The Cleantech Council’s recycling meeting brings together companies working on recycling technologies and companies eager to put them to use. This 2 hour meeting in Silicon Valley will discuss a number of recycling categories, highlight some of the companies working in this segment, introduce a handful of leading startups, include demos, lunch, and plenty of time for networking.
Silicon Valley, California, April 20, 2023/Meeting Recap/ This week, the Cleantech Council reviewed innovation in the recycling sector. From our meeting, it seems clear that the wave of technologies affecting all industrial sectors are also converging and changing the way we recycle. By leveraging huge gains in AI, robotics, sensors, IoT, chemistry, and manufacturing, we can develop and sustain much more of a circular economy.
A close look at the overlap of manufacturing and recycling shows only 9% of plastics ever created have been recycled and 50% of yearly produced plastic is for single-use and immediately relegated as waste. While plastics may be one of the first materials that comes to mind when we think of recycling, there are many other substances that don’t need to be used once and tossed out as useless afterwards, from blue box household waste and food scraps to Industrial waste and used car batteries.
Our meeting’s discussion and presentations revealed advances in:
Among the interesting revelations in our room-wide UnPanel discussion was the concept of local versus national or global. While many environmental movements are global and UN-based, the majority of the money sits at the federal level in most countries…and this money is essential for subsidy, starting up the nascent used inputs markets, and fines for the most egregious polluters. However, despite this global, top-down bias, much of what is being done in the recycling sector is more bottom-up. Landfills, recycling programs, waste collection are very often municipal imperatives. So a great deal of the decisions are being made by our Mayors and City Councils. And whether regulations or subsidies come from a higher-level or not, implementation is usually local.
We’d like to thank our presenters, and our host, Honda Innovations for contributing so much to our meeting, and for our members, the presentations are available in our Members’ Library.