Waste management and smart cities – two topics which, just a few years ago, weren’t quite as mainstream as now. However, with the rise of conversations on closed-loop systems, food waste and global warming and how to build better spaces and access to healthy food, such as agrihoods, the need for innovation through food waste management is here to stay. For many companies, this presents an immediate business opportunity. There is an art to finding “right-sized” applications that can specifically benefit cities as they transition into becoming “smart.”
Upcycle readily available equipment
The idea of upcycling is not new. It involves using discarded items as often as possible for the creation of new products. The same applies to manufacturing transformative technology. Each metropolitan area needs to work with existing “off-the-shelf” technology to adapt to their particular use case. A lot of readily available equipment can be retrofitted or upgraded to meet many of the needs of production without the cost and permitting required for new capital development projects. This could be something as simple as an unused compressor which could help with a waste management process.
Prioritize monitoring production processes
Using new and emerging technology for monitoring and maintaining production processes is key. Automation could take the form of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, innovative software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and other systems that both assist in the mitigation of potential problems such as COVID-19-related issues as well as manage the operation accurately with a lower capital footprint than automation systems of the past. For waste management innovation, tracking software to ensure first in first out use, monitor formulations in the production line rather than by using staff to measure manually and other traceability functions can improve quality and confidence in the final product.
Know the space inside out
Keep it simple. Companies should look at what is being produced and design processes and prior equipment to allow efficient use of these spaces. In turn, this will lead to the utilization of buildings or facilities near the waste source that might not otherwise be used for anything else.
Doing so forces companies to ask themselves if they are truly working within the capacity of (1) What is available in the city they are looking to support and (2) What the city actually needs. For example, is there a lack of equipment? Why? Is there an innovation that the company can present that will fill this gap in the best and most efficient way possible?