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[As read in recycling-magazine.com] Consolidating the recycling supply chain

October 26, 2020

The existing recycling supply chain is a pain point for would-be recycled polymer buyers. Edouard Garreau, co-founder of Polytopoly.com sets out how bringing the supply chain together digitally will improve the customer experience.

A digitally powered circular economy

For Europe to build a truly circular plastics waste economy, a multi-billion euro industry in the making, greater cooperation amongst all key players to streamline the process from start to finish is a must. That is why bringing the supply chain together digitally onto one platform will make all the difference.

Innovative French circular economy start-up Polytopoly.com is one company doing just that, bringing together nearly 300 polymer recyclers from across Europe into one platform to consolidate the procurement process. It has its own laboratory to analyse and certify every polymer source available on the platform against strict safety and quality standards of its own, as well as adhering to the European Commission’s regulations. By having complete insight into the quality of materials listed, Polytopoly.com can easily match specific manufacturer requirements such as grade, price, quantity, quality, and characteristics to the various solutions available from different recyclers.

By collating the data from all the materials into one place, the platform also provides a new level of market transparency. The platform automatically collates pricing and quality data together, creating a much simpler decision-making process. With prices displayed including delivery, it makes recycled options much easier to compare against virgin materials. By bringing together the supply chain, Polytopoly.com smooths a path for easier coordination and it can also leverage the network to find materials more easily on behalf of manufacturers too.

A case in point, a composite decking manufacturer came to Polytopoly.com to ask for their helping in sourcing a suitable source of recycled plastic to manufacture their range of building materials. The manufacturer had two key requirements. First, the recycled materials would need to be able to combine with wood in a certain way so as to retain its strength but be malleable during production. Second, the final product would need to have specific permeability properties. Together, the two requirements formed an interesting request. Relying on Polytopoly.com’s laboratory expertise, the manufacturer was able to test potential feedstocks for these characteristics before committing to an order.

A carbon saving

The composite decking industry is just one way to use recycled plastic that could help to reduce carbon emissions and keep millions of bottles and other single use items out of landfill and out of the ocean. But there are thousands more all over the world. By bringing the supply chain together and developing the necessary expertise to match any specification to a feedstock, Polytopoly.com could reduce carbon emissions by millions of tonnes. That is because, for every tonne of plastic that is recycled, three to five barrels of oil are saved. On top of that, it can also help to cut down on transportation miles, by helping local manufacturers and suppliers to find each other. It is a model that can be replicated worldwide.

While the oil price has tumbled recently, making virgin plastics cheaper than ever, the interest in recycled plastics has not waned. Hurdles remain, such as implementing recycling techniques suitable for the recycled polymers to enter the food plastics market. But the next major step for the industry will be to reach a level of scale and standardisation that means manufacturers need not worry about feedstock reliability or need to choose between competitive pricing and sustainability. They can have both.

Read the full article here.