Tuesday 22 February 2022

Using Blockchain Technology and Cascade Regrind Strategy to Trace Recycling Content of Plastics Compounds

In today’s post we discuss the blockchain technology as an enabler for tracing recycling content of plastic compounds.

The use of recycled plastics

Using recycled plastics on your shop floor becomes more and more realty since end-consumer and large brands as well as governments demand a certain amount of recycled plastic in the end-use application. 20% of the global plastic waste is currently recycled by the plastic manufacturing industry. 40% of packaging waste is landfilled and according to the EU Green Deal, 50% of plastic packaging should be recycled by 2025. Industries such as consumer products, construction and automotive have ambitious targets to recycle their waste and make high-value products out of it again. Challenges for manufacturing companies occur in sourcing such recycled materials and to be sure that all necessary information about the recyclates is available (end-uses; thermal/ heat history).

Here new technologies such as the blockchain technology can be an enabler to shade light into grey supply chains.

Example of Circulor

Circulor offers solutions to track the origin of raw materials as well as the actual flow of materials (production processes, transformations such as moulding, and recycling). Using blockchain enabled technology, a digital twin is created which then tracks the digital identity of the plastic's journey. This in turn introduces visibility and safety along the supply chain.

What about the plastics regrind?

Cascade recycling is a possible way forward for plastics processing companies to ensure a proper tracing of the used polymers. Usually virgin and regrind are mixed in a ratio of 20% regrind and 80% virgin plastic. Mr. Bozelli lays out seven problems one may deal with when handling with regrind mixing (level actually used, degraded polymer in the regrind, broad of granule sizes in the regrind; possibility of contamination; excessive fines in the regrind; tracking the actual level of regrind in a plastic part; testing worst case situations using regrind). In short – it can become a mess! To minimize such problems, Mrs. Janicki, Mr.  Groleau, and Mr. Bain, introduced the so-called cascade regrinding.

How is it done?

You can start by storing the regrind from the first-pass of the virgin compound until all of the virgin material is used. This is followed by running down 100% regrind and in parallel store the second generation of regrind. Then you use 100% of the second generation and collect the third generation. This can be done till the regrind is used up (Table 1).

Example of cascade regrind strategy based on 50% and 25% material remaining after each pass. 

This method allows tracking the heat history of the regrind in an accurate way. In addition, combining it with blockchain, the regrind history can be tracked too.

Altogether, I believe we will see more of the blockchain enabled technology solutions for handling recycling of plastics allowing to increase the chances of success on a global scale. 

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics


Further post on recycling and regrind: 

Rule of Thumb for Plastics Injection Moulding: Usage of Regrind

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[1] https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1302

[2] https://www.circulor.com/total-press-release

[3] https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757-899X/1196/1/012021/pdf

[4] https://www.plasticstoday.com/managing-regrind-maximum-quality

[5] https://knowledge.ulprospector.com/1468/pe-regrinding-plastics/


  1. I'm glad blockchain technology finds its way into plastics raw material and recycling supplier chain tracing - this should eventually make it more difficult for the bad boys to counterfeit

    1. Yes, totally agree - thanks for your comment! best regards, Herwig