As I write this article, I hear that once again COP27 does not provide great solutions to reduce CO2 emissions. Therefore, if governments do not move forward, it is the companies and ordinary citizens who have to step up to the plate to act by radically changing the way we do things. And in this article we propose an innovative solution that will only be possible if companies and their customers work hand in hand: CREATE ORDERLY WASTE from the individual take-back of discarded objects to their brands for subsequent storage and gradual recovery of their components.
What is tidy waste?
The use of waste as raw material is one of the pillars of the Circular Economy, and although more and more technologies are being developed to recover materials of various kinds, there is a serious problem when we talk about any manufactured product with more than two components: recycling plants receive thousands of tons of different assembled objects that cannot be recovered because their parts are joined together and the materials mixed, which prevents the effective recovery of the raw material.
The term TIDY WASTE of a company proposes to create a protocol for receiving discarded items, sorting them, storing them, separating their parts and recovering them individually.
However, if the tons of waste received were composed of the same type of product with the same components and materials, it would be extraordinarily easier to design a system to contribute to and improve their recovery.
At Revivack we propose a revolutionary new concept that is possible: the term TIDY WASTE proposes that companies include the reverse traceability of their products in their daily management, creating a protocol to receive discarded items individually from their customers, store them, separate their parts and recover them properly through agreements with companies specialized in the recycling of each of the materials. This concept is endorsed by the European Directive on Extended Producer Responsibility, which states, in short, that companies are responsible for the recovery of the products they themselves market, and that each company must implement specific actions to prevent their products from becoming waste at the end of their life.
The ordered garbage is therefore an accumulation of equal discarded products that meet the following characteristics:
- They are stored in the same place.
- The parts of the stored items have exactly the same materials.
- They are all separated with the same system.
- The company has a short, medium or long term recovery plan based on agreements with specific recovery centers.
In addition, the company must know for sure that the balance of CO2 emissions from recovery is negative, i.e. before embarking on the recovery of objects from the individual take-back and creation of sorted waste, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the shipping and material recovery processes must be calculated, as this must be less than the amount saved in the production of the new product.
It is not easy to aim for a paradigm shift in how we do things because our consumption system is linear and very few companies design their products to be recovered.
This all seems very idyllic, but how to achieve it? Clearly, it is not easy to aim for a paradigm shift in the way we do things because our consumption system is linear (consume-produce-throw away) and very few companies design their products to be recovered. However, our environment needs radical changes that will allow us to stop being rich in waste and poor in resources. We tell you what steps need to be taken:
1. Receiving discarded objects individually
If our objective is to create homogeneous waste, we have to promote that those items that a company sold and placed on the market some time ago, return to it or to the place that the company proposes (a warehouse, a special parts separation center). To do this, we must count on the complicity of our customers, who are becoming more and more aware and collaborative, and on their willingness to make the effort to send them back.
Revivack is a system that generates channels that make it easier for people to individually take-back unused objects to companies that wish to receive them in order to create their tidy waste and recover it. To access this system, manufacturing companies must first obtain the Revivack RE2110 Certificate, a very simple seal that guarantees that the entity is ready to receive products and opens the door to the return platform. This certificate is easy to obtain and can be requested here.
2. Store the item, do your research and… be patient
The company must set up a place to store each of the incoming items. What at first may seem a problematic action (where are we going to put them? what are we going to do with all of them?), is something that can be implemented over time since the reception of items will not occur immediately, mainly because the culture of taking back a discarded item has not yet taken hold.
During the storage period, an essential journey must begin in which it is necessary to understand how we are going to separate the parts of that object, and how they are going to be recovered. As we have pointed out, products are manufactured without taking into account their recovery, which can often make these processes difficult. However, we should not be discouraged and start looking for partners to help us in this regard.
Revivack is an entity that accompanies companies on this journey, since it not only offers the possibility of returning products, but also facilitates contact with dismantling or recycling companies that can take charge of the management of some of the components.
3. Separate and recover parts in a traceable and transparent manner
Once it is clear, in whole or in part, how to recover an object, the company can take action. With the collaboration of partners, and thanks to having a clear roadmap and the waste sorted and arranged, it is much easier to proceed to the separation and recovery of components in a progressive manner.
Since the result of the recovery always aims to obtain useful raw material or refurbished parts that can be subsequently marketed, it is also necessary to trace the waste in order to finally certify the origin of the resulting material. For this reason Revivack proposes a reverse traceability system based on blockchain and smart contracts, which will guarantee a recovery process based on transparency and trust.
Some companies have already started
We know that it is not easy to start this process, but many small and medium-sized companies have already begun. Here are two examples:
1. Yuma Labs is a Belgian company that not only produces glasses with certified recycled materials, but the glasses case itself is the “return home” envelope from anywhere in the world in order to recover 100% of the components.
2. Innova Oceanografía litoral is a Spanish company that manufactures and sells oceanographic instruments, accessories and frames for a safe and trustable deploying of oceanographic instruments. They are receiving and recovering their products since May 2022.
3. POPSICASE is a startup that manufactures cell phone cases from fishing nets and can recover 100% of its two pieces through the refurbishment of the aluminum handle and the complete shredding of the case, the powder of which can be re-injected back into the mold to make new cases. POPSICASE already has in Revivack its products to be returned.