A project to develop a blockchain solution for providing transparency in the advanced recycling value chain was recently launched in the UK. Called Trackcycle, the project, which is being funded by Innovate UK, is an initiative from Circulor, a lprovider of sustainable supply chain and CO2 traceability; energy company, TotalEnergies; and Recycling Technologies, a chemical recycler. The collaboration, described by Valérie Goff, Senior Vice President Polymers at TotalEnergies as an ‘excellent example of innovation to develop more traceable recycled polymers’, will also help to move advanced reycling forward.
Chemical recycling is an area in which the UK has recently been directing very considerable amounts of funding: in October of last year, for example, UK Research and Innovation awarded £20 million through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which amount was further supplemented by over £65 million of industry investment, to four projects designed to increase the country’s available plastic packaging recycling capacity. Three of the projects were targeted at the further development of advanced recycling technologies.
The aim of the Trackcycle project is to enable a fully traceable and accurately labelled record of recycled materials, from the waste sourcing up to the use of recycled polymers in new production streams. The focus of TotalEnergies and Recycling Technologies will be on improving the traceability of feedstock from post-consumer plastic wastes - Hard-to-Recycle Plastics (HTRP) - used in the production of recycled polymers. The consortium will work closely with several plastic waste suppliers, including a multinational FMCG company that provides post-industrial waste.
In this way, the provenance and quality of the materials will be made clearly visible to all the stakeholders in the polymers industry.
As Adrian Griffiths, CEO of Recycling Technologies, pointed out, “Full transparency is key to gain trust, incentivise sustainable practises and provide stakeholders with an optimised supply and logistics value chain, contributing to increased recycling rates.”
Moreover, with both the UK government’s plastic packaging tax on packaging that does not contain 30% recycled plastic and the EU’s packaging levy coming into force next year, producers must be able to vouch for the materials entering and exiting their facilities.
“Circulor’s traceability platform will play an important role in introducing visibility where it is currently lacking,” concluded Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, CEO of Circulor.