The world has a waste problem.
The lack of data is one of the main reasons we have yet to solve the world’s 2 billion tonne waste problem. But what do we mean by that?
Commercial properties, for instance, have different recycling systems that facilitate waste sorting. Plastic and cardboard waste may be sorted in separate containers, and some have solutions for handling food waste. But as soon as a resident throws something in one of the containers, we lose valuable information that could be used to reward and encourage increased recycling efforts.
Who threw the waste? How much did it weigh? Answers to questions like these are lost in a black hole.
What is Circularity Data?
Collecting and systemizing data about waste gives us what we at Carrot call “circularity data.” Circularity data is all the information that tells us something about what was thrown, how much it was, and who threw it. The term derives from what is made possible through this data - the enabling of more resources to become circular.
We can do amazing things when we have a current overview of available resources, whether it’s at a business-, building-, or household level. What’s unique about circularity data is that it allows us to take action before resources become waste and loses its value.
#1 Accessing new revenue streams
An increasing number of companies use recycled materials to produce their products and are willing to pay for stable access to this resource. Circularity data provides an overview of how much of a resource is available at a given time, laying the foundation for new sources of revenue for companies that possess clean waste fractions.
A McKinsey report indicates that 70% of textile waste could be fiber-to-fiber recycled, but today only 1% is. Their analysis shows that the circular textile industry - once matured - could have a profit pool of between €1.5 and €2.2 billion. Circularity data can play a vital role in enabling circularity in the textile industry. Carrot can track the amount of waste produced over time, predict how much textile waste will be available at any given time, and ensure cleaner fractions by nudging behavior, thereby opening the door to new business opportunities and income sources for its owner.
#2 We can target action to improve sorting and reduce waste
Circularity data gives us an overview of how much we produce of different types of waste, making it possible to identify areas of improvement. For instance, if we notice an increase in the amount of waste produced at a specific time - be it a specific day of the week or a seasonal occurrence - we can use this information to investigate the cause and target follow-up actions to create a change. If a business premise offers variable rental fees based on waste, improvement can reduce your company’s costs.
#3 We can measure the environmental impact - and reduce it
A complete overview of your business's waste makes it possible to measure your environmental footprint. By connecting various data sources, Carrot can compare and create reports linked to recycling rates across branches, buildings, or other company-specific segments. This makes it easier to track the environmental impact of waste generated by your company, comply with sustainability reporting requirements, and use this information to make better decisions.
At a shopping mall in Bergen, some tenants were able to reduce residual waste by up to 80% after implementing Carrot. Through information and incentives for better sorting, employees handling waste were made aware of the impact of their own efforts.
While handling waste is undeniably linked to financial costs, it is also linked to environmental costs. Wasting resources that could have found their way back into the system have enormous ramifications for our planet, as it means we have to extract more resources unnecessarily.