Pilot Program Shows: How IOTA Can Help You Prepare For Digital Product Passports By 2027

IOTA

IOTA

IOTA Takes Center Stage in Piloting Digital Product Passports for Plastic Recycling.

The European Commission’s recent adoption of the Digital Product Passport (DPP) regulation marks a turning point for the European Green Deal. By 2027, this regulation will mandate many products to carry a unique digital passport, allowing for identification, tagging, and linking to data relevant to sustainability and circularity.

This innovation, similar to how Nutriscore and apps like Yuka empower consumers with informed choices about health, aims to do the same for environmental impact. Beyond empowering consumers, DPPs offer companies and governments a chance to reduce environmental footprints and promote a more circular economy.

Building on prior DPP pilot experience, a recent collaboration between IOTA and Digimarc, in conjunction with the EU Blockchain Pre-Commercial Procurement Project, delves deeper into the potential of this technology. This latest pilot focuses on upcycling agri-food waste and plastic.

The project leverages the IOTA distributed ledger, known for its secure and feeless transactions, to create a tamper-proof record of product information. This information is captured through a Digimarc digital twin, essentially an advanced digital watermark or dynamic QR code, within the Digimarc Illuminate platform.

Traceability is paramount in upcycling and recycling processes. Materials must be digitally traceable throughout their lifecycle to be efficiently processed. The Digimarc Illuminate platform captures this real-time product information, allowing its use for various applications, from handling instructions to recycling sorting and reporting.

The pilot highlights a key challenge: preventing unsubstantiated sustainability claims, often referred to as “greenwashing.” The DPP framework tackles this through a well-defined trust layer. This pilot experimented with Decentralized Identities (DIDs) and Verifiable Credentials (VCs). These essentially allow for the signing claims with verifiable signatures, ensuring only authorized parties can do so.

The pilot involved the entire plastic recycling chain, from waste producers to the creation of a finished product containing recycled plastic, specifically mulch film used in agriculture. Previously, paper documents were exchanged throughout this process. The pilot project streamlines this by recording data as digital events anchored to the IOTA ledger, creating a tamper-proof record.

This process also allows authorized stakeholders to record claims about the product. For instance, quality assurance experts can verify the recycled plastic content of both the finished product and the plastic pellets used in its creation.

To prevent false claims, the pilot established a trust model based on DIDs and VCs. DIDs are a standard way to represent digital identities for organizations and people in a decentralized manner. VCs are a standard way to use DIDs to sign claims in a distributed way. The IOTA distributed ledger serves as the platform for this trust model.

This pilot offers a glimpse into the future of product passports. It demonstrates how modern technologies like DIDs and VCs can be harnessed to create verifiable and trustworthy Digital Product Passports.

While there’s still development work ahead, brands shouldn’t wait to prepare for DPPs. The core requirements have been established and require significant preparation for the 2027 deadline. This pilot paves the way for further exploration with additional stakeholders across various supply chains.