Smart waste report sets out how to realise the circular economy

Rubicon’s report, Toward a Future Without Waste, presents a roadmap for cities and governments on how to implement technology-based solutions to build a more sustainable future.

Rubicon has released its inaugural environmental, social and governance report that sets out technology-based sustainability solutions to reduce emissions, eliminate waste, promote recycling, and bring a circular economy to reality.

Titled Toward a Future Without Waste, the report details sustainability solutions based on the technology company’s experiences of delivering environmental results for customers.

More sustainable

As cities, and communities recover from Covid-19, using technology to become more sustainable, more fiscally responsible, and less wasteful is an imperative for the months and years ahead, according to Rubicon, which provides a suite of waste, recycling and smart city solutions. This report aims to present a roadmap for how to accomplish those goals.

It explores everything from educating customers on more effective recycling, to empowering smaller haulers to reduce landfill use while boosting their businesses, to building a data-driven digital platform to help governments optimise the management of their waste streams.

“For a decade, we have been pursuing technology-based solutions to the serious waste problems facing our country and the world,” said Nate Morris, founder and CEO, Rubicon.

He added: “The path forward in eliminating waste, reducing emissions, making companies more efficient, and saving taxpayer money, comes directly from the results we have delivered for customers.

“Our solutions prove that the future is not in landfills, is not in China, and is not ocean dumping. Our future is rooted in using technology to fix real world problems.”

Key findings

Local governments could see significant cost savings and fewer materials unnecessarily going into landfills by making better use of technology. The company claims its RubiconSmartCity technology suite helped the city of Atlanta save up to $783,453 annually, while reducing the recyclables going to landfill by 83 per cent, by adjusting the city’s solid waste service schedule

Companies can increase their diversion rates by repurposing hard-to-recycle products. For example, restaurant chain Chipotle partnered with Rubicon to help keep single-use gloves out of landfills by creating a mail-back pilot programme at 25 Chipotle locations.

To date Chipotle restaurants have recycled more than 625,000 gloves, with a plan to expand the programme to all locations. This kind of innovation is especially critical given the dramatic increase in the use of single-use gloves in response to Covid-19

Companies in the construction industry, as well as those undertaking large-scale construction projects, could divert significant amounts of waste from landfills and reduce carbon emissions. For instance, the Atlanta Hawks renovation of its arena was able to recycle 12,500 arena seats resulting in the diversion of 64 tons of waste from landfill and reducing the project’s carbon impact by 265 tons of emissions, equivalent to removing nearly 60 cars from the road annually, reports Rubicon.

Landfills are the third-largest industrial emitter of methane, a greenhouse gas 30-times more potent than the carbon that comes out of passenger vehicles. Food and other organic waste accounts for 46 per cent of solid waste generated every year, and thus represents eight per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If companies developed zero-waste partnerships, Rubicon notes, they could dramatically reduce the amount of food waste in landfills, and associated methane emissions.

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