Circular Economy

Circular economy and Blockchain for the international traceability of waste

Italian startup Sfridoo, in partnership with MetaRing, has studied an international traceability method dedicated to industrial scraps and recyclable waste: raw materials of the future. International recycling plants and scrap traders: "we are ready for change"

Sfridoo Circular Economy team

Sfridoo Staff

According to a study conducted by Sfridoo, the accelerated startup at Aster – Emilia-Romagna Region, focused on circular economy themes, and MetaRing, a startup also included in the Bologna accelerator, which realizes high-profile IT solutions, the current situation could change radically. Merit of the technological innovation that today is on everyone’s lips, Blockchain: an innovative protocol that comes to the rescue of companies, traders and international traders, who intend to adopt a new system for checking data on waste. An instrument, the blockchain, which would allow to detect quality, quantity of material and origin, so as to retrace the entire history of the supply chain, maintaining a certified traceability log at the touch of a smartphone.

How is the international scraps trade managed today?

  • Scraps are collected in appropriate containers by Producers: usually enterprises that buy raw material, secondary raw material, by-products;
  • The carrier in charge of the collection collects those scraps and gives it to a collection and selection plant;
  • The collection plant involved in the recovery and recycling operations carries out the sorting of what can receive new life and what will be destined for landfills or incinerators;
  • Through international channels, waste traders work to buy scraps lots, triggering negotiations through the exchange of information about scraps origin, place, quality and reliability of the supplier;
  • Once the negotiations have been concluded, the purchased lot is sent to buyer by cargo, trucks or trains, arriving at the destination where the compliance checks are carried out;
  • The plant or company of destination, carried out the checks, accept the material to distribute it or process it.

Critical aspects of this virtuous chain are highlighted here:

  • Uncertain international traceability of the scraps and the second raw material that the company, final user, buys;
  • Scraps origin: in the case of companies that do not intend to acquire material from certain countries with socio-political conditions that do not comply with their own compliance, difficulty in obtaining information and certainty on the data;
  • Certification of the quantities purchased;
  • Original scrap quality of the purchased lot;;
  • Verification of company reliability in international sales and purchase relationships;

So what are the advantages for enterprises? How are they facilitated through the platform in the international sale of materials? How does the Blockchain fit into the supply chain?

  • Everything starts from the waste producer: the company or recycling plant physically prepares the lot to be sold. This lot may consist of recyclable materialby-products or second raw material;
  • The company declares and certifies the lot on (data- block contains information about origin, composition, quality, quantity, measurement systems used and certification of measuring instruments). The system generates a block on the Blockchain register that certifies the data.
  • The lot is now visible to international traders who can view the certified description and make their offers. Once the best buyer is identified, the final destination of the lot is registered on the Blockchain.
  • At this point the platform generates a QR code, identifying all the information of that specific lot, which is affixed to the material using a tracer seal and, only after this operation, sent;
  • When the final destination is reached, the recipient validates the delivery on Blockchain by reading the QR code with his smartphone, unlocking the economic transaction agreed with the seller. The payment will be made in the current currency through certified online payment systems (without using cryptocurrency, to avoid the problem of the financial volatility of digital currencies);
  • At the final destination, the lot will be unified with other scarps lots for the production of new raw materials, as shown in the chart.

Sustainability, traceability, safety, fraud and labour explotation are values and benefits on which Sfridoo and MetaRing intend to work. Offering to international waste trade operators a technological service that supports their activities while respecting the environment and the community, according to the principles of sustainability and the circular economy, is the first step towards a new innovative technological frontier.

Sfridoo Circular Economy team

Sfridoo Staff

Article updated on 12/06/2023