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How Digitalization Is Revolutionizing the Waste & Recycling Industry

recyclingThe digitalization of the waste and recycling industry gives hauling companies and their customers more — and better — data to improve their operations and achieve waste management and other environmental goals.

“Digitalization means gathering more data, leading to better quantitative and qualitative analysis. By gathering data on our waste/recycling status quo, we’ll be able to adjust and adapt our policy execution to be more effective and more efficient and hopefully more sustainable and resilient,” Stephanie Stuckey, chief resilience officer for the City of Atlanta, told Waste360.

In December, smart-waste startup Rubicon Global partnered with Atlanta to improve the city’s waste management services. The partners launched a six-month pilot last month in which smartphones loaded with the Rubicon hauler mobile app will be placed into the Atlanta Department of Public Works’ entire fleet of residential solid waste, recycling and yard waste trucks.

The cloud-based technology will collect real-time data on the fleet’s operations as well as landfill diversion and recycling rates. In addition to helping the city better target its recycling efforts, this data will also improve the fleet’s efficiency and optimize routing and truck maintenance.

“At Rubicon, we think of waste technology in three categories—industry or hauling technology, customer-facing or consumer technology, and sustainability technology,” Michael Allegretti, Rubicon head of public policy, told Waste360. “Hauling technology includes what we call ‘tech in trucks’ and big data platforms that enable dispatchers and operations professionals to optimize their assets; customer-facing technology provides visibility and customer service like never before; and sustainability technology provides verified diversion metrics, carbon tracking,

Also in January, global environmental services giant Suez acquired a stake in Rubicon to digitize recycling and “revolutionize the waste industry,” according to the two companies.

Suez will use Rubicon’s technology in its fleet of vehicles.

The deal allows Suez to reenter the US market by working with Rubicon, which will share its best tech practices and data, according to a Rubicon spokesperson.

The partnership will also speed up the deployment of Rubicon’s cloud-based hauler management platform, customer portal and mobile apps in Europe and grow Rubicon’s stature in the $60 billion industry in the US, dominated by giants Waste Management (revenue: $13 billion) and Republic Services ($9 billion), according to Forbes. The investment brings Rubicon’s valuation to $800 million.


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