Technology-based plastic recycling program to accelerate Alberta's circular economy transition
BASF, Cascades, Layfield, London Drugs, NOVA Chemicals, Orion Plastics, [Re] Waste, and Waste & Recycling Services from Calgary and Edmonton are joining forces to expand the reciChain program to accelerate Alberta's transition to a circular economy.
The reciChain program is a technology-enabled ecosystem that brings together plastic value chain companies to enable the circularity, tracking, and sorting of recycled plastic.
"Plastics have proven benefits for multiple applications such as food preservation, automotive light-weighting, medical devices, and building insulation, among many others. Plastic waste, however, poses a major global challenge," says Apala Mukherjee, president of BASF Canada. "To solve this environmental issue, we need to build a more circular economy for plastics through innovation and collaboration across the value chain. This is exactly what reciChain brings to the industry".
The reciChain concept was created by BASF in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and tested with an initial proof-of-concept pilot in 2020 in British Columbia, Canada, which proved circularity by tracking the products lifecycle from pellet to pellet. Now, with the support of Alberta Innovates, the provincial government corporation responsible for promoting innovation in the province, the project is expanding to Alberta to conduct the next phase of the project, which will see the solution through to a semi-commercial phase.
"Creating a cleaner world starts at the local level, in communities all around the country and right here in Alberta. Innovative programs like reciChain are creating meaningful changes in plastic recycling. Alberta Innovates is pleased to support this partnership and looks forward to the results that flow from this program" said Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates.
A successful implementation of the reciChain program will support Alberta in achieving results such as: reducing overall contamination levels and increased recyclability; increasing demand for innovative solutions for plastics recyclability; supporting the auditability of recycled content supporting Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs; shifting consumer perspectives on the use of virgin plastics and supporting further brand loyalty for provincial businesses; among other impacts.
ReciChain's underlining technology components
To extend the lifecycle of plastics, the reciChain program is comprised of two technology components:
- A physical tracer that identifies and follows key plastic features throughout the value chain and enables the connection of plastic to a digital twin
- A blockchain marketplace developed by the Web3 start-up Real Items, which creates and translates the digital twin, providing a secure, auditable transfer-of-ownership and assigning incentives to incent participation and offset costs
Once the reciChain program is validated in Alberta's plastics value chain, BASF intends to continue expanding it to tackle the plastic waste challenge, both at national and global levels.
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