Why waste management is changing -- and why you should be happy about it

Fri, 2016-02-19 06:00 -- Doug Peeples


With city populations expected to grow at an increasing rate for the next 10 years or so, cities are doing everything they can to keep up with the demand for improved and expanded services and a better quality of life -- and do it while simultaneously finding ways to cut operating costs.

That's a tough job, particularly so where waste management (which can require eight to 10% of a city's budget) is concerned. Olli Gunst, marketing manager for Council Associate Partner Enevo, offers several reasons to take heart. His company provides smart logistics and expertise in waste management and recycling for waste companies and public organizations, so he has inside knowledge of what's to come -- and shared it in the company's first blog post.

First, the circular economy gained a lot of steam in 2015. And that industrial economy with a goal of producing no waste or pollution, and cycling useful materials extracted from waste back in to the supply chain to be used again will continue to grow in 2016 and well into the future, Gunst said.

He cites local government agencies in Victoria, Australia that partnered to create a software tool to target which businesses could potentially trade those resources. A similar project was launched in Detroit to match up business and industry in a system where waste from one company or business would be used as raw materials for another -- all with the goal of reducing the amount of waste, cutting costs and improving economic development.

Why is that happening? As he put it "The main drivers behind circular economy initiatives like these are cost efficiency, reduced waste and emissions, but legislation and regulation is playing an increasing role too."

Waste management technology also is cause for optimism, Gunst said. "The good news is that new technology solutions have reached maturity and are proven to significantly reduce collection costs and the physical impact of waste collection whilst also increasing efficiency, cleanliness and reducing complaints."

There are other factors and drivers involved in moving sustainable waste management forward. You can read about them in his blog.

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Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.