Speaking to delegates at the local authority LARAC conference today (14 October) at Nottingham University, the keynote speaker Antonis Mavropoulos, pointed to the change in the way the world is communicating and developing services.
“Everything is happening faster, in the past it took 67 seconds to change the wheels on a formula one car, now it can take less than two,” he said. And, he highlighted the development of cloud internet services and the use of robots and 3D printers.
“Alongside this is the huge development in internet connections which throws up its own challenges of getting recycling and waste messages to the public within social media and all the activities happening within it.
“3D printers and similar techniques will redefine the supply chain and help with the use of materials. It will be a very radical change to our world making it easier to put material back into the supply chain.”
He also said that technology will make for much more traceability, especially for hazardous waste materials.
“The third industrial revolution happening in front of our eyes day by day,” declared Mr Mavropolous who is chair of the scientific and technical committee of the International Solid Waste Association and chief executive of D-Waste. “In New York wifi is being provided from waste bins and waste can be tracked because sensors have become so cheap and energy autonomous. I believe the future of collection will be hybrid, a combination of human involvement and technology.
“We are in front of a huge wave of things that will redefine the waste management industry, the duties of local authorities and our recycling and waste practices. You in local authorities will have to ride these changes and help to move us in the direction of what we need which is a more sustainable future.”
And, he predicted driverless collections will sooner or later be a reality for many parts of the world, especially for the rich ones. On demand services will gradually dominate the market and door to door collections will become much easier.
He concluded that “we are in front of a huge wave of change that will redefine the waste management industry, local authority and our practices… what we have to do is to find the right direction and the direction we need is certainly a much more sustainable and resource effective waste management than we have today”.