Digital Technologies and Plastic Waste
Digital technologies have transformed many industries in the past two decades. It began with the spread of the internet, then mobile technologies, and later smartphones. Now technologies related to AI, IoT, 3D printing and Blockchain are creating disruptive solutions for sustainability and the environment. Digital technologies are closing the loop on the plastic circular economy by eliminating friction from supply chains, providing real-time information, and collecting or sorting waste more efficiently.
In this issue of your Ubuntoo digest, we focus on innovations that use innovative digital technologies to address the problem of plastic waste. Just click on the links below or use your Ubuntoo login to browse our solutions by entering keywords into the search bar. Feel free to recommend any solutions you know that we may have missed. Or post a query on our forums to get answers from experts in our community.
Disruptive Digital Technologies
When you think of plastic waste, you rarely think of cutting-edge digital technologies. And yet, there is a new breed of innovators who are applying tools that are typically associated with Silicon Valley to address the age-old problem of managing our waste.
- Smart machines – a Polish innovator has developed an automatic waste-sorting device that takes the guesswork out of recycling. This smart bin segregates and compresses refuse to save space and decrease the frequency of waste removal. When an item is tossed into the bin, Bin-e identifies the type of waste using AI and image processing and automatically separates the materials. An interactive and smart bottle recycling machine in France integrates a “shredding at the source” technology, reducing the volume of recycled material to be sent back to processors. And a US innovator is helping corporations with dynamic and automated recycling using robots.
- Blockchain - The Plastic Bank from Canada, powered by the IBM blockchain, is working in Haiti, The Philippines and Indonesia to turn plastic waste into a currency. A company in the UK is developing a blockchain technology to deliver solutions that revolutionize the way items are tracked through a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic bottles. And a Norwegian model has been developed to pay people who collect waste plastic all over the world.
- Smartphone Apps - An online cloud solution in the City of Sao Paulo, Brazil is implementing an automated waste management system that allows traceability and real-time tracking of waste interactions within the whole value chain. A decentralised platform and marketplace in the Philippines monetizes waste at a grassroots level to incentivise people to clear waste from their streets.
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition announced ReNew ELP as the winner of the Flexpack Recovery Challenge at their recently concluded SPC Impact conference in Seattle. Congratulations to the winning team and to the finalists. Ubuntoo is proud to have played a significant role in making this challenge a success.
MIT Solve has announced a Circular Economy Challenge to identify how people can create and consume goods that are renewable, repairable, reusable, and recyclable.
This week, we launched a new video about an innovation from the Ubuntoo community –Poppits Toothpaste Their solution could prevent 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes from reaching landfills every year.
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“Cradle to Cradle is like good gardening; it is not about
'saving' the planet but about learning to thrive on it.”
― Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things