More Circular Economy Our Learnings
The amount of garbage produced globally continues to increase at an alarming rate. We’ve all seen the horrifying images of coastlines covered with garbage and turtles consuming plastic bags. We need every bit of help we can get to manage our waste and reduce it.
That’s why analog waste collection systems increasingly rely on digital tools to accelerate solutions. A few months ago, in a post, I reviewed the most promising options available and asked you through an online poll to determine which one you believe has the most significant potential to impact waste management with digital tools.
Our audience members said that the two most important areas of digital are monitoring and monitoring and changing behavior. What do you think? We agree! The two tools we have in the beginning target precisely these areas.
This aligns with our field experiences at Delterra, where we’ve been helping local communities of the Global South make their waste management systems more economical and efficient.
In this post, I’ll share two practical case studies of Delterra’s work working with local communities in Indonesia and Argentina. We’ve employed digital tools to help improve waste management.
Adoption and efficiency: achieving
My coworkers and I created digital solutions that can assist us in tackling two of the most difficult challenges we confront in our efforts to encourage recycling in the communities we serve
I’ll begin by sharing the background of the Operation Platform, which is creating unprecedented levels of visibility and monitoring of our local communities’ material recovery facilities. In the next part, I’ll talk about the story behind the Chatbot that is becoming a significant agent of change in behavior in a massive way.
Sorting centers implement an operation platform that makes everyday work more straightforward and efficient.
One of our initial findings was that sorting facilities in the Global South often face data problems. This can complicate routine tasks, including monitoring waste levels across the facility and monitoring customer payment rates.
Managers of the sorting centers in Indonesia informed us that this leads to non-collected fees, making it challenging to keep a watchful eye on the waste reduction happening at the consumer level. This also hinders efforts to increase the supply of recycled materials to companies willing to invest in reusing the materials. In addition, the Global South centers are likely to lack a system of operations-related data management, including the ability to identify problems with maintenance or budgets proactively.
Delterra Operations Platform Delterra Operations Platform also gives the managers of the sorting center access to useful tools, such as dashboards of reporting, which provide valuable insights to assist them in making better choices. In addition, the platform has automated processes that include auto-billing, which makes missed payments no longer a problem. Reporting to regulators and funders is also easy. Most importantly, a uniform method for monitoring and tracking recyclable materials across different regions and sorting centers ensures that a broader range of recyclable materials can be sorted and processed.
I am excited to share the exciting outcomes from the launch of the Operations Platform. It’s been operational in eight sorting centers across Argentina and Indonesia, which has already seen significant positive effects. The most important result is on a personal scale – we’ve witnessed up to an increase of 9x in time spent working on procedures for reconciling deposits and cash payments at the end of each month, freeing the time to focus on other tasks.
The program has also proven to have a substantial financial impact on the community, with those in Indonesia experiencing the rate of collection increase from 30-40 percent to more than 80 percent. This significantly impacts the life of the sorting center personnel and the sustainability and financial stability of the center that their community is dependent on. The result is that these gains for the community can translate into positive outcomes for the environment as more waste is taken out of the landfill and redirected to productive utilization.
MeetAmi is a chatbot for the community’s engagement
In every community that Delterra runs, we saw some common problems that residents face in managing waste. For instance, they frequently require direct contact with the collection truck drivers or try to reach the administrators via phone to discuss issues with joining as an incoming customer or gaining information about pickups. They also often had to navigate an ineffective payment system and needed the tools to instruct households on the best ways to sort garbage.