BASF is piloting an innovative blockchain project in the province of British Columbia (BC), Canada aimed at promoting a ‘more competitive circular plastics supply chain’.
Designed to address the environmental problem of plastic waste, the project will also extend the lifecycle of plastics, incentivize recycling, reduce waste and enhance resource efficiency in Canada, according to BASF.
Sustainable Plastics reported on the project earlier this year, when it was launched in February. At that time, Anthony DiPrinzio, head of BASF Blockchain Lab, saw a successful implementation of reciChain as resulting in a ‘collaborative digital consortium that will bring together plastic manufacturers, suppliers, government entities, retailers, waste collectors and recyclers aimed at keeping the life of plastic molecules circular’.
Now, almost a half a year later, this vision is taking shape, as major companies and retailers, including CSSA, Layfield, London Drugs, Merlin Plastics, NOVA Chemicals, Recycle BC, Return-It, Save on Foods and V.I.P. Soap, join the initiative.
reciChain is based on blockchain technology combined with a physical marker developed by a young company called Security Matters. The technology enables the secured sharing of transactional data while improving the sorting, tracing and monitoring of plastics throughout the value chain.
Implementing these technologies, value chain actors would conceivably be able to generate tokens or ‘plastics credits’, which would in turn increase in value as plastics go through additional loops. These credits could then be used to incentivize producers to design for recyclability, thus enhancing circular economy.
The track and trace technology used in reciChain marks plastic products with a unique “chemical barcode” and connects them to a digital twin. Both rigid and flexible plastic products will be used during the pilot to test the feasibility of the marker technology in the reverse logistics process.
The participants in the reciChain pilot are offering in-kind contributions to enable the feasibility of the pilot such as plastic material, testing, and technical expertise. Nova Chemicals, for example, is donating polyethylene material.
The pilot will also include a parallel testing of BASF’s trinamiX Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Solution, a hand-held scanner that detects and documents the composition of plastic material.
Deloitte is working with BASF on the project in British Columbia to validate the pilot's value in the local supply chain. The goal is to expand this to a nation-wide solution in order to position Canada as a leading country in the recycling and recovery of plastics.