Image by Dustan Woodhouse

Kamilo Plastic Waste Tracking

Innovate Creates a Plastic Material Chain of Custody Workflow for Kamilo
Executive Summary

Innovate is helping Kamilo’s data be transparent and verifiable by storing their data in a ledger database that provides a transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable transaction log. This blockchain-like data model ensures indisputable evidence that the plastic asset existed and is tracked to its final resting place. This is a unique solution because it merges GIS data with a blockchain-like data model.

The Subject

Kamilo’s company name is inspired by a visit to Kamilo Point on the Big Island of Hawaii, where co-founders Anna-Marie Cook and Bill Robberson were invited by the Hawaii Wildlife Fund. Kamilo Point is well known for being the southernmost point of the 50 U.S. states --- and for being the grounding-point of much of the plastic waste that circulates within the North Pacific Gyre’s ocean current.  At the shoreline, it’s a struggle to make sense of and contextualize the massive amounts of plastic piled on the beaches, in-between the black lava rocks and in the shoreline brush. Digging down into the brightly colored beach sand continues to reveal plastic at depth. Plastic confetti floats on the sea surface and washes into tidepools.   

 

While at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the co-founders studied the threats and impacts of ocean plastic pollution and microplastic particles on the ecosystem, the food chain and public health.  EPA’s first priority in a pollutant release is to contain and stop the source.  Faced with the mind-bending amounts of plastic waste washing-up on this desolate, uninhabited point of the Big Island, they realized that the culmination of all research would simply point to the need to stop the source of plastic pollution.

 

Kamilo’s need for multiple, technical solutions across supply chains to mitigate environmental plastic pollution led to their partnership with Innovate in 2021.

The Challenge

The presence of plastics in the world’s water systems is a critical environmental and health crisis. They cause pollution by entering natural ecosystems from a variety of sources, including cosmetics, clothing, and industrial processes. Compounding the threat of plastics is inefficiencies in current recycling practices. Our current model for recycling relies on consumers to recycle. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans generate more than 267 million tons of solid waste every year. In 2017, only 94.2 million tons (35%) of that waste was either recycled or composted and only 8% of discarded plastics were recycled that year.

The Solution

Kamilo, a Public Benefit Corporation dedicated to the reduction of global plastic waste, has partnered with Innovate to track the journey of plastic from waste to a recycled product. Kamilo ensures that the plastic they track is actually recycled/reused. Leveraging the power of geographic information system (GIS), Kamilo creates a verifiable link between plastic recovered and its actual reuse through global supply chain tracking. This model provides businesses that sell recyclable plastic (e.g., bottles) a way to guarantee that their plastic output is matched in recycled material via real-time geospatial verification of source and successful recovery. This innovative technology brings much-needed transparency and accountability to the global plastics supply chain and recycled plastics markets. 

 

Innovate is helping Kamilo’s data be transparent and verifiable by storing their data in a ledger database that provides a transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable transaction log. This blockchain-like data model ensures indisputable evidence that the plastic asset existed and is tracked to its final resting place. This is a unique solution because it merges GIS data with a blockchain-like data model. 

Innovate staff also customized and extended Esri’s Survey123 application to allow Bluetooth device scanning. When an end user is using this customized application, they can scan for Bluetooth devices within reach and capture their unique IDs. The use case is a Bluetooth device attached to an asset for chain of custody tracking. As that asset moves from place to place, it can be scanned via Bluetooth to identify it. The results are submitted to a database and mapped for viewing in the office.

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The Benefits

Offers businesses a way to take ownership of their plastic footprint in the environment and
deter plastics from entering the world’s water system. 

 

Kamilo’s innovative approach offers businesses a way to take ownership of their plastic footprint in the environment and deter plastics from entering the world’s water systems. As a green-focused company, Innovate is proud to be a partner in this effort.

Acknowledgements

Innovate! Inc. is passionate about working with mission-driven nonprofit companies. In keeping with our core value to love and value human beings, we develop partnerships, not projects. We help people solve business and technical problems in ways that benefit their own organization and the communities they serve. We have helped our clients expand their IT infrastructure, visualize data, and provided software development services to organizations such as Kamilo. Our consultants have a wide range of experience with database development, application development, visualization, cloud solution delivery, project management and performance measurement.