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EU backs blockchain plastics recycling startup Circularise

plastic recycling

Today Dutch blockchain startup Circularise announced a €1.5 million ($1.8m) funding through the EU’s Horizon 2020 program. The startup tracks plastics from the initial resin to the end product, including any additives along the way. 

It enables brands to trace the product’s origin and establish the environmental impact. The data is also critical to the recycling process. Earlier this year Circularise worked with major plastics company Covestro and DOMO Chemicals.

“This funding shows that the EU Commission is ready to invest in emerging technologies that can enable real growth in the circular economy space,” said Circularise founder Jordi de Vos.

Horizon 2020 projects require collaboration, and both Covestro and Domo have confirmed their ongoing support in the project. As a result of the collaborations, Circularise was accepted into an accelerator by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.

“Circularise Plastics is building a data-exchange protocol with privacy at its heart, which we believe is a smart strategy as privacy concern is what often refrains companies from becoming more transparent.” said Thomas Nuyts, Director of Global Product Management, who is leading the development of Circularise Plastics at Domo Chemicals.

Information about components sourced further down the supply chain can still be shared on a need to know basis. The solution includes Smart Questioning technology, which would allow a query about whether a product has mercury or some other material. And that query would check the entire supply chain and could provide a simple yes/no answer.

The plastics are twinned to the blockchain using several types of identifiers such as QR codes, RFIDs, NFC, chemical tracers, and DNA.

Other examples of blockchain applications for plastics recycling include BASF and its reciChain pilot.

While Circularise and reciChain look deeper into the plastic manufacturing process, other blockchain solutions focus more on the recycling process’s first stage. For example, Dell and subsidiary VMware are exploring recycling packaging material. And SC Johnson and Plastic Bank are exploring blockchain to incentivize consumer plastic recycling. IOTA has a similar initiative.