In our latest episode of NothingWasted!, we bring you a dynamic session from Waste360 Sustainability Talks — Urban Landfills and the Circular Economy.
The discussion focused on addressing the challenges of increasing global waste; specifically, the growth due to urban populations and consumer culture—and how the shift to a circular economy can increase sustainability.
The panelists were: Bhavik Jani, Client Partner at Infosys and Peter Tevonian, Senior Principle at Infosys. The session was moderated by Liz Rourke, Business Development Executive at Infosys.
Here is a sneak peek:
Jani started the discussion by noting that, “Technology definitely plays a really big role” in tackling waste and achieving circularity—AI, data analytics, motion learning, and more. He suggested that, through better education and an increased use of technology, it will be possible to help homes, businesses, and other waste-generators to sort and route various materials for maximum benefit.
Jani went on to talk about the power of data, and how it can be a boon even to customers. For example, “My neighbor’s trash bins are always overflowing , but for me it’s not even half-filled. I’m paying the same as he’s paying; is there any way to pay more as you throw more out?” He pointed out that companies can leverage predictive models for route planning and dynamic planning, or “based on the season.” Collectors can pre-plan “based on data you are collecting throughout the life cycle.”
Tevonian went on to talk about how technology can help with the recycling of “things that are not raw materials—like parts or motors or electronics.” There is the complex act of understanding “what are the components that make up this product, and being able to identify the features and values of those components, and then being able to find a second buyer for those things…” Technology, he noted, is the “linchpin” to help bring the right people together in this area.
Tevonian also elaborated about the power of geospatial data and its role in sustainability and waste. He noted that, “Any company that deals with natural resources—whether you have lots of land you’re dealing with, or you have a grid of power lines with vegetation encroaching; whether you’re building a facility and need to worry about the future availability of water or power, or dealing with your waste—all of those things can be addressed explored through the used of geospatial data.” In addition to understanding today’s environment, he said, “You have the ability to look forward five, ten years with various models to see how population centers are moving,” and more—both big-picture and granular, to help think through “what we’re facing in the future.”
The speakers both shared what they are most encouraged by today. Tevonian observed that, “Everyone seems to have suddenly ‘gotten it.’ The light switch has been turned on, and there is a huge amount of energy to finding solutions to these waste and sustainability issues. Also, you have senior leaders who are driven to do this, alongside consumers who are motivated and want to do right for the world.” Jani agreed and shared that, “Companies are ready to invest in innovation” and they are “moving in a good direction.”