Revolutionising recycled plastics traceability with blockchain in Japan: Circularise, AMITA, Marubeni, and J-CEP join forces


THE HAGUE, Netherlands, 17 May, 2023 - Circularise, a blockchain company that develops digital product passports to drive traceability and sustainability in the most complex supply chains, joins the pilot project with Japan Circular Economy Partnership (J-CEP), AMITA Corporation, and Marubeni Corporation. Within this project partners want to address one of the biggest challenges in the plastics industry - how to trace materials and prove they are recycled. 

Today, consumers are increasingly demanding more information about the products they purchase. In addition, regulatory bodies, such as the EU Commission, are now mandating traceability and supply chain due diligence with sustainability regulations like the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Eco-Design Directive, and the European Battery Regulation. This trend is expected to expand into other regions, including Japan and the US, as similar regulatory demands are anticipated. It is therefore crucial for organisations to provide verifiable end-to-end data in order to maintain their licence to operate and sell or purchase products and services in the future.

Jordi de Vos, the co-founder of Circularise, explains “We are actively expanding our operation in Japan. The goal is to help Japanese companies increase the use of recycled materials and transition to a circular economy. End-to-end traceability is a must if we want to achieve that. Our partnership with AMITA, Marubeni and J-CEP is an important milestone in supporting this mission and we are excited to work on this supply chain traceability project together.”

Currently, data systems that support traceability lack connectivity, and securely and confidentially sharing data while providing transparency is a challenging task. Nonetheless, organisations will soon be mandated to disclose information on:

  • Where products, components, and materials come from
  • What they are made of and how they are produced
  • What the environmental and sustainability impacts are across the value chain, such as Scope 3 emissions, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), provenance or sourcing composition of materials
  • How materials can be recovered at End-of-Life (EoL)

To address this challenge AMITA Corporation, Marubeni Corporation and other participants of J-CEP partnered with Circularise to use its supply chain traceability software to create a Digital Product Passport (DPP) for recycled plastics.

Circularise's Digital Product Passport solutions gather data on a product and its supply chain and share it across entire value chains so all actors, including consumers, have a better understanding of the materials and products they use and their embodied environmental impact. 

In a previous joint project with LyondellBasell, Neste, recycler QCP, Uponor, and Samsonite, Circularise's traceability software was used to create a digital product passport or “digital twin” of a suitcase to detail its environmental impact and recording changes in its physical lifecycle. This collaboration allowed the parties to better understand their supply chains and gain knowledge about the life cycle impact of products.

Two trials will be conducted from April to September. Circularise’s traceability software will be used to trace the plastic bottle caps collected from the AMITA Meguru Station facility across the supply chain to produce recycled plastics and consequently use them in different industrial parts, consumer goods and packaging. Circularise will provide insights into the composition of recycled content in the final products to J-CEP partners without sharing sensitive and proprietary information. This will be achieved with Circularise’s patented ‘Smart Questioning’ technology. Fundamentally, it will enable companies to selectively share data with their customers, auditors or regulators with the highest level of privacy and confidentiality.

“We believe that DPPs play a very important role in realising the Circular Economy, however, we are facing the difficulty to implement DPPs in Japanese society by a single company. Therefore, we feel that there is a great deal of potential and expectation in carrying out this simulation as J-CEP, whose members include companies from a wide range of industries and business sectors, including raw material procurement, production and sales, recovery and circulation”, - says SATO Hiroyuki, Representative secretary of J-CEP, Vice Chairman and Chief Engagement and Partnerships Officer of Amita Holdings. “Through this simulation, the feasibility of introducing the DPP in Japan will be verified and enhanced, and efforts will be made to create a mechanism to encourage companies to change their behaviour”.

Digital product passports are critical to achieving a circular economy, particularly for plastic materials. With Japanese regulators actively supporting the transition to more sustainable operating models, Circularise aims to provide supply chain actors and other stakeholders with useful information to improve compliance, quality assurance, and accelerate the shift to a circular economy.

About Circularise

Circularise is a digital product passports and mass balance bookkeeping software provider founded in The Netherlands in 2016. Circularise’s software system helps suppliers in chemicals, plastics, battery materials, metals, and other industries to trace materials and share their environmental footprint without risking their sensitive data. By extension, it helps brands to get visibility into their own Scope 3 emissions and other metrics, which is aligned with the regulatory push around Digital Product Passports, the SEC’s proposed climate risk disclosure rules, and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. 

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About AMITA Corporation

AMITA is a Japanese company that provides environmental and energy-related services, including waste management, renewable energy, and water treatment. As a member of J-CEP, AMITA is committed to promoting circular business models and resource efficiency, as well as collaborating with other stakeholders to advance the circular economy in Japan.

About Marubeni Corporation

Marubeni is a major Japanese trading and investment company that operates in a wide range of industries, including energy, metals and minerals, and food and agriculture. Marubeni has made a commitment to advancing the circular economy through its participation in J-CEP and other initiatives, including the Japan Climate Leaders' Partnership and the Japan Plastic Initiative.

About J-CEP

The Japan Circular Economy Partnership (J-CEP) is a consortium of companies, organizations, and individuals working to promote the circular economy in Japan. The participants of J-CEP include a diverse range of stakeholders from various sectors, including major corporations, SMEs, NGOs, research institutions, and government agencies.

J-CEP aims to promote the circular economy by identifying opportunities for circular business models, promoting circular design and innovation, and raising awareness of the benefits of circular economy among stakeholders. J-CEP provides a platform for collaboration among its members, including businesses, NGOs, academia, and government, to share best practices, exchange knowledge and expertise, and develop joint initiatives to advance the circular economy in Japan.