According to the World Bank, around 3.4 billion tonnes of waste will be generated globally each year by 2050, an increase of 70% from 2016 levels. Waste is produced when the most economical and convenient solution to deal with materials at the end of their useful life is to landfill them. The consequence of waste is that new materials need to be drilled / mined, depleting natural world resources and negatively impacting ecosystems. These processes also result in a significant amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other pollutants.
To achieve zero-waste disposed to landfill will require a strategic framework and roadmap that outlines how all material used within an operation is either compostable (able to be 100% composted in accessible facilities and utilised), reusable or recoverable. Recoverable is used instead of recyclable, as the term “recycling” covers a range of activities and is not well understood. In this regard, recoverable means that the material is thrown into a recycling bin, sorted and processed back to raw materials that can be sold to an end market with minimal losses.
Due to the multifaceted environment of waste, the problem needs to be looked at from a wide lens to make lasting changes across operations and stakeholders. To be successful in achieving the zero-waste goal, everything from the types of waste generated, the reasons for the waste generation, the economics of waste through to the large and diverse opinions and behaviours of different people need to be considered.
Picea Hoa’s ecosystem technology analyses available data to generate trends in the types of waste and likely origins of that waste, and quantifies the costs and environmental impact of that waste. It then identifies opportunities to more effectively utilise material flows before they become waste and capture added value through avoidance, reuse, recoverability and compostability. This is all performed through on-going validation with stakeholders to ensure that diverse human behaviours are captured and aligned. Through this process an implementation plan that outlines practical steps to economically transition to zero-waste operations is developed.