It’s Time to Act — Waste Management As the Key to Environmentally Sustainable World
Ban Ki-moon, former General Secretary of the United Nations, described climate change as the biggest challenge in the history of the human race because it “threatens life and our existence”.
We have never been confronted with a problem of this magnitude. Every country, sector, and company, whatever its size, will be aﬀected by the changing climate. The reality of climate change and its consequences for future generations oblige us to solve major issues, which are at the heart of environment destruction.
+ Waste: First of all, waste management, speciﬁcally regarding plastic, has a signiﬁcant impact and poses a major danger to the environment.
+ Water: The second major issue is related to the most precious natural resources: water. Climate change will have an important role in the quantity and quality of water.
+ Air: The decarbonization of the mobility sector is arguably the third important issue for reducing climate change, particularly the Earth’s rise in temperature.
Blockchain technology could fundamentally change the way that natural resources and waste are valued. Moreover, it could facilitate the way to incentivize individuals, companies, and governments to unlock ﬁnancial value from things that are currently treated as economically non-valuable. This could drive widespread behavior changes and help realize a truly circular economy.
Waste Life-Cycle Management
One of the major challenges facing the environment, public health, and natural resources is waste management. The planet is collapsing due to the shear amount of waste and the situation is getting worse by the day, especially with the signiﬁcant increase of the global population. Indeed, according to the World Bank Report dated September 2018, the annual production of municipal waste exceeds two billion tons and is expected to increase by 70% in the next 30 years (3.4 billion tons of waste per year in 2050). Currently, organic waste (food or vegetable) represents the largest part, with 44% of the total waste volume. Although plastic waste only represents 12% of the worldwide waste produced every year, it has a very negative impact and poses a real danger to the environment. Since plastic takes thousands years to disintegrate, it contaminates the oceans and rivers. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic than ﬁsh in the oceans by 2050 if no action is taken regarding waste management. The numbers speak for themselves: each year an individual generates an average of 450 kg of waste. Today, the question of waste management and the reprocessing of waste is a major issue. Because it is intimately linked to the economic growth and enrichment of developed societies and, henceforth, emerging companies.
Only 19% of Waste Is Recycled
Sixty to 70% of the world’s population will live in cities in three decades, compared to 54% today and only one-third 60 years ago.
This trend, which will result in a concentration of waste in urban areas, emphasizes the ability of municipalities to manage it with respect to existing municipal infrastructure. Solid waste management is one of the most important services that a city has to deliver. On December 2nd, 2015, the EU Commission adopted an action plan in favor of the circular economy for the environment. This plan emphasized that the transition to a more circular economy required actions covering the entire lifecycle of products. The commission established a moratorium on the construction of new waste incinerators. Keep in mind that the composition of solid waste varies from one country to another. It depends mainly on the economic situation, lifestyle, waste management regulations, and industrial infrastructure. However, the World Bank has done a global study for solid waste composition from the most important cities in ﬁve continents. World Bank reveals that organic waste and plastics represent more than half of the total waste composition respectively for 46% and 17% (cf. Fig “Global solid Waste Composition”).
The most important portion of solid waste is landﬁlled: 37% is buried and 33% is left in open dumps. It is incredible to imagine that only 19% of the waste is recycled and 11% is incinerated. Current waste management solutions are not solving these issues. On the one hand, waste incineration is expensive and poses challenges of air pollution and ash disposal. Incineration requires waste placed outside for collection to be containerized to stay dry and much of the waste stream is not combustible. On the other hand, landﬁlls require land availability away from residential areas. Waste presented in outdoor landﬁll can sometimes leak toxic compounds into the soil, plastic can reach the oceans via rivers, harming the environment and human health. Waste management can cost around 20% of a municipality’s budget in developing countries, against 4% in rich countries.
Optimization of Waste Treatment Is Required
Despite the fact that the recycling of certain materials is encouraged in developed countries because of their economic interest, unfortunately, other waste, including organic and non-recoverable plastics, is far from being taken seriously. An existing solution is to use an incinerator, which has major constraints: extremely high cost, very low yield, increase in the carbon footprint, and elevated pollution levels. The economic problems of incinerators are also that they function exclusively through the processing of garbage into electricity and receive state subsidies for the disposal of garbage. In view of the explosion of the produced amount, the sector is in deﬁcit of capacity and processing infrastructure regarding the increasing of waste and the need for improving waste management.
3WM’s global process will improve the waste management process. It allows to value things through the combination of several proven innovations and patented technologies.
3WM transforms 100% of waste (plastic, organic, medical) into bio-energy (electricity, biogas, biofuel, biodiesel, etc.) in the more optimal and eﬃcient way.
It’s time to act — it’s time for 3WM!