A report from ISWA released in October 2019 is Aimed at Getting the Waste Management industry prepared for the oncoming 4th Industrial Revolution. The 4th industrial revolution is expected to drastically change the way humans live and the way our systems operate in a way that is non-linear and, in return, more difficult to predict and regulate. This oncoming revolution will impact just about every industry in the world by using mass automation and artificial intelligence. The ISWA report, released in October 2019, highlights how the Waste Management industry will be impacted by these changes and what can be done to make this revolution work as a force of positive change for the industry.

Currently, the industry is missing out on $62.5 Billion worth of valuable E-waste, due to the inefficiencies in collecting and market forces. Artificial Intelligence has the ability to greatly reduce costs. The company ZenRobotics uses robots that sort waste much faster than a human and with greater accuracy due to its AI. Their ZenBrain software allows them to continuously improve with each item sorted and also gives them the opportunity to keep up with changes in the waste stream and prioritize high value recyclables.

Waste Management industry needs to develop new business models to deal with increased levels of pollution, population growth, and increased material usage. Dubbed Industry 4.0, the ISWA suggests the need to have the circular economy, marine litter, and climate change be part of the decision-making process to create an industry that is best serving communities and the overall planet. It seems the waste management industry will benefit from the 4th industrial revolution with the right investments now.


Written by Justin Stanphill