Utilizing artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies and data from Internet of Things’ devices,WasteLedger pursues the goal to digitize and automate compliance, monitoring & reporting for waste management logistics – raising traceability, transparency & trust throughout the entire reverse supply chain.
By this endeavour WasteLedger also creates opportunities for circular economy business models in a multi-billion dollar market, which – in face of an ever increasing global population – is calling for new approaches and smart solutions: Echoing nature and designing waste into resources.
What inspired you to conceptualize and start WasteLedger ?
During my PhD study I realised that most of the activities including data collection, reporting, certificates and auditing within this industry are paper based or using inhouse scattered waste management software tools which are carried out by staff, therefore making reporting time consuming and expensive.
Often it involves integrating and consolidating large amounts of data from numerous tools created at different locations to produce reports and compliance documents. In some reverse supply chain, traditional one way inefficient (in terms of time and cost) reporting process is employed which often result in duplication as well as producing poor data quality.
Will WasteLedger enhance interoperability among the various existing waste management software products or set an entirely new infrastructure into place?
We are working on both concepts and stay in contact with various stakeholders to see what they prefer. From our understanding stakeholders are open to new software as long as it can provide a one-stop solution.
What is your use- and business case with WasteLedger ? Which compliance guidelines or EU-directives does WasteLedger utilize?
We build our solution based on international, european and national waste management laws and regulation, in particular transboundary movement of waste, the WEEE Directive, etcetera.
Do you know about “binee” and their solutions of take-back options for problematic substances? What useful connections could there be here with WasteLedger?
Yes, I am in touch with binee and see a strong potential for collaborations between them and WasteLedger.
What elements does WasteLedger include and what is their function within the project?
We are using blockchain technology to facilitate transparent reporting and data management. Furthermore, we use IoT devices to capture the realtime data of waste movement to be connected to our blockchain and smart contract. Our plan is to use AI to automate future reporting.
What blockchain platform will you utilize to run WasteLedger, and why did you choose this particular model?
The term blockchain is often misleadingly reduced to only the bitcoin-type “proof-of-work” consensus algorithm that requires tremendous processing power & expansive energy consumption. – In which way is consensus needed in WasteLedger at all and how is it created efficiently?
Given that blockchain is new and we have seen over the last year how it has evolved and how the energy consumption has been reduced with new protocols, we believe that the sustainability ofblockchain will be increased in the long run.
By whom & how is the data – that goes into your WasteLedger blockchain – being validated: Through human auditors or the companies’ self-assessments – and how is this not prone to fraud?
At the moment we will rely on both human auditors and company’s self assessment, but we will be using IoT devices to eliminate manual auditing on data.
Besides efficient waste management reporting, how can WasteLedger help to foster the Circular Economy?
One of the pillars to achieve a Circular Economy is to invest in waste management globally.
Particularly, producers in the EU are required by law to report to the national and international authorities about their amount of products put on the market as well as the amount of products recycled, incinerated, reused, landfilled and exported to other countries. At the same time the producers finance the whole reverse supply chain.
However, given the number of various stakeholders involved in the reverse supply chain, the traceability, transparency and quality of the reported data are questionable. Furthermore, the producers have concerns on the real cost of the whole system which they are responsible to pay for under EPR.
Moreover, the current reporting system lacks of traceability and accountability to the origin and in most cases is open to fraud, which causes lack of trust amongst stakeholders, i.e. producers often don’t know how the financial system within each system operates and how much has been spent on collection, recycling etc. in detail.
In reality, the materials that are often exported to developing countries are missing. That is why we do not benefit from Circular Economy.
Thus, how may WasteLedger be able to ‘go beyond Waste Management 2.0‘ in the future, to raise even ‘effectiveness‘ by closing loops for remanufacturing and reverse logistics?
We are hoping to gather trustable data which eventually will help organiations to increase their capacity and availability of products to remanufacture and reuse.
Might WasteLedger also be able to offer its stakeholders new points of contact with their customers? e.g. Might you be able to help to set up take-back systems and reverse logistics that make the retrieving of used products most efficient for remanufacturing by orchestrating quality,quantity & timing of product returns?
Yes, in the future Wasteledger can provide realtime data on the origin and destination of the waste. It will help to discover inefficiencies, abnormalities and fraud within the network.
How may WasteLedger help to coordinate the material flows amongst actors in the product system and support a collaborative, business to business approach? e.g. To help manage the industrial metabolism & to generate a healthy system of closed loop material flows.
WasteLedger will facilitate real time waste flow as well as materials with detailed documentation and related certificates.
What have been the regulatory milestones in recent years, that raised the importance of the reverse supply chain?
To tackle the constant increase of waste and surrounding issues, national and international waste management policies and directives were introduced and implemented in various countries, notably within the European Union, such as:
Which current procedures and regulations might become challenges for WasteLedger in order to provide visibility, trust and traceability of the entire reverse supply chain?
At the moment the waste management industry is way behind of digitalisation compared to other industries. Given that this industry is multi stakeholder and complex, the issue we are facing now is to convince the industry stakeholders to shift to digitalisation. We think, if they are given intensive help by law makers – to move to digital practice – it would be easier to adopt the solution in near future by the entire ecosystem.
Where does WasterLedger currently stand as a StartUp? What are your immediate next steps & goals?
We are in contact with interested stakeholders and are planning a pilot project with one stakeholder. Our goal is to have a real case to show to perspective customers, to have them on board as pilot project partner or as client in the near future.
Which partners and expertise are you currently looking for?
Currently, we are looking to get connected to stakeholders within the waste management industry and to design our solution closely to their needs, in order to solve them.
We also seek direct cooperations with local authorities.