How can blockchain be of help in a waste and recycling challenge?

Most Brazilian cities dispose of their waste in landfills with no sanitary control. Brazilian legislation, similar to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), states that brand owners like Nestlé are obliged to recycle at least 22% of the package materials that end up as waste. The route to compliance involves buying recycling certificates that represent investments in reverse logistics infrastructure. The market for these certificates is currently very informal and the working conditions of waste pickers that issue these certificates are unhealthy and dangerous. Brand owners don’t have any guarantees their investments will result in improvements.

We’re developing reciChain to increase the waste recycling capacity

ReciChain is a cross-industry ecosystem and platform that will be used by brand owners and their suppliers, NGOs, governmental bodies, recyclers and assimilators. The platform helps reverse logistic programs run by NGO ’s to scale their operations in order to create better working conditions for waste pickers through building new infrastructure. It enables investments in these waste recycling programs by brand owners and their suppliers in exchange for EPR data and guarantees. More infrastructure and better working conditions improve recycling capacity and create a positive social impact for waste workers at the sorting units.

From design sprint to pilot to operational platform

We were involved early on as a strategic partner to improve the concept, mainly from a technology perspective. Through a design sprint in Brazil we managed to align all stakeholders and work out the details of how the digital platform should work for all its users. We use blockchain to keep track of all investments. The return on investment is initiated by the actual segregation of waste material. We also use blockchain to manage when and how the return on investment should be handled. This allows us to monitor the impact of investments and the program ‘s performance. And we’re able to track segregated waste all the way from the landfill to the recycler. We’re currently developing a first pilot that will run in Brazil, where we’ll test working of the platform with the founding members of the consortium. We are working towards an operational platform in Brazil and starting more pilot projects in other continents in the second half of 2021.

Read the press release (in Portugese) about reciChain on the website of Exame.

Thanks to Kryha, reciChain has build enough confidence to attract more investments focusing on improving circular business models and working conditions toward social inclusion.

Rafael Selvaggio Viñas

Applied Sustainability Manager - BASF

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