Recycling Supply Chain Verification and Measurement System - Blockchain and GIS-Based

EPA Contract Number: 68HERC22C0023
Title: Recycling Supply Chain Verification and Measurement System - Blockchain and GIS-Based
Investigators: Robberson, William
Small Business: Kamilo, Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: December 1, 2021 through May 31, 2022
Project Amount: $99,998
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I (2022) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Description:

The broad expectations of U.S. plastics recycling programs over the last five decades have not been met and the fate of most discarded plastic products and packaging is unknown. There are many challenges facing the health of domestic plastic recycling – including high contamination rates, export restrictions, and low cost of alternatives such as use of virgin plastic and landfilling. Kamilo’s innovative technology platform responds to the need to improve the market value of recovered plastics and provide low cost, transparent and trusted techniques to measure, track, and verify the sustainable management of reusable resources. While Kamilo’s patent-pending technology has been initially developed to track recovered plastic, it is easily adaptable to other recovered materials such as paper/cardboard, glass, aluminum, biosolids and e-waste.

Kamilo has validated and developed the technical approach to our blockchain and GIS-based verification and measurement system through practical and operational experience with GIS; field data collection, management and system development; and study and research. Extensive interviews and discussions with recycling industry stakeholders including municipalities, MRF operators, recycling brokers and processors, waste generators, manufacturers, regulators, consumer brands and individuals show almost universal agreement that more transparency is needed and would benefit the recycling market. Higher value paid for sustainably managed materials would make the industry more resilient and create incentives for investments in capacity, sortation technology, and education.

A critical step to building circularity is increasing the value of recovered plastic which stimulates greater investment in collection and sortation, and pulls material currently lost to landfill, incineration and the environment back into the recycling stream. There are tens of thousands of potential municipal and private customers for this service in the U.S. alone – though the platform can be deployed globally. We estimate that the market size for tracking and verification of sustainable outcomes just for plastic currently being recycled in the US (<10% of plastic collected) is $330 million. Our system will be highly scalable and deployable in a turn-key manner at participating facilities using our mobile app on hand-held devices, requiring no equipment installation or capital improvements. Kamilo’s system also quantifies the prevention of plastic pollution and the prevention of greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with fossil fuel production and the manufacturing of virgin plastic. To our knowledge there are no similar technology solutions.

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report