3 BREAKTHROUGHS FOR A WORLD WITHOUT WASTE

Commitments

Wednesday 21 April 2021

21 April 2021

We dedicate on ONE UniCredit the second day of Earth Day to global clean-up. Some facts to start off with:

  • 270,000 premature deaths annually caused by uncontrolled burning of household waste.

  • 2 BILLION  People live without any waste collection services.

  • Cigarette butts are the most commonly polluted plastic, over 4.5 trillion butts currently pollute our global environment.

  • 79% of all plastics ever produced have accumulated in the natural environment or landfills

2:00 Min

The dangers of over-extracting natural resources together with unsustainable waste management systems carry serious environmental consequences. The use of global materials alone has tripled over the decades – growing from 27 billion tonnes in 1970 to 89 billion tonnes in 2017. However, companies are actively searching for new ways to achieve sustainable solutions. Let’s take a closer look at these breakthroughs.

Design out waste

Organisations today are transforming our “throwaway” culture by redesigning circular economy systems where waste is continuously repurposed. For example, Caterpillar, a construction equipment manufacturer, has a fully dedicated division (Cat Reman) to recover and remanufacture old engine parts, reselling them under warranty at lower prices. Under this initiative, Cat Reman reduces more than 68 million kilograms of iron waste each year.

 

Keep products and materials in use

Companies are re-examining their current processes to optimise energy use and extend product life. For example, Google integrated machine learning into the cooling systems of its data centres, which experienced a 30 per cent efficiency increase after implementation. To assemble these data centres in the first place, the company took components from old servers and used them in new machines, keeping older products to build newer systems.

 

Transition to renewable energy

Other firms are vigorously reducing their carbon footprint by leveraging the earth’s renewable resources, such as wind and solar. In partnership with Milan Polytechnic, the Italian multinational oil and gas company Eni aims to achieve a 100 per cent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions using photovoltaic systems and wind projects by 2050. France’s Total and Britain’s BP are also following suit and pledging full decarbonisation in the next two decades. To find out more, learn how blockchain is helping big oil optimise for a carbon-friendly future.