Digital Technology to Manage Plastics Recyclables

Digital Technology


Globally, plastic and pollution have captured the attention of the public, governments, and businesses around the world. While the search for solutions has started, we now agree that cleaning up plastics waste recyclables is not enough. A systemic shift tackling the root causes is required: a transition towards a circular economy for plastic, in which plastic never becomes waste.

The problem with India’s recyclable waste scene is that it is ‘disposal’ led rather than being governed by themes of ‘recovery’, reuse’ and ‘recycle’. Thus, the topic of sustainability is critical today! Gory images of fish dying due to plastics in the ocean and landfill heaps higher than that of the Qutub Minar have made its way to all of us. The government’s Swachh Bharat mission is one among various programs in India to ensure that waste streams are channelized effectively.

However, governments and businesses globally and in India are betting hard to put an end to this situation. For instance, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation brought together 11 leading companies committed to work towards 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable plastic packaging by 2025. Also, programs such as those by TerraCycle in the US offers free recycling programs funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers around the world to help collect and recycle hard-to-recycle waste.

In India too, the government via the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has thrust Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) upon producer brands of plastics (and electronics) to collect or ‘take-back’ used and after-use plastics back from users and channelize the same to authorized recyclers.

Why households do not responsibly dispose plastics?

Households today generate varying amounts of plastics and they do not consider it as a recyclable (something with value) because they are clueless as to its prices, have no incentive to do so, and are devoid of channels to pick such materials up in a convenient way.

In short,
> Most people face an acute shortage of space due to the never-ending piles of old and used stuff lying at home.
> It’s a challenge to locate someone to pick up unwanted household recyclables by scheduling a pickup as per your convenience. This service is not available on demand.
> People are not aware of the right price for household recyclables. Also, the weighments are not standard leading to potential loss of value for households.
> Without incentives, there is no push to segregate and to ensure that used materials enter the circular economy. Consumer behavior won’t change without incentives.

Recykal addresses this by allowing users

> Instant exchange: 100% redemption options available to exchange old goods against a range of very attractive household products.
> Reliable single-click on-demand doorstep pickup: Scheduling a pickup could never be easier. Slot-based convenient pick-up options during the day are available.
> Earn & redeem: Earn attractive points against recyclables disposed of and redeem against an attractive range of products
> Earn from brand sponsored programs: Participate in exclusive take-back programs by India’s leading consumer brands
> Track sustainability metrics: Become a sustainability champion. Track and share the environmental impact created by users by exchanging your recyclables.

Recykal’s Sustainability Technology Addresses the Issue at its Core!

Recykal’s sustainability technology connects various stakeholders to create one of its kind ecosystem via a digital technology platform enabling transactions between the consumers, businesses, waste collectors and recyclers. Further, Recykal’s customer-facing sustainability technology  promises digital awareness at a massive scale to educate a very large audience about the importance of recycling and segregation. Also, the customer-facing technology is enhanced with the use of configurable incentives to ensure that users push themselves to segregate and move greater volumes away from landfill.

Technology Solutions allow for 100% transparency and traceability in which users can track and trace the status of on-demand logistics, avail SMS, in-app and email notifications, avail sustainability impact reports and trace the life cycle for their products till the time it is responsibly disposed of by the recycler. Finally, technology brings about price discovery for all stakeholders allowing waste-pickers increased collection volumes and higher incomes.

By addressing the pains of stakeholders, Recykal directly provides technology solutions for households, small and medium & enterprise businesses (which comprise generators); informal sector (comprises the processors); kabadiwalas, aggregators (processors) and recyclers, destructors and alternate users of recyclables.

Recykal works with all major categories of dry waste recyclables with an emphasis on plastics, e-waste and paper.

Case Study: Plastics Take Back Program on Uzed – A Recyclable Exchange Platform

Recykal signed up a particular FMCG company to collect post-use popcorn packaging.
The plastics take back program currently live on the Uzed app collects plastics recyclables for users on behalf of a brand governed by EPR.

The plastics take back program also works with partner businesses, allowing producer brands to collect used plastics from its users. The example below shows the example of  producer brand taking-back post-use packaging from hotels and restaurants – it’s bulk consumers. See how it works below!

Finally, via awareness drives for the informal sector, Recykal’s digital technology allows for massive awareness for the informal sector, allowing waste pickers the access to brand’s take back plans.

Recykal is your perfect partner in fulfilling EPR!

We know that FMCG or consumer packaged goods are sold very quickly and are of relatively low cost. As per the government’s EPR laws, FMCG brands in Maharashtra are mandated to ‘take-back’ used packaging from users. Brands are mandated to set aside 2-3% of their top line to budget for collecting used packaging from users. Plastics EPR is stirring up very quickly and all state governments and brands have started readiness activities to tackle it.

Existing challenges:

> FMCG brands currently do not have any established reverse logistics set up to initiate take-back of used materials from its users

> Lack of any mechanism to for multi-location pickup of expired or damaged goods from dealers, distributors or retail points

> There is no ecosystem in place for take-back programs from consumers directly in absence of tertiary sales data

> No visibility into the movement of materials from pick up location to the next hop where it is brought or further movement of the same

> Also, measuring the extent of awareness generated from various online and offline campaigns is very challenging.

> Recyclables generated during manufacturing and packaging are disposed of by informal channels, therefore, lacking visibility of sustainability impact created and compliance related documentation.

Recykal’s Digital Technology Solution for EPR

> Fulfill EPR Targets: Recykal platform connects waste generators with recyclers, thus helping both to close a transaction between them. Materials traded on the platform can be attributed to the fulfillment of your EPR targets by disclosing necessary deal-specific documentation and material movement details.

> Participation in an ecosystem for customized take back solutions: Launch your customized digital take back solution inviting participation from your consumers. Incentivize them by digital distribution of discount coupons for subsequent purchases. Provide options for doorstep pickup or drop at designated dealer locations.

> Connect with users: Digitally connect with your users and customers, drive awareness programs and push digital content related to your company’s sustainability efforts.

> Technology enabled customer incentivization: Customers are incentivized by brands configuring campaigns: provide in-app incentives on Uzed, cash, coupons and other exchange offers, and allowing customers to redeem at partner stores, brand’s stores or with third party aligned channels (ex: leveraging Bigbasket for FMCG food packaging).

Co-Founder & Chief Customer Officer at Recykal

Co-Founder at Recykal

Founder of Recykal

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