Blockchain Solution for Plastics Recycling
RecycleGO offers blockchain technology that proves sustainable impact by tracking recycling efforts from waste to recycled product.
Pitch us on your solution
RecycleGO will offer its blockchain platform to help businesses, governments and citizens work together to reduce plastic waste in the environment and prove their impact. By tracking recycling activity on a decentralized ledger, our blockchain will establish transparency and accountability in local recycling systems: Recyclers can track their material, Municipalities and Corporations can monitor their sustainable impact and Consumers can make sustainable purchases. As a verifier of recycled material, our blockchain can legitimize deposit return programs, local cleanups and other incentive-based recycling initiatives. We propose working with community recycling efforts, to track plastic waste removed from the environment to their form as new, locally-produced recycled-content products, such as CRDC's plastic aggregate building blocks, Ecoblocks. Partnering with recycling intiatives to create a line of special edition, verifiably recycled products would encourage greater participation in recycling efforts and greater purchasing incentives for a globally-concerned public.
What is the problem you are solving?
Lack of proper plastic waste management is a global issue. Each year, only 9% of plastic products made are recycled. 10% of plastic ends up in the environment, adding 13 million tons of plastic pollution to the ocean annually. With over 36,600 miles of coastline in Latin America and the Caribbean containing over 24% of the world's fisheries, and over 29 million people in coastal communities depending on the health of ocean ecosystems, it is essential to keep the Caribbean Sea, Pacific and Atlantic oceans clean of plastic debris.
Recycling is insufficient at multiple key points in the system. Low participation rates and littering are polluting the environment and wasting money. Recyclers are receiving poor-quality materials due to lack of consumer education and accountability. Moreover, there aren’t many incentives for citizens or businesses to recycle. Brands, recyclers and municipalities don’t have a measurement tool for reporting their recycling activities and sustainable impact in a transparent manner.
Who are you serving?
RecycleGO is currently working with Wecyclers, a plastic recycling company in Lagos, Nigeria. We provide them hauling logistics software that helps them track their drivers and organize recycling pickups. Our technology is designed to be accessible to recyclers in developing countries: it works with older smartphone models and is compatible with limited bandwidth. We coordinate periodic remote meetings to take in Wecyclers' feedback and explain software updates. With Recycling background in the recycling and hauling industries, we understand the challenges they face in organizing successful recycling operations.
18 LAC countries haven't signed on to the UN's Mares Limpios/Clean Seas campaign, meaning Jamaica and Guatemala, among others, would be key countries to approach. We envision organization of local cleanups acting to support community cohesion and increase education of proper recycling techniques. Once the material is collected and uploaded to the ledger, our blockchain technology would help existing small-scale recycling actors in LAC communities legitimize and monetize their work. Similar to the value flow created by the Fair Trade certification, the opportunity for limited edition, verified products would promote more frequent and stable partnerships between these LAC recyclers and global businesses needing to meet their plastic waste diversion targets.
What is your solution?
RecycleGO is a recycling service and technology provider that aims to leverage blockchain and other technologies to improve the recycling system via increased participation, product quality and sustainability throughout the product’s life cycle. Our blockchain platform will make recycling easier and more efficient by giving users access to supply chain tracking and verification, operations management, performance reports and insights, resources, and support. RecycleGO’s first released product, the dual-system applications Mission Control and Chariot, saves haulers time and money by optimizing their routes and streamlining their back end operations. We have designed Mission Control for computer access and Chariot for Android and IOS. We are developing a users’ app for building managers to arrange on-demand pickups and gain access to real-time tracking and recycling data on their smartphone or computer. Once our blockchain platform is developed, this next generation recycling supply chain and logistics management system will create a secure, globally-scalable chain of custody ledger for recyclers, municipalities and corporations.
RecycleGO's suite of software provides easy-to-use interfaces for users to access vital recycling data stored by the blockchain, which will increase recycling activity by aligning environmental values with financial profit and infrastructural improvements. Our hauling software is currently servicing three New York area haulers and one Nigerian hauler. By prioritizing the provision of affordable technology that optimizes day-to-day recycling operations, RecycleGO builds a relationship with our partners that can be extended to their customers and suppliers to complete a full material flow on the blockchain. We have also partnered with a recycled fabrics company, Wavve, to provide chain of custody tracking for plastic waste produced at an upcoming festival. Once it has left the festival, the plastic waste will be sent to a recycler and processed into Wavve products, which will feature the festival brand and blockchain-backed recycled content information. It is this same material flow process that RecycleGO would use to record and verify plastics recycling activity in LAC communities, from collected plastic debris to recycled plastic to the Ecoblock finished product, if Don Thomson is available to collaborate, or a similar eco-product.
Select only the most relevant.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Irvington, NJ, USA
Our solution's stage of development:
Describe what makes your solution innovative.
RecycleGO has the first mover advantage, as we are the only technology provider with a planned blockchain solution in the recycling and logistics industries. Our carting software has the first mover advantage in developing nations because it is compatible with limited-bandwidth infrastructure. Our blockchain solution allows us to provide unique services to recyclers and brands, such as chain of custody. The RecycleGO management team has deep industry expertise and leadership in the recycling industry. A few US companies with similar revenue models exist, but offer their services to different market sizes. A European company providing similar services, but does not work with small businesses in developing nations. Most importantly, no waste industry competitors feature a blockchain component, thus cannot verify chain of custody for their materials.
RecycleGO is the most affordable, comprehensive solution available in zones with limited infrastructure. Top competitors have developed their software for developed infrastructure and large data capacities. Having grown up in international environments themselves, RecycleGO’s founders are highly aware of inequitable access to digital and infrastructural services. To increase RecycleGO’s equitable usability, they have designed RecycleGO applications to be compatible with limited bandwidth in order to work in “low-fi” areas and take little data to operate on a user’s phone. Our apps work with older smartphones models to further increase low-income and rural accessibility.
Why do you expect your solution to address the problem?
Our solution's strength resides in its ability to dynamically report internal and system-wide activity to encourage operational improvement via healthy competition and system transparency via verified, unbiased data recording. Our evidence is sourced from both user feedback and deep industry experience. With decades of work in the recycling industry, our own observations in tandem with conversations with contemporaries, business partners and clients has given us sufficient data on what the direct outputs of RecycleGO's blockchain are and will be. Linking recycling activity to a public blockchain ledger will provide individual and grouped recycling stakeholders a variety of benefits. Immediately upon signup, recyclers using our hauling software receive statistics regarding daily operations, and with the passage of time this reporting shows trends, opportunities or setbacks that can reduce internal costs and increase recycling operations. Such statistics would not be available without dynamic data collection and reporting. Data collection also serves as quality verification for users: our clients have already used our logistics software to send bonafide service information collected on the Chariot App to doubtful clients. By newly instilling transparency and accountability into the recycling system, stakeholders will build trust in existing and new partners and in the system as a whole. As more businesses and governments transition to the blockchain, growing supply chain sustainability standards, herd mentality, and sustainability marketing will further incentivize participation by governments, manufacturers and brands.
Select the key characteristics of the population your solution serves
How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?
We are currently serving three US haulers and one Nigerian hauler, which provide waste and recycling removal services to the areas of New York/New Jersey and Lagos. One year from now, we will also have piloted a festival project with a projected 170,000 person attendance rate, increased our US client onboarding of vehicle service, and expanded to up to ten villages in South Asia to pilot a project with an international organization. In five years, we hope to expand to be serving an additional 5 mid to large sized cities on each continent.
How do you measure your solution’s positive impact? If available, what measurable impact have you had in the last three years?
The positive impact of our products would be measured in terms of decreased operational costs, increased operational efficiency, improved carbon footprint via decreased waste transportation emissions, decreased observed litter and increased recycling rates. While some of these factors will depend on user engagement with our services, our interactive interface encourages users to explore the dynamic reporting of our data, which addresses areas of user revenue, efficiency and material generation. While we do not yet have statistically meaningful measured impact, users have expressed that our logistics software has brought a new dimension to the planning and executing of their daily operations and has fortified relations their client.
What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?
RecycleGO would like to "revolutionize recycling" by using interactive reporting and incentivization to incite system-wide change. We want our blockchain chain of custody tracking to be an added incentive for plastic debris to cease being an environmental and health hazard. Similar technology is already being utilized in other sectors (for supply chain management and transparency, logistics operations), and we want to see this technology permeated the waste industry. Our goals within the next year are to build international partnerships and implement more pilot projects for local waste management improvements through use of our logistics, site management and blockchain technologies. Several individuals, recycling and processing companies and governmental offices are interested in our technology, and it is our goal to turn this interest into contract-backed projects. We look forward to being able to expand our technology, operations and sales team to meet the growing needs of our clients.
What are the barriers that currently exist for you to accomplish your goals for the next year and for the next five years?
Blockchain technology is a relatively new concept, and while it interests many people, the majority is hesitant to adopt this new technology. RecycleGO currently has limited funding, which limits our abilities for staff and operational expansion. Our small staff size limits the extent to which we can develop our software and projects and attend concurrent meetings, conferences and industry events. While we have experience in recycling company startups, we lack experience in technology company startups.
How are you planning to overcome these barriers?
We have been garnering interest by targeting environmentalist, tech-savvy and/or forward-thinking potential clients. We have hosted two Climate Week events and our CEO is scheduled to present at three industry conferences this year on the topic of blockchain in recycling in order to normalize the topic. We have applied to multiple accelerators, and will be taking an online startup course in order to learn more about the nuances of succeeding as a technology provider. Our team communicates often about project roadmaps and event schedules, and choose projects and events accordingly.
Please select one.
If you selected “I am planning to expand my solution to Latin America and the Caribbean,” please provide an overview of your expansion plans. What is the market opportunity for your business or product in Latin America and the Caribbean?
Blockchain technology is a decentralized digital ledger composed of individual entries from specific data nodes that must have third-party verification. The more nodes, entries and verifiers, the better the blockchain functions. Since blockchain does not need to be location-based, our platform will benefit from this new expansion into Latin America and the Caribbean without experiencing any drawbacks. We are particularly aware of the levels of plastic debris that enter the environment in developing countries due to insufficient sanitation programs as well as inconsistent local government aid and oversight, and want to help ameliorate this issue. As we expand, our largest clients will be multinational companies looking to bolster their reputation by increasing their sustainability and community involvement, we are aware it would behoove them in targeting an eco-friendly and increasingly international market to be able to advertise that their verified sustainable product was sourced from a Latin American or Caribbean beach cleanup.
What type of organization is your solution team?
How many people work on your solution team?
3 full-time, 1 part-time, 1 contractor
For how many years have you been working on your solution?
Why are you and your team best placed to deliver this solution?
Our team's background knowledge of the waste hauling industry has guided our development process, so that our software meets essential components of our customer needs. Stan Chen, Co-Founder and CEO, is a prominent member of recycling industry with 20+ years' experience and is a proven successful eco-entrepreneur. He founded United Metal Exports in 2007, which he has grown to be a multi-million dollar company today. Jan Gerards, Co-Founder and CTO, brings to RecycleGO a deep background in project management, software system architecture design, and business consulting for enterprise-level software implementations. He has worked with a range of Fortune 1000 companies, including Accenture and Deloitte, to design flexible, scalable software solutions for complex business problems. Matthew Volpe, Head of Sales, has 10 years in hospitality and recycling and was responsible for developing the business of a key competitor in the waste technology industry. DeNeile Cooper, Sustainability Analyst, has 4 years of sustainable waste management education and outreach and serves on executive committee of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board. Dustin Goodwin, Blockchain Collaborator, is co-founder of Eth Denver.
With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?
RecycleGO is currently working with Wecyclers, a plastic recycling company in Lagos, Nigeria. We provide them hauling logistics software that helps them track their drivers and organize recycling pickups. We are also working with them to develop ways to expand their current recycling services in Lagos. We are also working with Wavve, a California-based recycled fabrics company. We are working to connect them to the blockchain in order to provide them with verifiable supply chain tracking, and are also partnering with them to track plastic waste generated at a US-based music festival through to a finished recycled fabric product with verified recycled content information.
What is your business model?
Our business model is to enter the waste industry by offering waste haulers with logistics software that helps address challenges to their everyday operations. This is offered as a "Product-as-a-Service" subscription. This attaches tangible value to the data and reporting we provide to an industry that has been slow to adopt new technology. We will then expand to provide software for business owners, so that they are able to improve waste removal efficiency and be in closer contact with their haulers. Our blockchain platform is for all participants of the recycling system, from citizens to governments and corporations, and enables them to know and improve their recycling behavior.
What is your path to financial sustainability?
We are waiting to hear if we will be accepted to a northeast coast accelerator program that will provide us with support and initial funding. We are also organizing with investment capitalists. We hope that the revenue from our provision of logistics software can also help to support further software development, project and team expansion.
Why are you applying to the Rethink Plastics Challenge?
RecycleGO is applying to the Rethink Plastics Challenge to become part of the global action to efficiently reduce plastic pollution. We would like to learn from international project and business development experts at IDB to hone our business model and projects into effective local solutions for communities around the world.
What types of connections and partnerships would be most catalytic for your solution?
With what organizations would you like to partner, and how would you like to partner with them?
We would like to partner with the The Center for Regenerative Design and Collaboration (CRDC) in Costa Rica as a collaborator in project deployment. We would also like to partner with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste as a pilot project to help signatories reach their plastic waste diversion targets.