Circulate on Fridays: Impacts of New Technologies on Business, Wood Waste and more..
Every Friday, Circulate rounds up a collection of interesting circular economy related stories and articles. Today, we’re highlighting a new report released by Veolia and Imperial College London, Ford’s move into the new technology space and plenty more…
New research released this week by Veolia Environnement has found that nine million tonnes of wood is disposed in landfill each year in the UK, while only one million tonnes is effectively recycled. Mixed material streams make the effective reuse or recycling of wood difficult, but there are opportunities to re-utilise the material in ways that are economically productive. Veolia is currently running a project where waste wood is supplied to a biomass plant.
Veolia’s full report, which was developed in conjunction with Imperial College London, outlines the opportunities for the circular economy in the UK. Most notably, it suggests a near 2% national GDP increase from adopting circular principles.
There was more confirmation this week that new trends like 3D-printing and self-driving cars are set to enter the mainstream economic picture with the announcement that U.S. car manufacturer Ford had invested in each. Mariella Moon, writing for Engadget, highlights separate initiatives by the manufacturer, where self-driving cars designed in their Palo Alto innovation center are now being actively engineered and they’ve formed a new partnership with 3D-printing company, Carbon 3D, with a view to developing automotive parts using additive manufacturing.
A recent survey has found that business leaders believe that nearly 50% of the top 10 ranked companies in their industries globally won’t survive the next decade. Analysis of the findings has suggested that the cause is disruptive digital technologies impacting entire sectors. Of course, digital technologies are equally responsible for creating opportunities and helping some industries to expand, but it nonetheless represents an interesting perspective during a period where rapid technological development has raised a number of challenging economic, environmental and social questions.
Circulate is interested in nuanced perspectives on the smart city concept. One example of that is presented in Areg Bagdasarian’s piece in Intelligent Utility, where he analyses the desirability of big data and internet of things technologies and their potential benefits across a range of specific examples. Topics considered in the article are urban transportation, pollution and the energy system.