The article explains how the current situation of urban waste management can be improved using digital technologies with examples of solutions that are being provided by two Horizon 2020 projects: Waste4Think (led by the University of Deusto) and PlastiCircle.
On average, 26% of total domestic waste is landfilled, 27% is incinerated and only 47% is composted or recycled. Currently, 34% of packaging waste – which is the 63% of the total plastic waste in Europe- is recycled. Food waste accounts to 47 million tons in Europe out of which 80% of food waste could be avoided. This current average European baseline for the municipal waste should be improved. In this way, Waste4Think project and and PlastiCircle are providing some interesting solutions.
Both projects use Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies for monitoring waste fractions at household level and in relation to transportation. Both PlastiCircle and Waste4Think use telematics and Internet of Things (IoT) to optimise collection service based on the filling level or weight of containers, GPS and tags, as well as traffic and driving behaviour. Thus, the CO2 footprint (which is also calculated) and resources used for collection (person hours/ petrol/ amortisation of vehicles) are minimised.
The two projects are creating opportunities for new business models. A good example is the “eco-points” reward programme for good sorting of recyclables. It is is geared to penalise citizens’ poor behaviour and has as advantage that it is on a voluntary basis – thus it can be gradually deployed as it does not require locking the collection containers.
You can read the full article at EASME webpage.
For more information about the Waste4Think project, please consult this page.