Dow Polyurethanes, a business division of Dow, has launched a blockchain pilot project to test the technology’s suitability for supporting flexible foam circularity. The pilot uses a blockchain platform developed by ChemChain to transfer verified product information securely within the RENUVA mattress recycling programme.

“What if we could ensure transparency in a circular product without compromising confidentiality? Our engagement with recyclers and customers on circular solutions has led us to pose this crucial question. Ensuring that the necessary compositional information can be shared at every step in the value chain is critical to enable circularity at the end of product life,” says Jihane Ball, director of global product safety and compliance at Dow. “Through our pilot, we are testing the transfer of product information in a controlled way and applying it to the RENUVA mattress recycling programme.”

According to Dow, existing chemical industry information exchange systems are unable to meet the demands for prompt responses, consistency, disclosure of information about formulations, and trust along the entire supply chain. The advent of circular products is driving the need for efficient and reliable information sharing along the supply chain, and blockchain technology can speed up information exchange, providing quick access to verified data on a need-to-know basis, while enabling traceability.

Using the ChemChain platform developed for the chemical industry, Dow will generate digital assets containing key-encrypted information on the chemical composition of its solutions. These assets can be integrated into the final polyurethane-based products, ensuring contents can be identified at every stage in a product's lifecycle. Recyclers can then easily access this information and identify the most appropriate action for the disposal or recycling of end-of-life mattresses.

ChemChain is a blockchain platform designed for use by the chemical industry to transfer information on chemicals in products along the value chain, from chemical manufacturers to consumers, recyclers, and waste operators. The platform is the result of the ChemChain European project.

The RENUVA mattress recycling programme is part of Dow’s RENUVA circular economy programme, which aims to advance the recycling of end-of-life polyurethane products in collaboration with the value chain.