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Information technologies, smart data, digitisation and the Internet of Things have revolutionised many activities in our daily lives. For example, 15% of UK retail spending is now online, totalling £52 billion in 2015... eBay hosts 150 million active trades at any one time and lists more than 700 million items - far more than the inventory a physical market can hope to store or display.
Smart data, mobile apps and other digital applications are also beginning to be applied in waste management, with 'smart bins' being just one example. But can we do more? Can we use these technologies to help consumers make educated 'purchase, reuse and recycling' decisions? Can we make product management and waste management more joined-up and efficient?
I'm sure we can. And I've just this morning heard that a £7,000 prize has been put up, to encourage us to find the best ways of doing so...
The London Waste & Recycling Board has teamed up with RWM (the energy, water, recycling, renewables and waste management show) and this year's partner, Suez Recycling & Recovery UK, to host #CEhack17 - a collaborative 'hackathon' event offering an opportunity to receive advice, support and mentoring from industry experts.
The challenge is to showcase innovative ideas that use mobile technology, smart data and the Internet of Things to deliver solutions for improving circularity. As an example, innovations could address (but are not limited to) the following aims: • Influence consumer purchasing decisions to help them buy products that can be repaired, exchanged or recycled • Develop apps that help with the collection of small volume or specialist waste or redundant products • Inform consumers how materials can be recycled, and whether their local municipal collection services can collect and recycle those materials • Engage 18-34 year olds with recycling, this could be through gamification or reward schemes
If you're interested, you'll need to move quickly. outline proposals must be submitted to LWARB by 17th August (www.lwarb.gov.uk). Successful applicants will be invited to a pitch day in London on 31st August, from which five teams will be selected to pitch for the prize at the final at RWM in Birmingham on 13th September 2017.
"I can't wait to see what creative and connected minds can propose," says Stuart Hayward-Higham, technical development director at Suez. As someone who's always banging on about our need to look after our planet's resources, neither can I...
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10th August 2017