Innovators for recycling

Plastics will be the material of our future – particularly regarding challenges such as renewable energies, new forms of mobility or sustainable construction. Nevertheless, we have to solve problems related to this material. For example, by keeping raw materials in the value chain rather than wasting resources. Recycling has been around for ages, and still: there’s great potential in it.

Recycling from waste to resource

How can we deal with all the plastic circulating around the globe? How can we, for example, turn huge amounts of plastic waste from a problem into a solution? What is the right approach to achieve a fully circular economy?
Spoiler ahead: there won’t be any simple answers! But there are people who try to figure out what actually can be done with new technology or with the tools and solutions at hand. People who see every product, every piece of waste as a recyclable substance and a potential source of raw materials. And who are capable of managing any stream of this raw material individually. Let’s get to know them!
Alexander Maak from the German recycling services provider Interzero tells us how complex recycling processes are. Something that Interzero is quite familiar with – managing the full supply chain of raw materials while providing highest transparency.
We get in touch with Ton Vries who has found a chemical solution to recycle plastic waste containing BTX (benzene, toluene and xylene) aromatics and refeed them into the value chain. His company BioBTX in the city of Groningen has developed a prototype aiming to progress for industrial scale and proof of use. 
Also, from the Netherlands, Circularise founder Mesbah Sabur talks about how to support recycling with a digital solution. Aiming for an increased transparency (and efficiency) by lowering the fear of revealing precious material knowledge and patents, his company has developed a public blockchain solution for this issue. Thus, enabling full transparency for recyclers on complex products.

Interviewees express general views not connected to the specific companies mentioned or shown.
The mission of Interzero is to design loops along the entire value chain of their customers and partners. They offer expert guidance for circular management and put their "Zero Waste" concept into practice by returning and reusing used products and components, applying their expertise in innovative waste treatment methods and leveraging a strong reverse logistics network.
BioBTX develops technology for a circular world. They produce benzene, toluene, and xylenes (BTX) sustainably, from biomass and plastics. The company does not consider waste a problem, and instead sees it as a building block for renewable chemicals. Its technology contributes to move from a linear fossil world to a circular renewable society.
Mesbah Sabur and his co-founder Jordi de Vos started Circularise in 2016, after visiting a number of recyclers in the Netherlands. Here they had learned that many products sent to recycling plants end up being incinerated, because recyclers don’t know the components of these products. With Circularise they strive to improve transparency and traceability across complex supply chains.