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Envisioning Plastics Circularity

According to a report produced by Deloitte for Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canada disposed of nearly 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste in 2016. Of these plastics, less than 11 per cent were recycled, meaning the rest was landfilled or lost to the environment.

In response to one of the most pressing environmental challenges – plastic waste, BASF launches pilot platform reciChain. The pilot project will involve:

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Setting up a stakeholder value chain and consortium to incentivize the recycling and reuse of plastics into a local circular economy.
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Designing a scalable blockchain solution (reciChain) to support the track & trace, and monetization of plastics within the value chain, through innovative Digital Badge and Loop Count technology.
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Expanding on a current pilot in Brazil run by BASF, to operate in British Columbia; leveraging regional knowledge and expertise to define a platform that supports all stakeholders.

reciChain Pilot Consortium Members

Logos of all reciChain stakeholders

Click the link below to learn more about reciChain:
reciChain Project Overview

Revitalizing the Value of Plastics and Improving Circularity within the Supply Chain

A successful implementation of reciChain will enable:

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Implementing marker and loop counting technologies will introduce the innovative ability to track and trace plastics through various value chains in the circular economy.
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The pilot aims to incentivize the reuse of plastics to producers, while bolstering Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments, supply chain efficiencies and, consumer brand loyalty.
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Enhanced Sorting

Waste collectors and recyclers will have an opportunity to enhance the mechanical sorting and recovery of plastics.
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Key stakeholders within the plastics ecosystem will collaborate on a forward thinking vision for British Columbia (BC) and be a part of a leading consortium to enable a circular economy throughout BC.
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Data Integrity

Early stage plastics producers and processors will create a trusted procurement cycle of supply and demand, enabled by blockchain technology.

For the pilot in British Columbia, BASF is working with Deloitte as a strategic advisor for the project.

  BC Plastics Circular Economy

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The goal of the reciChain pilot was to prove that circularity, the action of maintaining a product’s value through the product’s lifecycle and into a new product, is feasible, cost effective and can be enabled through recycling. The reciChain project pushed innovative boundaries through its approach to circular economy, the physical marker, and blockchain. The pilot successfully proved the technical feasibility of a plastics circular economy by tracking the lifecycle of each product from pellet to pellet.

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The reciChain pilot successfully moved two products through the complete value chain, from virgin resin through to recycle pellets
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The physical marker developed by SMX allowed the team to trace each product through the value chain. The marker stores key information, including: manufacture, plastics type, loop count and percentage of recycled content to enable the creation of the products digital twin.
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The blockchain platform developed by SMX, based on R3 technology enabled the translation of tracer information from the digital twin to the user interface. Providing a secure, auditable transfer-of-ownership of the product between stakeholders.

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The reciChain project began in 2019 at an ideathon in Brazil, when BASF together with its partners, designed a solution to fight waste certificate fraud in Sao Paulo.

reciChain Canada - Phase 1 (Jan – Mar 2020)

BASF then looked to expand the use case to Canada in order to test and prove the broader vision of circularity in a new market.

BASF engaged Deloitte to act as a strategic partner to provide project governance and work with the local stakeholders in the plastics value chain.

BASF also engaged Security Matters, as the core solution provider for both the physical marker technology and blockchain development. 

reciChain Canada – Phase 2 (Mar – Nov 2020)

BASF, Deloitte, and Security Matters looked to pilot two plastic product loops to prove out feasibility and enable a circular plastics economy in Vancouver B.C.

The reciChain team defined the plastic value chain comprised of 8 key stakeholders, to form a consortium. This collaborative ecosystem would enable the team to develop product loops, in which two separate plastic product packages would be embedded with a physical marker.

The project culminated in a 3 week pilot whereby the consortium successfully proved that plastics circularity, and the ability to track and trace plastics through the value chain was feasible.

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Pilot results

The reciChain project pushed innovative boundaries through its approach to circular economy, the physical marker, and blockchain. The pilot successfully proved out:

•The interest in circular economy models and buy-in of 8 stakeholders representing the complete plastics value chain.

•The feasibility of the marker to be embedded into two different types of plastic product packaging.

•The ability for the marker to be successfully read at all stages of the value chain, including mechanical sorting and extrusion to pellets.

•The blockchain platform allowed the transfer-of-ownership, the ability to store a digital-twin record at all stages of the value chain, and the ability to integrate external technology inputs.


Key challenges and opportunities

Throughout the pilot the project team faced a number of challenges and decisions that shaped the design of the pilot.

•It was critical that both products be recyclable. Although mono-material multi-layer packaging would not be put into the blue box in B.C. it is fundamentally a recyclable product, presenting a new solution to the complexity of multi-layer material recyclability.

•In the current value chain weight or quantity is used to track packaging by each stakeholder. However, to support the overall material flow of the platform weight was used as the primary tracking metric throughout the entire value chain, and converted to quantity as necessary.


Next steps

Each stakeholder expressed interest in their continued involvement in the consortium. The next steps for the reciChain platform will look to:

•Demonstrate industrial scaling of the marker reader at the recyclers;

•Incorporate larger scale brand names into the pilot, specifically a non-consumer facing brand;

•Support design requirements and regulations for the marker in consumer packaging; and,

•Develop use cases to demonstrate the value of blockchain and user interface solution.

Physical Movement

We are excited to be early evaluators of the technology, and be at the forefront of development. The pilot has created interest across a number of our customer, in regards to our involvement and the technology.        
NOVA Chemicals
Education and marketing to customers will be an important focus moving forward. You will need to explain to consumers and government what we are doing.
V.I.P. Soap

Physical to Digital Twin

This pilot has been a galvanizing force for our internal sustainability discussions and across different teams, the project has shown that something like this is possible. It is a proof-of-concept that this can work, and circularity is possible across multiple loops (loops 2-3 will have the best stories).
London Drugs
For proof-of-concept the pilot was a success. As we look to integrate into the current physical process and day-to-day use there are several key considerations to industrial scale. 
Recycle BC


The ability for the tracer to survive recycling, and possibility for auditability of product are key features.
Layfield Plastics
For us, the traceability factor is very exciting. To be able to build a story around a private label program that can trace the amount of product that is being recycled in very valuable looking into the future.
London Drugs

The future vision for the reciChain Canada program

The program has set a long term vision that will enable plastics circularity through a self-sustaining ecosystem.

Demo: trinamiX integration into reciChain blockchain


See how BASF’s trinamiX NIR spectroscopic hand held scanner intergrates with the reciChain blockchain platform. 

BASF Canada Live Lounge Series: ReciChain

Check out our Live Lounge interview series held at GLOBE 2020 in Vancouver BC featuring a conversation with BASF Canada and Deloitte. 

reciChain - capturing the value of plastics in the circular economy

Watch the full recording from the World Circular Economy Forum Side Event hosted by BASF Canada to learn about results of the pilot program. 

If you have any questions about this project please contact: