Zhejiang marine waste scheme wins UN's top environmental award

Updated: Oct 31, 2023 By HOU LIQIANG China Daily Print
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An environmental initiative targeting marine plastic pollution in Zhejiang province was on Monday awarded the 2023 Champions of the Earth, the United Nations' highest environmental honor.

A city mayor, a non-profit foundation, a social enterprise and a research council also won the honor for their innovative solutions and transformative action to tackle plastic pollution, according to a media release from the UN Environment Programme.

A total of about 2,500 programs around the globe applied for the honor this year.

Blue Circle (China), honored in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, uses blockchain technology and the internet of things to track and monitor the full life cycle of plastic pollution — from collection to regeneration, re-manufacturing and re-sale.

As China's largest marine plastic waste program, the UNEP said the initiative has collected 10,700 metric tons of marine debris.

The initiative was rolled out in Taizhou, Zhejiang, in 2020. To date, the program has attracted the participation of 237 enterprises, 10,200 vessels and 61,800 people across Zhejiang, according to tianmunews.com, an online media platform of Zhejiang Daily.

With the use of an app, people can sell marine plastic they collect at a price higher than the market price. The raw materials made of these waste plastic will be authenticated, and then sold at higher prices.

According to a report from Xinhua News Agency last year, the price for a plastic water bottle, for instance, stands at 0.2 yuan (3 cents) under the initiative, compared with the regular market price of 0.03 yuan.

There are two-dimensional codes on each of the products produced with recycled plastic from the initiative. By scanning the code, people can easily get information about the people who collected the plastic waste that has been remanufactured, as well as when and where the waste was found.

Other available information includes the entire process from the transportation and storage of the waste plastic to re-manufacturing.

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