Technology is playing a significant role in the ongoing efforts to win the war on waste by improving waste management, reducing waste generation and promoting sustainability.
Efficient Waste Collection
Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled smart bins equipped with sensors can monitor their fill levels in real-time. This data allows waste management companies to optimize collection routes and timing thereby reducing the cost of collection, including fuel consumption and emissions.
Advanced software uses data analytics to plan the most efficient waste collection routes, minimizing travel time and resource use (both human and mechanical).
Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are used in recycling facilities to automate the sorting and separation of recyclable materials, increasing the overall efficiency and cost effectiveness of the recycling process.
Technology, such as near-infrared spectroscopy, is employed to identify and sort various materials, improving the accuracy of recycling operations.
Emerging technologies are being developed to chemically break down plastics and other materials into their base components, making recycling more viable for a broader range of materials.
E-waste in all its myriad forms (computers, smart devices, batteries, peripherals etc) have been recognised as an increasing problematic waste stream, both from a collection and processing perspective. This sector is attracting increased focus as the problem grows ever more serious.
Waste Reduction and Circular Economy
Additive manufacturing, like 3D printing, can produce products with reduced material waste by using only the necessary amount of material.
Digital systems are used to track and report on EPR programs, holding manufacturers accountable for the end-of-life management of their products and packaging. Increasingly there are calls for costs to be embedded in the goods initial purchase price to help fund end- of- life disposal and recycling management.
Waste Prevention and Consumer Engagement
Apps for food waste tracking, recycling guidance and sustainable shopping help individuals make more informed choices and reduce waste.
Technology is used to design packaging that minimizes waste, reduces material usage and ensures product protection during shipping.
Again there is a growing movement whose aim is to reduce the volume of packaging (especially hard plastics) that now accompanies most manufactured goods.
Education and Awareness
Technology platforms are essential for raising awareness about waste-related issues, reaching a global audience.
Immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are employed for educational experiences that teach people about waste reduction and recycling.
At all levels of the education process, students are made aware of the environment in all its various manifestations and the need to protect, nurture and recycle where possible.
Blockchain for Transparency
Blockchain technology ensures transparency and traceability in supply chains, helping verify the authenticity of recycled materials and the responsible management of waste.
While it is in its infancy, the potential for Blockchain the play a meaningful role in the entire life cycle of a product from initial manufacture and provenance through to ultimate recycling and disposal is very exciting.
Waste Data Analytics
Advanced data analytics provide valuable insights into waste generation patterns, enabling organizations, including both the private sector and government, to make informed decisions for waste management and reduction.
Waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies are processes that convert solid waste materials into electricity, heat, or fuel, while simultaneously reducing the volume of waste that needs to be disposed of in landfills. These technologies play a critical role in waste management and sustainability efforts by providing a way to extract value from waste while minimizing environmental impacts.
Incineration is one of the most well-known waste-to-energy technologies. It involves the controlled burning of solid waste at high temperatures, typically in specialized incinerators.
During incineration, the heat generated is used to produce steam, which can then drive turbines to generate electricity or provide district heating.
Advanced air pollution control systems are used to capture and treat emissions, reducing the release of harmful pollutants into the atmosphere.
Incineration can significantly reduce the volume of waste, often by 90% or more, and is especially useful for managing non-recyclable and hazardous waste.
Anaerobic digestion is a biological process that breaks down organic waste materials, such as food scraps and agricultural residues, in the absence of oxygen. Think of it as compositing but with out the presence of oxygen.
Microorganisms digest the organic matter, producing biogas, which is primarily composed of methane and carbon dioxide.
The biogas can be used as a renewable energy source for electricity generation or as a direct source of heat.
The remaining material, called digestate, can be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Gasification is a high-temperature process that converts solid waste into a synthetic gas or syngas, which consists of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane.
The syngas can be used as a fuel for electricity generation, or it can be further processed to produce liquid fuels like synthetic diesel or chemicals.
Gasification has the advantage of being able to handle a wide range of waste materials, including plastics and biomass.
Pyrolysis is a thermal decomposition process that converts organic waste into biochar, liquid bio-oil, and gases in the absence of oxygen.
Biochar can be used as a soil conditioner or for carbon sequestration, while bio-oil can be used as a fuel or feedstock for the chemical industry.
Pyrolysis can be applied to various waste streams, including plastics, tires, and organic materials.
Waste-to-Liquid (WTL) technologies convert waste materials, such as plastics or biomass, into synthetic liquid fuels, including biofuels and synthetic gasoline or diesel.
These fuels can be used in vehicles or as a source of renewable energy.
Waste-to-energy technologies help reduce landfill usage, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and provide renewable energy sources. However, there are challenges to consider, including the environmental impact of emissions and ash disposal in incineration, the need for proper waste segregation and the management of hazardous waste residues. As technology continues to advance, these challenges are being addressed to make waste-to-energy processes more sustainable and efficient.
Technology continues to advance and evolve, offering new opportunities to tackle waste-related challenges. As these innovations mature and become more widespread, they have the potential to significantly contribute to the ongoing efforts to win the war on waste and promote a more sustainable future.
PrimaryMarkets provides investors with access to companies that are shaping the future of global industries and standing at the forefront of the war on waste. We provide access to opportunities previously only accessible to institutional investors. PrimaryMarkets has raised and is raising capital for companies developing processes that are taking innovative approaches to this critical global issue.
Companies such as ARC Ento Tech which has developed a process that consists of processes that are used to recover, re-form and re-purpose all mixed unsegregated waste components. From the recovery of nutrients from the organic waste components to the conversion of plastic waste into hydrogen and industrial carbon, this technology forms the foundation for real solutions to global waste challenges. Shares in Arc Ento Tech trade on the PrimaryMarkets Platform.
Wildfire Energy is converting residual biomass and wastes destined for landfill into higher-value renewable energy products such as electricity and hydrogen and biofuels, with net negative emissions. Wildfire Energy is commercialising the MIHG technology which has been specifically designed to process difficult solid waste residuals into energy products at distributed scale. The MIHG technology uses a revolutionary batch process for gasification of biomass and residual wastes which utilizes a unique horizontal configuration with a moving injection point, which enables economical small-scale distributed processing of these waste residuals for the first time.
PrimaryMarkets exemplifies how innovation can transform the way we invest, trade and raise capital by breaking down traditional barriers, providing liquidity solutions and promoting transparency.
As the Platform continues to grow and evolve it promises to unlock even more opportunities for investors and the companies shaping the future of economies.