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TotalEnergies partners with Circulor for blockchain plastic traceability


Blockchain traceability provider Circulor has partnered with energy company TotalEnergies (formerly Total) and plastic chemical recycler Recycling Technologies to develop a solution for tracing Hard To Recycle Plastics (HTRP). The project is called TrackCycle and has funding from the UK government’s innovation agency Innovate UK

There is an urgent need to improve plastic recycling processes. According to the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), despite environmental campaigns and easy-access educational resources on sustainability, less than 9% of municipal solid waste plastics were recycled in 2018. These kinds of plastics include domestic items such as food containers and packaging foam and agricultural items such as fertilizer bags. 

In need of well-defined objectives, the EU has set a target for recycling 50% of plastic packaging by 2025. As such, new and tighter regulations on the supply and life cycle of plastic are being put in place to promote a circular economy. 

Next year the UK government will tax plastic packaging that has less than 30% of recycled plastic and the EU will introduce a levy of 80 cents on every kilogram of plastic packaging waste not recycled. 

TrackCycle’s service should enable corporate compliance with the new regulations.

Blockchain technology enables companies to track the plastic from the waste source through to the recycled polymers. With this kind of data, organizations can make informed decisions in production and promote incentive schemes designed to motivate sustainable consumption behavior. 

For stakeholders in the polymers industry, TrackCycle ensures that the plastics being used in production come from recycled materials. 

In the project, Circulor will provide the blockchain capabilities for the solution. TotalEnergies and Recycling Technologies will research the post-consumer plastic waste usage in the production of recycled polymers. In addition, plastic waste suppliers will participate in the initiative. 

“We are on a mission to make the world’s most complex industrial supply chains more transparent in order to prevent the exploitation of our planet,” said Circulor’s CEO Douglas Johnson-Poensgen. “We all contribute to plastic waste on a daily basis and Circulor’s traceability platform will play an important role in introducing visibility where it is currently lacking.”

Circulor has experience in traceability solutions for minerals used in car battery productions such as cobalt and works with Volvo and Mercedes on tracking EV battery emissions. The company recently raised $14 million in a Series A funding, including backing from Jaguar Land Rover

Meanwhile, the use of blockchain in plastic recycling is being adopted across various industries, with notable names implementing solutions such as Marubeni and Gillette