As climate-change initiatives make headlines nationwide, entrepreneurs and conservationists are combining blockchain technology with sustainability in Miami. Sea Sweepers Foundation
is an organization that wants to use the blockchain to create a sustainable supply chain and show clients the origin of their recycled plastic. It was founded one year ago and launched last quarter.
Simply put, a blockchain is a chain of information stored in a computer that can't be edited. It's closely associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions, but other industries have adopted its use. The blockchain's main draw is its ability to efficiently show the start and end of a process, allowing companies like Walmart and IBM
to use it for product tracking.
Sea Sweepers plans to use the blockchain to verify the authenticity of a recycled product. In other words: How do you know this "recycled" tote bag is really recycled? That's precisely the information Sea Sweepers intends to provide with its products.
Describing itself as a foundation that "hopes to create a sustainable supply chain that is collaborative and transparent to encourage a circular economy around upcycling ocean plastics," Sea Sweepers differs from other environmental services with its focus is on verification and tracking. According to its website, the foundation plans to document where the plastic was recycled, what nonprofit recycled it, and what manufacturer made the final product.
Sea Sweepers has a donation service where clients can donate products for credit toward its recycled products. Those transactions are also registered in the blockchain. The foundation currently offers custom-made swimsuits that can only be purchased via Coinbase. The swimsuit comes with an NFT of the swimsuit.
Sea Sweepers has partnered with Sage Larock, an ethically-sourced swimwear company by Taryn Sage Larock, a former model and Sea Sweepers cofounder. The foundation's other partner, HyperField, provides the blockchain needed for Sea Sweepers to function. Chief technology officer Naveen Sydney, described as one of blockchain's "initial pioneers," is also a project lead for Sea Sweepers. With other partners such as environmental conservation groups Sea Shepherd and Ocean Voyages Institute, it's easy to see why Sea Sweepers calls itself a "partnership between environmentally-minded businesses and passionate conservationists."
Sydney tells New Times
that although swimsuits are the only items currently available, other products using plastic pellets are planned to be announced.
"The pellets are also in high demand from the automotive industries. Any industries that use plastic will find the pellets useful, as the pellets, again, can be converted into almost any needed product," he explains. "Ghost Nets (nets left floating in the ocean), for example, can be retrieved and turned directly into fabrics as well. Once we move into the next phase, multi-plastic, regularly recycled plastics from the ocean will also be able to be turned into these same pellets, allowing for greater efficiency from Sea Sweepers."
Early this year, Sea Sweepers attended Blockchain 2022, a conference held in Miami focusing on crypto and blockchain technology. At the event, the foundation had a runway show that showcased some of the swimsuits it developed from recycled plastic.
Although Sea Sweepers has not started blockchain tracking just yet, Sydney is excited to see its impact.
"The goal is to make sure that every item is trackable and put down onto the blockchain so that consumers can see the genuinely positive impact that they are directly having by recycling products with us," he says. "It helps us build a circular economy while also, more importantly, helping to save the oceans."