The 4th Industrial Revolution and You


The results of the world’s first global survey into the future of waste management were presented at the ISWA World Congress and WasteCon 2017. The survey, titled “The Impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on the Waste Management Sector,” gathered input from more than 1,000 of the waste industry’s leading CEOs, scientists, and decision makers. 97% of those surveyed believe that the waste industry will be affected by technology in one way or another. Half of those respondents believe the impact will be significant by the year 2030.

In the report’s introduction, ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos writes,

“Artificial Intelligence, Robots, Drones, Driverless Cars, 3D Printers, Internet of Things and The Revolution of Sensors, Decentralized Energy, DNA Engineering and the Rise of Bio-economy create a new landscape that will reshape manufacturing. It will also reshape waste management and recycling too, redefining the meaning of “waste,” creating new technologies, delivering robotic solutions and driverless collection patterns.

The results of the survey demonstrate that although the industry is somehow aware of the change waves ahead, just 14% of the participants consider themselves to be knowledgeable on the 4th Industrial Revolution. In addition, it seems that the depth and the speed of the 4th Industrial Revolution are rather underestimated.

The results also highlight that the participants hope the 4th Industrial Revolution will deliver solutions to several challenges related to waste management, from eco-design to waste prevention and circular economy of plastics.”

“I hope that the results of this survey will stimulate and inspire the waste management scientists and practitioners to surf on the upcoming wave of change. Because the problem with the 4th Industrial Revolution is that either you surf on it, or it will wipe you out of the tomorrow’s business landscape.”  – Antonis Mavropoulos/ISWA President

The survey shows that the largest impacts are expected to be on fully robotic waste sorting and recycling plants as well as digital consulting and engineering. ISWA says the waste industry must respond in an integrated and comprehensive manner, involving all stakeholders. A failure to do so could be disastrous for large sections of the industry. It highlights that there will be opportunities for emerging and developing economies to build waste management infrastructure that will work with the new technologies.

The 32-page report shows the results from sixteen questions and features commentary from various ISWA members who participated.

You can download the survey here: The Impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on the Waste Management Sector MSW_bug_web


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