Although technology has been on a rapid rise for the last few years, the waste management sector has long been thought of as something of an exception. Traditional methods of communication and booking have remained rather steadfast, with a slow uptake on technology and its potential uses within waste management. But that is set to change, as leading figures within the industry are pioneering various technologies, methods, and apps to bring the waste management world into the digital age.
From food waste to recycling, science to smartphones, join us as we look through various new technologies supporting the waste management’s progress:
The world is wrestling with two major issues: waste and fuel. Landfills cannot sustain us forever, and the worry about greenhouse gasses has pushed the need for solutions to both problems. With anaerobic digestion, we may have found one answer for both questions.
Waste Management World touts the process as being potentially the best technology developed by the waste management sector in recent years. The process sees waste matter being broken down by microorganisms in an oxygen-less environment. The remains left over can be used as fertilizer, and the gas it produces is used for energy. The process is an improvement upon previous methods used to create compost from organic waste.
Anaerobic digestion has the potential to deal with our organic waste, while at the same time, providing gas-based energy. Plus, as humans will always create organic waste, the energy anaerobic digestion creates is classed as renewable energy.
Right now, however, the technology isn’t cheap to run — for anaerobic digestion to work on a commercial scale, a huge investment in large tanks and process vessels is required.
The Guardian reported on another process similar to anaerobic digestions – the use of enzymes to convert used cooking oil to biodiesel. Novozymes has launched Eversa, an enzymatic solution available for commercial use. The process can turn lower grade oils into biodiesel, which in turn, lowers the cost of raw materials for biodiesel producers.
In addition to converting used cooking oil as a raw material, Eversa gets rid of the requirement of sodium methoxide, which is one of the most hazardous chemicals used in biodiesel plants. Removing such hazardous substances is a benefit to both human and environmental safety.
Automated waste collection
As a potential solution to waste management, pollution, and traffic issues, Greener Ideal reported on the growing use of automated waste collection. Essentially, the process would see an underground network of tubes linking homes and designated outlets to a waste collection centre. People would have a bin for general waste, organic waste, and paper waste, and would sort their rubbish and recycling as is standard today. When the bins reach a certain limit, the bottom would open to “flush” the waste out through vacuum tubes. No more putting the bins out!
The system isn’t brand new – it is being used at Disney World already, as well as in parts of Europe. There are plans to make it more mainstream, but has been held up at points by concerns over larger items of waste not being able to go into the automated waste collection outlets.
Embracing the rise of app culture, waste management companies have begun to develop and release apps to help businesses and residents address their waste in a more efficiently, environmentally friendly manner.
Too Good To Go
Too Good To Go, for example, is an app that allows people to buy food that restaurants are going to throw away (excess and surplus at the end of the working day) for cheap. The app is currently active in eight European countries, and plans to expand further.
The app is connected with over 5,000 stores, 3 million users, and claims to have saved 2.5 million meals’ worth of surplus food.
The app is currently available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
SiteBuddy has been developed by the UK’s leading provider of outsourced waste management and recycling services, Reconomy. The app allows businesses to hire, off-hire, exchange, or reorder a range of skips, from wait and load skip hire to hazardous waste skips.
The app also allows users to respond to any on-site issues or project developments quickly and efficiently – without any delay from phone calls or waiting to book an order. It works alongside Reconomy’s online portal too, which will store a full audit trail.