If you’re frustrated because up to 86% of your plastic doesn’t get recycled, it’s great news that ReCircle is developing a domestic recycling appliance. The ReCircle appliance will process your glass, plastic and metal recycling in your own kitchens to such a purity that it can be 100% closed-loop recycled back into glass bottles, plastic containers and metal cans, saving about 3000kg of CO2 over the appliance lifetime.
Sounds great. But will it work? The ReCircle team has been working for 10 years to make sure that it will.
State-of-the art technology
Mechanical Engineers Aldous Hicks, Phil Sanders and Gilles Pöltinger have the technological knowhow to revolutionise the recycling process.
Aldous has 30 years experience in complex project development, particularly in the area of environmentally sustainable technology. He has worked as a technology and software developer, project manager and mechanical engineer, including developing water and material recycling technology. Before becoming CEO of ReCircle, Aldous developed SOHO custom PC database software and worked with Mannesmann Demag AG, a multi-national German mechanical heavy engineering company.
Phil has been responsible for developing a number of patented R&D innovations in both the automotive and appliance industries including a range of modular, flat-pack refrigerators for use in remote areas.
Gilles began his profession career at Nuga AG in Switzerland as the senior engineer designing the high-performance minimal footprint Centricut range of plastic cutting and grinding systems.
When you load recyclables in your ReCircle, its exception sensors will guarantee you place your used-packaging in the correct bay and warn you of any contamination such as plastic tamper rings or metal sleeves on glass bottles. ReCircle provides easy and user-friendly gismos that will remove this contamination so it will be acceptable to your ReCircle appliance. The sensor technology is already in use in material-reclamation facilities, material-processing facilities, and food quality assurance. World recognised experts in nanobiotechnology, advanced materials and sensors will be working with ReCircle to miniaturise the sensors so that they will work on a domestic scale and to ensure that they are resistant to corrosion in a wet washing environment.
To clean the materials, the ReCircle will use high-speed water jets such as are used in conventional dishwashers. In order to use as little water as possible, the wash water will run through a series of user-serviceable filters to capture smaller and smaller particles, allowing the wash water to be recirculated without contaminating the items being cleaned.
In early testing phases, Phil used a domestic dishwasher to see what types of container, contents and label are likely to be hard to process and what parameters need to be looked at in terms of temperature, spray pressure, detergent etc. and to resolve potential problems.
The drying technology will also be state-of-the-art, at the top of the drying performance specification.
When your used-packaging is clean and dry, your ReCircle appliance will grind the glass, flake the plastic and compact the metal cans. The resultant volume reduction ensures the average household will only need to empty their machine every two months or so. To adapt existing technology for this domestic use, Gilles Pöltinger will be responsible for developing the plastic granulator and glass grinder.
At this point, the now valuable close-loop recyclable products are stored in their eight separate containers: brown glass, green glass, clear glass, PET, HDPE, ferrous metals, and aluminium, until the containers are ready to be collected.
ReCircle Recycling Limited’s (RRL) technology is protected with patents granted in the USA, Canada, Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea and pending in Europe and India. These countries represent a huge potential market – 70% of the world’s Gross National Product.
The ReCircle appliance will be Carbon Negative. Over its lifetime, operating the average Recircle appliance will generate approximately 1000kg of CO2 emissions., But by reducing the need to manufacture new containers from virgin materials, the ReCircle will save nearly 4000kg of CO2 over its lifetime – a net saving of nearly 3000kg of CO2.
In addition, the ReCircle will deliver cash value to used-materials, providing a financial incentive for people to recycle responsibly maximising their close-loop recycling, and reducing waste materials in the environment.
The next stage for the ReCircle team is to build the prototype.
Getting started with Crowdcube Crowdfunding
Developing the ReCircle prototype will cost £1.25 million. To raise these funds, ReCircle Recycling Ltd will be pitching on the UK equity crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube. CrowdCube is the world’s most successful equity crowdfunding platform and was named the top performing UK equity crowdfunding platform in 2018. CrowdCube’s excellent and continuing track record provides a trusting investment pathway for both smaller and larger investors.
ReCircle’s equity crowdfunding pitch opens in March 2019. Two substantial investors have committed to lead this crowdfunding round. ReCircle is expecting investor interest from the UK, Europe and Australia. The equity crowdfunding campaign allows both small and large amounts to be invested in this early round to ensure the prototype is built, with investment opportunities starting at as little as GBP £10.
Beyond the Prototype
ReCircle is designing the ReCircle appliance to be suitable for hi-tech, robot-operated assembly-line manufacturing in preparation for the first full-scale roll-out beginning in 2022. The roll-out will target 423,000 “affluent” US households – as defined by the US 2015 Census - in an environmentally-conscious urban area in California.
When these appliances are installed and producing pure, closed-loop recycled products – or ReProduct® – ReCircle will roll out the pick-up system, using existing state-of-the-art technology in its custom-built product collection vehicles (PCV). In the early stages, the PCVs will be mounted on trailers and will be towed by SUVs. The cost of each PCV will be much lower than the current recycling pick-up or dump truck.
The recyclables from ReCircle appliances will be marketed under the ReProduct® brand.
Since China stopped taking in the West’s purported recycling material, this has left countries scrambling for solutions, leading the West to dump recyclables in other South-East Asian countries like Malaysia. However, Europe is coming to the realisation that there is a huge need to regulate this trade. The likely result will be a substantial reduction in this international trade of recyclables. Governments and consumers are realising that it is essential to reduce the environmental costs of dumping these materials in other countries’ backyards, creeks and rivers.
The UK government’s 2018 budget announced a new tax on packaging that doesn’t contain at least 30% recycled materials. When the ReCircle domestic appliance is rolled out, it will produce ReProduct® recyclables that will assist manufacturers to meet, and then exceed, the recycled material quota. The EU has implemented similar processes to deliver incentives for used-packaging materials to be closed-loop recycled. Others around the world are likely to follow and ReCircle will offer a streamlined solution to make filling these quotas easily attainable.