Making plastic great again – with Blockchain

With ReciChain, BASF Canada wants to make the recycling of plastics more attractive for all parties involved. The block chain technology is intended to help connect all participants in the waste management industry – from plastics manufacturers to waste collectors to recycling plants.

The Canadian offshoot of the Ludwigshafen-based chemical company BASF has founded a block chain platform for the recycling management of plastics. ReciChain – the name of the pilot project – is intended to link the participants in the plastics value chain. The declared aim of ReciChain is to create greater incentives for the recycling of plastics.


In a corresponding press release on February 11, Marcelo Lu, head of BASF Canada, explains the problems ReciChain aims to address:

“There is a clear global challenge around the economics of plastics recycling. Much of the collection and sorting activity is complicated by manual processes and material contamination.  Traceability is also an issue as new obligations arise for brand owners and retailers.  With ReciChain, our goal is to revitalize the value of plastics and significantly improve the circularity of the supply chain.”


This is to be achieved by managing the sorting, tracking and monitoring of plastics along the entire value chain in a decentralised manner using block chains.


BASF wants to network waste collectors and plastics manufacturers

Meanwhile, Anthony DiPrinzio, who heads BASF’s Blockchain Lab, explains who will be connected via the ReciChain platform:

“Successful implementation of ReciChain will lead to a collaborative digital consortium that will bring together plastics manufacturers, suppliers, government agencies, retailers, waste collectors and recyclers to keep the life cycle of plastic molecules as circular as possible. By using block chain technology, we can work together to ensure that our products return to the value chain and contribute to a circular economy”.


BASF Canada is thus following the example of BASF Brazil. ReciChain was already piloted there in December 2019 – but with a greater focus on the social issue. For example, the ReciChain project also provides training for Brazilian waste collectors.

In Canada, ReciChain will initially be used in the British Columbia district. An extension to the rest of Canada is planned after successful completion of the pilot test.


Blockchain for sustainability, sustainability for the image

The Canadian subsidiary BASF would do well to promote the most sustainable use of these versatile plastics. After all, the parent company BASF SA is one of the world’s largest producers of plastics. However, the idea of bringing recycling and block-chain together is not entirely new. For example, SC Johnson, a US manufacturer of cleaning agents, started a recycling project in Indonesia at the end of 2018. Plastic collectors are to receive a reward for their work in crypto-tokens. For clean oceans, the company says. For a clean image, say the skeptics.