International Recycling Group (IRG), a recycling company developing an automated sorting plant in Erie, Pa., Plans to offer direct and on-demand curbside collection of post-use plastics from homes and commercial establishments from Erie. For the curbside pickup service, the recycler teamed up with SmartBlock Beverages FZ LLZ, a UAE-based startup that developed an app called ZeLoop which offers sustainability rewards.

“Imagine being rewarded for effortless recycling in your home on your schedule,” says Mitch Hecht, Founder and President of IRG. “Reducing the use of plastic should be an essential part of all of our lives, but we can now recycle with the confidence that no plastic waste will end up in a landfill and be rewarded for using a simple application. to plan a curbside plastics collection. ”

According to a press release from IRG, the companies are developing a recycling collection system for home and commercial use that will ensure that 100% of plastics in homes and retail businesses can be recycled or have end-of-life use not landfill. The service will include home and in-store pickups of all forms of plastic.

IRG and SmartBlock say the system will be based on other smartphone-based networks, such as Uber, to match consumers and retail establishments with volunteer collectors to pick up their plastic waste. IRG claims that ZeLoop combines “gamification and interaction with social media” with a digital currency system involving green rewards, which are redeemable for other forms of digital currency that can be used to acquire goods and services in within the framework of corporate partnerships.

“[ZeLoop] is a reward system to encourage ‘social gestures’ and, in this case, it’s about doing something right with plastic waste, ”says Hecht. “We will be working with ZeLoop to create a gig economy based plastic waste recycling system. [The app] rewards people for recycling containers.

According to IRG, the companies plan to launch a pilot program of this service in Erie in the summer of 2021. The companies will also work with the Behrend campus of Penn State University in Erie to provide composition analysis and report on the rate of participation. IRG indicates that a life cycle analysis will be carried out on the net environmental impact of the program.

“In communities where services have been cut, this offers the opportunity to be part of a revolutionary plastic recycling solution,” said Chris Dow, CEO of IRG. “Curbside pickup, or front door pickup for those who need help, will allow people to couple their reduction and reuse efforts with recycling. ”

Hecht adds that plastic waste collected in the pilot program will be kept for processing at the IRG-proposed plastic recovery facility (FRP) that it plans to build in Erie. He adds that he hopes to expand the collection to other nearby communities, such as Cleveland or Buffalo, New York.

He says, “Our concept is to use the ZeLoop platform and modify it to allow us to create what is essentially an on-demand, door-to-door collection of 100% plastic waste. So really the concept here is that if you look at so many recycling collection systems that go bankrupt in cities and towns because the [material recovery facility] system is under economic pressure, at the same time you have more and more emerging technologies to handle a wide range and an ever growing range of post-consumer resins. There is a mismatch between the costs of recycling collection systems which are increasing at the same time as there is an ever increasing demand for post-consumer plastic waste. So this gives us a huge opportunity to step into the breach and embrace a system of [plastic recovery facilities] with direct access to residential and commercial generators of this plastic.