SGreen Initiative (BC-02)

What is SGreen Initiative?

Example of misuse of blue recycling bin
taken on 28/7/2020, 1700hrs

We aim to both improve the rate of plastic recycling in domestic households and improve the cleanliness of plastic waste, so as to reduce the presence of contaminants.

To achieve this, we will use blockchain as a basis for a green token economy to incentivize recycling. We will also use smart recycling bins (“SRBs”) that can screen and sort plastic waste to improve the efficiency of the recycling process. We eventually want to replace the blue recycling bins (see picture), which people misuse by throwing non-recyclables in them.

Through this, we aim to reduce our impact on the environment and aid in fighting climate change.

Our Vision and Mission

Vision: A green token economy where every Singaporean has a role to play in the sustainable use of plastics.

Mission: To encourage recycling, incorporate accountability and increase efficiency in Singapore’s plastic recycling industry through the use of SmartMesh technology.

Who are we?

Bio: Jeremy Koo, 25, NUS Law

Hobbies/Interests: Water polo, singing, pro-bono

Future Aspirations: Serving causes that reduce income inequality and combat climate change

Bio: Ronnie Gao, 24, NTU Business

Hobbies/Interests: Piano, dance, calisthenics

Future Aspirations: To be a management consultant and help businesses expand and be strategically efficient

Bio: Zhang Cheng, 24, NUS Computer Science

Hobbies/Interests: Football, basketball, singing

Future Aspirations: To be a successful software engineer and be at the forefront of technological disruption

Why plastic? What about other materials?

In terms of recyclable materials, plastic is one of the most commonly used, and yet it is recycled at far lower rates at other materials.

These are some statistics showing just how far away we are from recycling plastic sufficiently.

Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to greater plastic use, such as in item packaging, worsening the problem.

Who is involved in the recycling effort?

Our project targets 3 main stakeholders: consumers, recycling companies, and the government.

Consumers: To increase consumers’ recycling rate, and to clean the plastic they recycle so that the recycling process can be more efficient.

Recycling companies: To lower their financial and environmental costs on sorting & chemically cleaning the plastics.

Government: To help improve their monitoring of recycling efforts within the ecosystem. Currently, the monitoring process of recycling is inefficient because government officials have to conduct manual checks at recycling plants.

How will we employ SmartMesh technology in our solution?

In terms of hardware, we propose a smart recycling bin (“SRB”) which integrates MeshBox and IoT capabilities.

The SRB ensures that no foreign waste is thrown inside through identity verification to open the bin, and the use of IoT sensors and ML learning to detect the contents thrown inside.

Plastics are also sorted internally so that the sorting process in recycling plants will be more efficient.

When SRBs are in wider use, sensors to track the volume of the bin will also be introduced, which will enable users to be informed if nearby bins are full.

In terms of software, we will be using the Spectrum blockchain to create a green token ecosystem involving the government, users, and eventually, recycling intermediaries.

This diagram shows the flow of green tokens from the government to people who recycle via the SRBs.

The Mesh network (via the MeshBoxes attached to the SRBs) allows for tokens and information to be transferred efficiently.

The Photon channels are a secondary layer to the Spectrum blockchain, which allows user data to be stored at fixed intervals (e.g. total plastic recycled per month), instead of storing every single transaction, and this helps reduce the blockchain space required.

This is how intermediaries will collect the plastic and send it through the recycling supply chain. This will be introduced in later phases when green token usage has picked up.

This demonstrates another use case for Photon in later phases when there are more SRBs in use. When SRBs are full, users can be notified and be redirected to other nearby SRBs that still have storage space.

Using plastic recycling as a basis for our green token economy, we want green tokens to be used on other green goods and services, creating a virtuous cycle that uplifts other eco-friendly initiatives.

This is a screenshot from our beta SGreen app, which illustrates how green tokens can be used to support other green practices. These can be carpooling, reducing food waste, bike-sharing, and many more!