useful in climate change tackling. Where can we apply it? Within the conference, experts suggested using blockchain as a base for trading waste quotas. This system can be similar to EU Emissions Trading System - world’s first and major carbon market. The blockchain is able to make the process more transparent for different parties and structure trading data. This information will help to analyze waste quotas and find a way to minimize them. For example, IBM and Energy Blockchain Lab are working on a platform for carbon assets trading in China. This blockchain-based platform must build a nationwide carbon market and reduce quota issuing on carbon emissions. Some figures to understand the world’s problem with energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (in billion metric tons)
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Talking about green power, today we can see positive changes. For example, generation of solar power in the US increased in 5 times during the last five years. The main difficulties for renewable-energy producers are in the certification process. Іndependent auditors must certificate electricity as ‘green’. Then a producer can sell Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to clients that want to use clean energy. In a grid, it is impossible to separate green electricity from conventional. Thus, only a certificate can prove your company is using renewable power, as, for example, Apple and Google do. Certificates can be sold separately from the energy. Sometimes companies are using them as a tool for supporting green electricity producers. But in comparing to CO2e-Reduction certificates, RECs cannot be traded between some countries. Also, this certification system plays against small producers of clean energy with its cost and inconvenience. 
With blockchain, we able to avoid some energy trading drawbacks. The system can simplify certification processes and make small trades possible. Energy producers will get a chance to set their own prices despite large corporations and other market players. Experts say blockchain can put green power in the hands of the consumers. And we already have an interesting example. Australia-based company PowerLedger uses blockchain for peer-to-peer trades and makes possible energy exchange even between neighbors. Power Ledger Co-Founder, David Martin said, the system cutting both cost and carbon. The company have already succeeded in Australia and started launching in the US.

Plastic and food waste

What is the world’s current waste problem and is it really argent? According to The Guardian, we produce a million plastic bottles in a minute. With this temps an annual number of bottles will be half a trillion by the end of the decade. It is not just a huge number; it is tonnes of waste that we still do not able to recycle. For example, only 7% of over 500 billions of Pet bottles were recycled in 2016. Disposal of waste worldwide, 2018
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Of course, to deal with this problem we need to explore the full lifecycle of waste. But talking about existing waste, there are some points when we can use blockchain, too. The Netherlands, as an example, is working on a new European Waste Transportation, based on blockchain technology. Currently, thousands of waste-carrying trucks in EU have to be checked and coordinated manually. Netherlands’ Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), the supervisor of waste transportation in EU, is going to automate this process. Blockchain system will guarantee real-time control for all government bodies and companies. Also, it can free up human resources for more challenging tasks. In Canada, Plastic Bank was founded to fight waste problem in developing countries - the Philippines, Peru, Colombia, and Haiti so far. People, who bring plastic waste to program’s recycling centers, get blockchain-secured digital tokens. They can be used for buying food in stores via the Plastic Bank mobile application. Recycling companies can buy collected waste and track all trades with help of blockchain transparency.
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Photo - Forbes, The Plastic Bank
French railways came up with another idea of using blockchain. Only central station in Lion produces over 350 tonnes of waste per year. All trash around the country’s stations is sorting by six companies, and the process traditionally chaotic. The new system will have a block for every station. There will be data about the quantity of each type of waste that can update in the real-time mode. In a pilot, the project saved almost €2,000 in one month for one station. There is an urgent situation with a food waste, too. The US, for example, throws away 133 billion pounds of food every year. The Natural Resources Defense Council asserts, the country spends over $200 billion dollars every year on transportation and utilizing food waste. Goodr, Atlanta based service, made an interesting offer to food businesses. They created a mobile application for sending leftovers to the local charities. Blockchain system keeps information about trades and shows businesses how much food they are wasting. Companies can see which kind of food gets wasted the most and make appropriate conclusions. Charities receive all gathered food for free.

As we can see, blockchain technology went far beyond cryptocurrencies. Its benefits have already proved themselves in many ways. Blockchain improves finance sphere, environmental protection, helps scientists in DNA researches, and even in space exploration. Where it can also be used? It is time to find out. Have a groundbreaking idea about blockchain? Ralabs will help to realize it ;) Want to know more? Check our latest blockchain work.