Mitigating sustainability in business continues with new technological solutions to minimise the amount of waste ending up in landfills. In the UK, commercial and industrial waste has reached 40.4 million tonnes, a significant increase since previous years. Statistically, the waste is generated by mineral components, soils and household wastes. On the other side, wood, glass and plastic are the last waste generators.
Managing business waste has several benefits for companies, from saving money to conserving natural resources. Still, few have provided a proper management system to minimise waste and maximise resources. On top of that, some companies have been accused of greenwashing, from McDonalds that made non-recyclable paper straws to H&M for falsely advertising their products as environmentally friendly.
However, commercial and industrial waste are not to be ignored since they considerably affect the environment. So, to support businesses whose activities mainly rely on technology, we’ve gathered a few high-tech solutions that can be leveraged in this matter.
Compactors help cut operational costs
Whether it’s about construction or retail, companies that deal with a lot of waste have the option to use compactors to cut operational costs since they reduce waste volume. This increases the warehouse and company space, minimising the risk of accidents and complying with site hygiene and safety.
Moreover, the use of balers and compactors for cardboard, one of the most prominent materials in businesses, lowers labour costs by helping employees focus on more essential tasks besides physically dealing with waste.
Compactors are operated by simply pressing a few buttons, so managing waste won’t longer be time-consuming. At the same time, your company will be able to comply with the legal framework imposed by the government since this solution has a considerably smaller carbon footprint associated with its functioning.
Nanotechnology downsizes food packaging waste
Food packaging waste is a serious issue that has only recently been appropriately treated. Packaging is essential in a product’s lifecycle, and entering this process can disrupt the supply chain. Single-use packaging has numerous times saved companies from high operational costs but is now generating an alarming amount of plastic waste.
That’s why using nanotechnology can create better food packaging that is sustainable and doesn’t alter the product quality. It provides an extra coating to biodegradable materials like cardboard or paper to prevent leaks and protect fruits and vegetables, for example, from outside impurities. Nanotechnology adds antimicrobial nano-materials to the product so they do not spoil fast without interfering with its natural perishability process.
Genetic engineering creates a new product alternative
The use of natural fibres is vital in mitigating sustainability issues because they allow the use of alternative resources. For example, hemp, flax and jute can be extensively used as plastic substitutes beyond their regular use as fabrics or textiles.
Luckily, genetic engineering makes this possible by combining natural fibres with other materials, like recycled or plant-based ones, to strengthen and expand their usability. For example, hemp plastic is now an advantageous solution with a lighter mass than regular plastic, more economical and durable. At the same time, it’s biodegradable and eco-friendly, which would save companies millions.
Bio-based polymers have outstanding mechanical and thermal properties
Biodegradable polymer is the latest invention aimed at sustainability, and it derives from lactic acids from sugar cane, corn and even sugar beets. It’s one of the most durable and presents low toxicity, which is why it’s currently used in textiles, electronics and packaging. Moreover, it can also be integrated within 3D printing and biomedical applications, revolutionising the medical system.
Still, projects based on polymers tend to be more expensive than other sustainable solutions and require additional support from institutions and governments since production phases are still in development.
Satellites can provide better ocean plastic management
Satellite imagery would significantly help clean oceans since 171 trillion plastic particles have been found in the world’s oceans. Experts state that the amount of plastic could double around 2040 since waste from land comes into the oceans by rivers.
With a little effort and proper implementation, we could leverage satellite imagery to target plastic waste in oceans and hopefully collect it with special machinery. Unfortunately, the project needs more improvement because targeting ocean plastic isn’t always simple since it can easily be mistaken for a plant or other materials.
Still, it could considerably curb plastic pollution by identifying its source and eliminating it from the land.
Blockchain can create a reward system for collecting plastic
Blockchain technology isn’t limited to the use of cryptocurrency only but can also expand as networks that connect people with similar goals. There’s already such a blockchain-based project that incentivises people and companies with digital tokens in exchange for recycled plastics.
The movement mainly targets economically challenged countries and regions whose citizens could use some help financially by gathering plastics. Basically, anyone owning a phone that can be used for token transfer can win money if they recycle as much plastic as possible. The scalable rewarding system is backed by IBM Cloud systems and is a secure ecosystem.
Until now, the project gathered 610 recycling communities and stopped 97,417,604 kg of plastic from affecting the environment. Considering that 75% of worldwide waste plastic can be recycled in one way or another, this project considerably increases the chances of minimising climate change outcomes.
Corporations and companies don’t realise their impact on the environment. The run for profit has turned the planet into the hottest it’s ever been. In the future, we should expect that humans and animals will experience severe drought and extreme weather, which directly impact lives and entire communities.
Climate change can’t be stopped, but we can at least prevent its consequences. Unfortunately, we can already see the negative outcome of the world being environmentally challenged. 2023 is currently the worst year regarding climate disasters, and it hasn’t even ended.
But we can change things by employing technology as a measure to recycle, monitor waste and encourage communities and governments to save the planet so future generations can live healthier and longer lives.