Promoting the shift from the linear economy towards a circular economy and fostering transparency in the processes, raising awareness and reducing costs are the goals of CircularChain, the cooperation ecosystem that Ecoembes and Minsait are developing in order to build the blockchain platform for the circular economy in Spain.
It’s a project that has posed a major challenge in terms of technological innovation and it will have a considerable impact on environmental sustainability. This network of distributed records will help public authorities, local entities, operators, recyclers and other organizations to securely share and control all the data in the system and speed up all the transactions related to the waste selection process.
It will also allow the agile implementation of smart audit systems based on the records generated by everyone involved in the chain in order to demonstrate that both corporations and governments are complying with their environmental commitments with regard to waste management, thus generating environmental monitoring systems.
As a result of this technology, it will be possible to have a single source of accurate information and unalterable records, providing greater transparency and auditing capacity for all the operations and transactions carried out by those involved in the ecosystem. Furthermore, as there is no central system, the platform has no overall infrastructure development and maintenance costs are shared by the various participants.
“By capitalizing on the role of facilitator that Ecoembes plays within the circular economy we’ve begun to create a collaborative environment based on the pillar of transparency and innovative technology with the aim of gradually involving the other agents in the sorting, collection and recycling process so as to consolidate a reference ecosystem within the sector”, explained the Minsait spokesperson.
CircularChain will facilitate the recording of unalterable information on the traceability (removal identifier, plant, type of material or potential non-compliance, among others) and documentary evidence to ensure the existence of a document at any given time and allow testing if amendments subsequently occur. It also permits the establishment of smart agreements (e.g. on material or packaging deliveries) to facilitate payment automation and penalties in the event of defaulting.
The initiative has already demonstrated its benefits through the development of a complete traceability use case which is in operation in the process for the removal of selected material from the plants and storing the relevant data on its transfer to the recyclers’ facilities and the information of its acceptance at its destination (or the opening of a non-compliance process in the event that an agreement is not reached).
It includes the recording of hundreds of daily transactions associated with the removal of material from more than 90 sorting plants and its transfer to more than 70 recyclers throughout Spain. The figures for the month of November amount to more than 3,700 removals and around 14,500 transactions recorded on the blockchain platform.
“The platform facilitates the real-time management and monitoring of the packaging removal process by the agents involved”, state Minsait.
“This initiative has posed a challenge in terms of technological innovation, but it will provide excellent opportunities and future scaling potential with a view to incorporating more organizations and use cases and building the circular economy’s blockchain network in Spain”, stated the Ecoembes spokesperson.
In this regard, Ecoembes and Minsait highlight the value of CircularChain for public authorities “by making it easier for them to view their information on the processes of the circular economy, in an audited and unalterable way, as well as their integration into a network that encourages public-private collaboration between administrations so as to move towards sustainability.” In addition, they state that it will help provide answers for a citizenry that has an ever-growing demand for “more transparent and innovative solutions.”