Plastic recycling with Circularr – a pioneering blockchain solution

Plastic waste is a growing problem that poses a significant threat to the health of our oceans and the marine life that call them home. Plastic pollution has been found in every corner of the ocean, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and it is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

One of the main sources of plastic pollution in the ocean is single-use plastic products, such as straws, plastic bags, and water bottles. These items are often used for just a few minutes, but can remain in the environment for hundreds of years, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces known as microplastics. These microplastics are easily ingested by marine animals, causing harm to their digestive systems and potentially leading to death.

To address this problem, a number of efforts are being made to reduce plastic waste and the impact of plastic pollution on marine life. One of the most effective ways to do this is through policy and legislation. For example, many cities and countries have implemented bans on single-use plastic bags and straws, or have implemented fees for their use. Additionally, some companies have committed to reducing or eliminating their use of single-use plastic products in their operations.

Another important effort to reduce plastic waste is through increased recycling and composting. By diverting plastic waste away from landfills and into recycling and composting programs, we can reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean.

Individuals can also make a difference by making simple changes to their daily habits. This can include bringing your own reusable bags, water bottles, and coffee cups, avoiding products with excessive packaging, and properly disposing of plastic waste.

To support marine life and protect our planet, it’s also important to support organisations that are working to reduce plastic pollution. These organisations might be involved in beach cleanups, plastic-free campaigns, or research into new technologies that further recycling efforts.

At Circularr we’re using pioneering blockchain technology to ensure a fully transparent solution to recycling. Through partnering with reverse vending machine (RVMs) manufacturers, integrating with wider deposit return schemes (DRS) and recycling plants, we are creating an ecosystem to allow individuals and businesses to deposit unwanted plastic, knowing that it will be responsibly recycled, it’s fully traceable until it reaches its second life, and we reward you for it with tokens that can be used via our app. 

Plastic waste is a pressing problem that poses a significant threat to the environment and the health of our planet. There are many efforts being made to reduce plastic waste and by working together, we can create a future where our planet can thrive without the threat of plastic pollution.

Blockchain’s role in a green future

Though the climate crisis and focus on sustainability has been a central topic of policy and business for some time, there is an overwhelming lack of trust, shown both in the data provided and the solutions suggested. 

The UN Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report 2022 describes the need for rapid societal transformation. At the individual level, this would take the form of changing habits. At the corporate level, spanning all industry sectors and public entities, it would take the form of responsible governance. 

How can blockchain help to ensure that green targets are met?

Blockchain technology has the potential to play a role in creating a greener future in several ways. One way is through the creation of decentralised energy systems, which allow for the production, distribution, and management of renewable energy on a peer-to-peer basis. This could lead to a more efficient and equitable energy system, as well as increased adoption of renewable energy sources. Additionally, blockchain can be used to track and verify the origin and authenticity of renewable energy certificates, helping to increase transparency and trust in the renewable energy market. 

Alongside the usage of the Internet of Things devices including drones and satellite technology, trusted entities on the ground verifying methane emissions and artificial intelligence to draw patterns and inform decision-making, blockchain can be used as a real-time global ledger system. It keeps information up to date, while ensuring it is shared securely and publicly to advance awareness and entrepreneurial innovation. It also enables real-time monitoring of data, verification that it is correct, and sharing across multiple parties, spanning non-governmental organisations, private sector entities and government entities. 

Additionally, tokenisation is a process that transforms ownership and rights of specific assets into digital form. Tokenisation coupled with blockchain technology can drive the harmonisation and scaling of carbon markets as commodities, fundamental for entities offsetting their emissions while funding carbon removal and reduction projects. Standard amounts of carbon offsets can be represented as tokens on a blockchain, traded on transparent marketplaces.

 Some of the ways that blockchain can help us include:

  1. Increased transparency and security: Blockchain’s decentralized and tamper-proof nature can help increase transparency and security in various industries, such as finance, healthcare, and supply chain management.
  2. Smart contracts: Blockchain technology enables the creation of smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code.
  3. Decentralisation: Blockchain allows for the creation of decentralised systems and networks, which can help to reduce the need for intermediaries and increase efficiency.
  4. Digital Identity: Blockchain can provide secure digital identity solutions that can be used for a variety of applications such as voting, proof of ownership and authentication of goods.
  5. Traceability: Blockchain technology can be used to create an immutable record of transactions, enabling more efficient tracking and traceability of goods and services.
  6. Protection of Intellectual Property: Blockchain technology can be used to track and protect intellectual property rights, such as copyrights and patents.

Overall, the potential uses of blockchain technology are vast, and it has the potential to greatly benefit society by increasing trust, security and efficiency. Applying this to environmental and sustainable efforts at a governmental level will help achieve targets that have been set.

What is DRS and why do you need to care about it?

In order to tackle the ever increasing pollution challenges, deposit return systems are on the rise again- as they play a vital part in preventing bottles and cans from ending up in oceans and landfills, by offering a financial incentive for consumers to return used containers for recycling! 

Up until the 1980s, Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) for the reuse of plastics and glass and aluminum were extremely popular and widely implemented across Europe. Whilst some countries such as Germany, Spain and Belgium continue to run this initiative, there has been a steady decline in its use.

Why did this change happen and is recycling better than reusing?

Plastic as a light, cheap, single-use solution led to the rise in plastic packaging production at an industrial scale. It requires a treatment process far less complex than that of glass and so quickly became the preferred packaging option. But with the introduction of the Producer Responsibility Schemes the onus shifted from the consumer to the producer – who would pay a fee to an organisation to take care of everything – and so began the decline of DRS.

There has certainly been a global initiative to reuse plastics where possible but as some packaging cannot be reused and certain plastics have a limited potential for reuse, there needs to be additional solutions in place to tackle each eventuality.

The European Strategy for Plastic has stated that by 2030 all plastic packaging placed on the Union market must be reusable or easily recycled. Their directive promotes a circular approach and gives priority to sustainable solutions; UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns to reduce pressure on precious resources and the environment. This, along with the initiation to establish a minimum collection requirement for PET drinks containers within the EU of 77% by 2025 and 90% by 2029, has sparked the DRS debate again.

The ultimate objective of DRS is to motivate consumers to recycle responsibly thus ensuring plastics do not end up in landfills or our oceans. Traditionally the consumer will pay a small deposit for the packaging (already included in the final price) and when they return the plastic at a collection point, they get the deposit back. The consumer is motivated to return the product as they will have paid the deposit regardless, and the plastics can be recycled and transformed in to secondary materials which can circularly go back in to the market.

Many environmental experts identify DRS as the most significant element for the reduction of single use plastic waste as they harness the power of consumers and provide a responsible and circular solution.

Circularr’s DRS solution operates via Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) and collection points run using pioneering blockchain technology and linked with its dedicated app. Consumers are able to track the recycling journey from the moment they deposit their unwanted plastic through to its second life – as another bottle, a children’s toy or even clothing – and receive rewards via the app. With this Circularr is putting the trust back in to recycling, engaging consumers and introducing them to its network of trusted partners and expanding the consumer payout via the rewards platform. 

Circularr is looking to empower a global deposit return scheme that is not limited by local government. This means that even in countries where there is not a current deposit return scheme in place, Circularr will be able to implement the RVMs, reward consumers instantly, and help to reduce plastic pollution. They will be situated globally and have advertising capabilities, meaning partner companies can increase brand awareness and customer loyalty, whilst also reaching a highly engaged audience via the rewards app.

If you’re a business owner interested in hosting an RVM, keen to partner with Circularr’s app or you just want to find out more, come say 

Tackling plastic waste in the work place

In the home we generally have a clear idea of how to recycle. We put it in the appropriate box and it gets whisked away every week.

For a business this can be more complicated. In the UK, companies are charged for recycling collections, making it a difficult choice for small or privately owned businesses: cashflow or the planet? In addition, if you have set up a commercial recycling collection there aren’t many guarantees that it won’t actually end up in landfill. It may be logistically difficult to access appropriate facilities or even that once the recycling has been sorted, those companies cannot find anywhere to accept it and have no choice but to dump it.

If you consider how much plastic waste the workforce generates – from lunchtime takeaway containers to general office packaging – this is a large, complex and frightening problem. But only if plastics do indeed end up in landfill. Society and the environment would benefit from a system that has a harmonised list of recyclable materials, makes recycling more accessible and therefore helps to meet demand and advance the circular economy for the long term.

Plastic is a hugely valuable resource that—when managed responsibly—is essential for a modern, sustainable way of life. Focussing on keeping it out of landfills above all, will encourage and drive innovation, as people strive to come up with new ideas to give it a second life. 

In the meantime, as a business what can you do to take on the issue? Creating a clear set of guidelines will help your workforce in the sorting process, but you’ll still need to tackle the final process. This is where Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) come in as an effective and slick solution. RVMs turn unwanted plastic into valuable customer rewards, and with Circularr’s blockchain-based tracking system there is full traceability and accountability, all the way through the recycling process. Consumers have the chance to earn tokens, businesses can ensure a responsible recycling solution (whilst working to hit CSR targets) and plastic no longer ends up in landfill. 

If you’re a business owner interested in hosting an RVM or you just want to find out more, come say

Blockchain’s Role in Sustainability

Sustainability has been at the forefront of business agenda for the past decade, as the conversation of creating a more sustainable future on planet earth has become the norm. There isn’t a business plan or company value statement that doesn’t touch on it.  Could it be the blockchain technology that turns the overarching strategy into a realistic, fully traceable initiative?

Blockchain technology poses an excellent opportunity for both corporations and consumers to invest in and reward products and services which, rather than impacting the environment negatively, improve the environment and protect its future.

The Current State of Sustainability

In recent years, governments have realised the importance of coming together to create both legislation and to drive forward campaigns that look to answer not only the needs of consumers with sustainable initiatives, but also the planet.

Since the creation of the Environmental Protection act of 1990 we have continued to advance in our fight against environmental pollution, while at the same time, sadly regressing – as even  more single-use plastics, pollutants and other non-natural materials enter our ecosystems at an alarming rate.

Consumers are now very much attuned to the idea of sustainability. As mentioned in Forbes “Customers are willing to pay a premium for sustainably produced products”.  They are more open to selecting  products which offer a sustainable alternative. Companies are now identifying this consumer behaviour as a priority and those who were on the fence about making a move towards sustainability are quickly convinced into acting.

Today, industries of all forms are not only adopting sustainable initiatives but are part of the innovation that enables a greener business environment. This, coupled with technology, which has changed how we communicate, consume, and deliver services, has allowed for rapid growth in sustainability.

Blockchain Beyond the Headlines – What is Blockchain Technology?

In short – a blockchain is any ledger or documented records database shared and distributed amongst nodes on a computer network. It is a way of decentralising information, guaranteeing the dependability and security of a record of data – generating complete trust in the shared records.

An asset’s movement, transactions, or data point that can be tracked on a blockchain network include both intangible, such as raw data, intellectual property, copyrights and transaction records, or tangible asset transactions, such as house sales, fuel consumption, or in the world of sustainability, plastics recycled.

There is an expectation for businesses to clearly, and effectively, implement ESG (Environmental, Social and corporate Governance) reporting within their business. It was on June 7th 2021, at the G7 Summit, that global leaders committed to mandating climate reporting, following the direction from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

However, the issue usually lies within the reporting and tracking itself – How can companies prove that their products are truly sustainable?

Blockchain technologies could be the answer they are looking for.

Blockchain’s Applications in Sustainability

Traceability and Transparency

With Blockchain comes a world of precise and advanced traceability opportunities. In the journey of any product or service lies data points and assets that could be effectively tracked within a blockchain. Corporations can collect and share exact information on where the materials are coming from, how and where they are being transported, and who produced the materials.

This is, as it seems on the surface, a challenging task in itself. Imagine this in a traditional world, with each piece of information in a silo, in various trackers, spreadsheets and on individual computers. This lack of communication between these data records and the fragmented way in which they were stored meant accessing this information for transparency with live, up-to-date data, was near impossible.

In this scenario, blockchain technology shines.

Corporations can now use blockchain technology to publicly display and disclose a live, accurate and authentic representation of their ESG efforts and initiatives, allowing them to reduce their environmental impact.

Creating Sustainability-Focused Ecosystems

Although many reference blockchain when discussing cryptocurrency, the real-world applications run far more profound. Blockchain, being a decentralised ledger for the ESG information of companies, means that this information cannot be edited or tampered with, making it a reliable source to show the true carbon impact each product has.

For example with the supply chain of packaged goods being the most significant contributor to carbon footprint, creating ecosystems for more accurate reporting will allow organisations to identify areas of opportunities for sustainable savings.

This also means that companies can track the entire start-to-finish journey of a single item as it passes through the corporate ecosystem and the supply chain.

End users could track the entire journey of their product, from farm to logistics, to production, and finally in their hands – by merging the information shared in the blockchain with a front-end solution. This is the beginning of the environmental ecosystem. The consumer could then continue this journey by reporting how they use/dispose of or recycle the product, putting the materials back into the traceable ecosystem.

In Summary, what does Blockchain mean for Sustainability and where does Circularr fit in?

Blockchains, whilst full of promise, are only as good as the utility and real-world function that they have been applied to. It is with this in mind that we looked to develop Circularr and the $CIRP token, creating the world’s first sustainable crypto asset backed by transparent recycling and recycled commodities.

Circularr’s first asset will be backed by plastic recycling and the value of rPET plastic called Circular Plastic Coin or “$CIRP”.  The $CIRP asset revolves around the development and launch of a decentralised recycling ecosystem to streamline interactions between consumers, organisations, recyclers, and brands by adding full transparency to the recycling process.

Circularr was born out of a need to provide transparency and traceability to legitimise sustainability claims and eliminate greenwashing by individuals and organisations.

This will help to decrease pollution levels, eliminate green washing and drive consumer behavioural change by commoditising plastic waste. Our ambition is to help individuals and organisations treat plastic waste as a commodity instead of waste.

We are on a mission to secure strategic partnerships and further expand the ecosystem by plugging in our solutions to drive change for good.

The goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius; A snapshot of the COP26 mission

With world leaders arriving in Glasgow for the fortnight-long COP26 conference, more than 190 countries are coming together to discuss the global response to the climate crisis. The Glasgow summit is important in determining whether these countries can comply with the Paris Agreement: a legally-binding international treaty on climate change enforced in 2016.

The goal outlined was to limit global warming to well below 2 – preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius – compared to pre-industrial levels. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could help to avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change.

The ambition to reduce global warming and gain support for the 1.5 degrees Celsius target follows a succession of climate disasters including heat waves, floods, and wildfires across the globe. This also follows the International Panel on Climate Change report, recently published in August, warning that the global temperature may pass 1.5 degrees Celsius warming as soon as 2040, even if emissions fall rapidly.

Other top priorities of the COP include the formal negotiations which will finalise and accelerate actions following the goals outlined by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

Priorities also include structures for a global carbon market, and the question of whether countries should set new climate targets every five years, or every ten years. The COP acts as an opportunity for new pacts and agreements – this year with ambitions to end coal use and bring in more electric vehicles.

In light of the announcement that UK firms and financial institutions will be forced to show how they intend to hit climate change targets. By 2023, UK businesses will have to set out detailed public and transparent plans on how they will work towards a low-carbon future in line with the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

Circularr is here to help and was born out of a need to provide transparency and traceability to legitimise sustainability claims and eliminate greenwashing by individuals and organisations.

At Circularr, we are working with businesses to achieve one common goal – to decrease the level of plastic pollution and provide full transparency and traceability for the ethical and sustainable recycling and manufacturing of plastic.

It is clear that the decisions made at the COP26 will make a lasting impact and major changes towards our daily lives: including our jobs, our homes, what we eat, and how we travel. We all have a part to play in tackling climate change, and here at Circularr we are dedicated to helping individuals and organisations make a real (and traceable) difference.