Challenges

Material Passports and smart waste infrastructure

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Imagine if all consumables at an event had a material passport which could be tracked from transaction to disposal: 1. All suppliers/vendors have an inventory so taking this a step further, there would be a material passport aswell as cost data associated with each item 2. Consumers have an app which could be used to track transactions. Via QR codes or similar, material passports could be passed to a consumer. Perhaps this could be linked to secure payments to make an event cashless. Consumers would then automatically receive the material data. 3. The app could then be used to provide information on nearest recycling or collection points for reuse. 4. QR codes at waste points can be used to ‘checkout’ waste from a consumer. 5. If it is returning a reusable item (e.g. a cup or food tray), then their app could be credited with money or vouchers. 6. The app could then calculate the users carbon and ecological footprint associated with their transactions at the end of the event. 7. The above would be data rich so could would open up a world of opportunity! For example, vendor inventories would give an indication of waste stream types/volumes to help plan a circular use in advance; following the material passports can show where resource leakages occur for continuous learning and improvement; benchmarking could incentivise consumer behaviour through the app

Comments (5)

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What can go wrong?
Georgina Chamberlain
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  • SMEs may not have the resource to manage material passports. Event organisers could facilitate this by having an approved list of suppliers which can provide a material passport. Having standard items, eg cups, trays, cutlery, etc. would also make collecting for reuse easier or perhaps improve the quality of waste streams through less variety?

    What can go wrong?
    Gina Lee
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  • China is already using QR codes to track the return of some PET and aluminum bottles. Part of the rapid adoption seems to be because consumers are used to using QR codes constantly-for payments, following companies and receiving ads, adding contacts. (All of this is through WeChat.) In the West and Europe, QR usage seems less prevalent so this would be a factor to consider.

    What can go wrong?
    Oriol Segarra
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  • Material passports make sense for buildings because they need to stand for long periods of time. Events have very short use cycles, so what is necessary is to use as many service providers as possible.

    Yesterday a client was asking me if I could "find" a solution for 10000 m2 of fabric that will be left at one event next week. He said they are normally left behind because is cheaper to buy new ones than to take them back and clean them.