How tech accelerates the transition to a circular economy

How tech accelerates the transition to a circular economy

Humanity has a waste problem. A major implication of our current economic model is the fact that we are running out of resources. This has turned the circular economy into a hot topic, yet implementing its strategies in the right way remains a challenge.

This is where technology comes in. Tech is driving the shift from consumption to use. Technological developments provide ample opportunities for mapping, controlling and organizing the entire circular economy chain. Google and Atos have already taken many steps to accelerate this. 

Stuff as data
Identifying and tracking the worldwide swirl of materials is part of a fully circular economy. To do so, we need to collect and analyze a huge amount of data. This data can be used to track inefficiencies, see where waste is produced, and find ways to reduce and reuse it.

Together, Google and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have started to work on Smart Cities. Modern computation capabilities can overlay information over general patterns of human behavior. This means energy consumption can be predicted locally and non-rush hour transport options can be suggested in real-time. 

Leanpath is one example of this cooperation that generates data. Over 100 Google Cafes use scales in their kitchens to measure pre-consumer food waste. This allows for more accurate food orders that can then reduce food waste.Curious  to learn how LeanPath does this? Please watch the video below:


Internet of Things

Connected objects are constantly growing. By 2022, an estimated 45 billion devices will be connected, all of which will generate a whopping 44 zettabytes of data per day. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Internet of Things enables the circular economy due to three main drivers. 

  1. Information about the location of assets
  2. Information about the condition of assets
  3. Information about the availability of assets 

Knowledge about the location can optimize routes for loading, maintenance, and storage. Condition details can facilitate predictive maintenance to prevent waste. The availability of assets allows for optimizing resources like energy and raw materials. Atos has a huge amount of knowledge on the IoT and the circular economy and can help to accelerate your company’s journey to new business models.  

Sharing platforms
A technology-benefitting circular economy takes the sharing economy to the next level. Mobile applications like BlaBlaCar, Uber, and Airbnb would not have been possible without connectivity. Social media has gone from simply connecting people to a sharing platform. Facebook and eBay marketplaces, for instance, would not be able to operate without it. Such platforms move from the traditional, linear value chain to a world of reuse and recycle.