IoT and environment – staying conscious about change

We have had an extremely warm summer in Finland – and this has raised a lot of discussions in social media around environmental hazards human is causing. My spouse and I are quite conscious about our environment and often we drive 2 km with our empty glass jars (and metal cans) to the closest recycling center, as our own housing cooperative does not recycle plastic nor metal. For the past year, we at IntelZone have had a pleasure to discuss with many clients about IoT and possibilities it creates in many different areas of business. We come across with quite a wide range of IoT use cases and ideas – some clients are further and some are still starting their IoT journey.

Let´s play a little mind game – you are part of the company which is a global plastics manufacturer producing almost anything from plastic. Let those products be consumer products or industrial equipment. Discussions generally around increasing productivity, decreasing cost or enhancing the current product or service. Discussion that I tend to enjoy the most goes like this: “In what kind of business do you see your company in 5-7 years’ time?”

The Guardian published an article in July 2017 about humans having created 8,3 billion tons of plastic since 1950s, of which majority has ended up in landfill and simply polluting continents and oceans. Considering that people are more and more conscious about the environment (including my spouse) and recycling as a whole – has your company set a plan to be “totally green”, say in 10 years’ time from now?

If yes – how exactly are you going to achieve that? I don’t assume that to happen overnight, but say in 10 years (or maybe even in 5-7 years) that could be done. It requires small steps at the start followed by a number of large steps later on. This also requires new partnerships between producers, vendors, and consumers. Often also those limits between different parties will be blurred anyway so why not start earlier. Imagine consumers becoming producers in the same way that has already happened in social media industry like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. Not to mention the transportation industry – best example being Uber.

There are some good use cases to spark your interests around the entire topic above. Please check waste-to-energy concept of Vantaan Energia – an article published by Yle already in 2014. Another great example of waste-to-good-use featured in the Yle article are plastic bikinis produced by Halla Halla – they are made out of scrap plastic. Now imagine this scrap plastic to be collected by solar powered AI robots which swim in the ocean autonomously – collecting 40,000 tons of plastics in couple of years according to Independent article.

It is year 2018 and we have the technology and we have the knowhow, now it is up to us to make things happen. I don’t want to sound like crazy dr. Greenthumb, but in the near future I will be focusing my interactions with people to be more on how to shape (read: shake) the industry and business norms instead of doing the same thing as everybody else. Same old thinking tends to lead to same old results.

By,

-Miska Braun-

Sources:

Guardian – 19th July 2017; ”Plastic pollution risks ‘near permanent contamination of natural environment’“ https://tinyurl.com/ybvz9bd2

YLE – 17th September 2014; “Finland’s biggest waste-to-energy plant opens in Vantaa” https://tinyurl.com/y7bk95q9

YLE – 22nd May 2018; “These Finnish bikinis are made of plastic trash from the ocean” https://tinyurl.com/y8wjdw6t

Independent – 22nd April 2018; “World’s first ocean plastic-cleaning machine set to tackle Great Pacific Garbage Patch” https://tinyurl.com/y8xjcbqn