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Waste industry needs to wake up to digital technology

The critique of the waste collection sector comes from the AMCS Group, in the form of a white paper from Mark Abbas, who raised similar issues at last year’s Cleaner Planet Convention which took place in Amsterdam. AMCS Group specialize in developing digital solutions for the waste collection sector. One innovation from the company is the “amcs platform”, which is a cloud and software platform based on the best practice processes of thousands of waste and recycling companies worldwide.

Waste industry needs to get smart with apps

Abbas is the director of Business Development at AMCS Group and while he has an interest in selling software solutions for the waste sector his white paper spells out the challenges and threats to the industry. In one telling section, Abbas warns the waste industry to adopt a customer perspective and to embrace new technology.

Coping with restaurant waste

Abbas paints a scenario whereby a restaurant see an unexpected spike of visitors. This leads to the over loading waste containers. Delays in collecting the waste could force the restaurant to either close; carry on with mounting smelly waste; or risk a fine. What is needed, Abbas indicates is for waste companies to develop apps so that, in the scenario describes, a restaurateur can register the urgent need for waste collection; receive an instant quote; pay for it using automatic billing and have the waste collect in a matter of hours.

While Abbas’ warning is pertinent there are some waste sector apps and programs on the market. Three examples are detailed:

Apps for real-time waste collection

In some parts of the world apps along these lines have been implemented. The extent that these can be used depends on local rules. Some municipalities allow only public sector waster collections; in other areas waste collection has been deregulated, permitting the use of ‘Uber-style’ waste collection apps. One example in the U.S. is Rubicon Global. The company manages a network of independent companies and the Rubicon software allows collections to be made and then finds places to recycle, resell and transport the materials. In competitive sectors, the signal from the likes of Rubicon, as well as the message from Abbas, is clear: go digital to stay competitive.

Apps for local authorities

Even where waste collection has not been deregulated, some local authorities are using mobile technology. In the U.K., for example, some councils have adopted an app called My Waste. This enables local governments to provide program details, like collection schedules and pick up reminders to residents.

Apps for waste companies to use internally

The two platforms previewed above are customer facing. Waste companies can also use intelligent software to seek internal efficiencies. According to Infrastructure News, planning software can give waste companies a structure for waste delivery and disposal across project, such as construction. For example, the platform Site Waste Management Plan Checklist can be used to plan and prepare for site waste management. This includes identifying waste types and coming up with waste management options, materials needed, and measuring and monitoring the levels of waste produced.

The pace of digital transformation of the waste collection and processing industry may be slow, but the technological developments are comparable with other sectors, either as customer-facing apps or as solutions for streamlining internal services like scheduling.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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