Bringing trust and transparency to the opaque world of waste management with blockchain: a Polkadot parathread application

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The majority of countries are currently struggling with unsustainable levels of waste production and low levels of recycling, particularly relating to household waste, and this area is in urgent need of new solutions. In general, the waste management sector has struggled with low consumer trust, fraud, manipulation, significant manual processes, and low levels of information and control. Recent events relating to the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted, in particular, the role of trust in effective public policy making and consumer behavioural change. Here we propose a hybrid blockchain solution called a Polkadot parachain. Polkadot is a blockchain technology that connects a network of blockchains, each called a parachain, that can be customised to the business needs of a given application. This solution provides the cost benefits, scalability, and control of a permissioned or private blockchain while providing the security, verifiability, and trust of a public blockchain. The solution is developed with a design science approach and combines three typically separate blockchain use cases: supply chain tracking, incentivisation through a payment system, and gamification to achieve a complete solution for waste management. We provide a detailed discussion on the design of this blockchain solution with the use of blockchain functionality assessed against the criteria and development approaches found in the literature. Finally, we demonstrate how such a blockchain can be implemented with the Substrate blockchain development framework.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109347
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages75
JournalComputers & Industrial Engineering
Issue numberAugust
Early online date27 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • Blockchain
  • Polkadot
  • Waste management
  • Recycling
  • Supply chain
  • Pay as you throw
  • Substrate
  • Parachain
  • Gamification
  • Supply chain management


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