We all have the desire and love to stay in a tidy and clean environment. This year, CatchSmart and the team “Oversee” also participated in the international and annual hackathon “Climathon 2021 – green, smart municipalities”, which took place from October 8 to 10.
Climathon is an EIT Climate-KIC project that aims to raise awareness of climate change, the challenges, and to promote a greener life. This year, within the framework of the Climathon, solutions are being sought for the challenges of Latvian local governments, which are related to the priorities set by the European Green Course and the move towards greener and smarter local governments. A total of 14 challenges from seven municipalities have been submitted.
The CatchSmart team “Oversee” undertook to develop an innovative solution to the challenge set by Liepaja Municipality “Sustainable food circulation and waste sorting”. The solution must help to reduce waste in the long term, in particular by reducing surplus food production and changing food consumption patterns.
Conducting a survey on waste sorting
To create a user-friendly solution, we created a small survey on waste sorting habits. In a very short time, the survey was completed by more than 100 people from different age groups, and the obtained data helped the team to create a solution that will be able to improve waste management in the municipality.
Of the survey participants, 60% are already actively sorting waste, but 40% choose not to sort waste, even though they would like to reduce the bill for waste removal, or sorting is not available at the moment because it is not provided.
To the question “Why sort waste?”, The most popular options are “I care for nature”, “I care for future generations”, “I want to reduce the waste bill”, which means that there is a desire not only to be greener and live in cleaner, tidier environment today, but also to enable future generations to grow in an even cleaner environment.
For participants who are already sorting waste, the survey also included the question “What would you like to know about your waste?”. 39% would like to know the reduction of CO2 emission in a certain period, 25% would definitely like to see the weight of waste by certain types, 27% would like to know how much money could be saved by sorting waste.
The main benefits of waste sorting are and have been identified by respondents as concern for nature, concern for a clean environment for future generations, lower CO2 emissions and reduced waste disposal bills.
Looking at the obtained data, we can conclude that the society is interested and ready to get involved in waste reduction, but there is a lack of knowledge about how a change in habits could affect the environment. There is also a lack of a unified and convenient solution for the management of generated waste. There is also insufficient information on the waste to be sorted, its types and how to sort it correctly.
The solution for waste management offered by the team “Oversee”
According to the survey data, the solution offered by the Oversee team is an interactive website and a mobile application. The website would include general information on waste sorting, its types and instructions on how to carry out waste sorting correctly, as well as an interactive calculator that calculates the impact of CO2 emmision on the environment and the potential savings.
The mobile app would be a tool for citizens who can use the application to view data about their waste, its types and quantities, view invoices, make payments, view contract information, see the nearest waste sorting points on the map, change the waste removal schedule, apply for additional waste removal or apply for additional containers for waste sorting.
The benefits are for everyone – citizens, municipality, waste management companies
Citizens would benefit from a convenient and simple service and the ability to obtain analytical data on the amount of waste, to keep up with changes, to see how each of us individually can try to reduce this amount of waste and make responsible decisions, and how our daily habits and changes improve our environment.
If citizens are actively involved in waste sorting, municipalities have access to data on waste volumes and it is easier to make data-based decisions. It is possible to see whether the amount of waste is decreasing or increasing and it is possible to plan the amount of waste, its recycling or disposal.
Using new technologies, waste management companies have the opportunity to resolve and process applications digitally. Plan more efficient picku-up routes that reduce CO2 emissions from transport in cities and regions and reduce service costs. Digital systems also have the advantage of connecting them to other IT systems and exchanging the acquired data.
The potential of the solution now and in the future
Our solution is able to improve the waste management of all parties involved in digital form and can provide a fast flow of information. The benefit of such a digital system is the availability of data on a single platform, which can be used to make different types of calculations by quantity, location, resources consumed and other relevant factors in the management industry. The obtained data not only provide an opportunity to assess the current situation, but also to follow changes in waste management in the long run.
Given that the system is digital, it also has great potential for development. By reading data from located sensors, equipment or transport equipment, additional data is collected, which can supplement and give a broader view of the resources used, but also helps to perform efficiency calculations.
A unified system would help to maintain a culture of management and waste sorting both within cities and municipalities in Latvia and internationally. This would promote public awareness, co-responsibility and participation in waste sorting.
The most precious thing people have is time, so changing habits requires a simple, transparent and friendly solution in the digital environment. The more we work and think green, the more cleaner our environment will be, the more pleasant it will be to stay in it, we will be able to pass it on to our future generations!