More and more, when talking about innovation the topic of digitalisation is also brought forward.

A briefing from the European Environment Agency highlights how digital technologies will deliver more effective waste management regimes. They will allow Europe’s economy to recover more of the valuable materials present in waste streams, reducing the amounts of raw materials mined or imported and avoiding the associated environmental and climate impacts.

It is based on a report by the European Topic Centre on Waste and Materials in a Green Economy (ETC/WMGE) analysing current approaches to a digitalisation of waste management and the current state of digitalisation in the sector. The report founds that the waste management sector is in a transition phase towards the diffusion of digitalisation. Overall,  the  matter  of  the  digital  transformation  of  waste  management  and  prevention  in  a  circular economy is under-researched and requires much more analysis. Thus the report recommends to explore the role and functions of the waste management sector in a full-fledged digital circular economy needs  exploration  and  analysis,  as  it  may  change  considerably.  For  example,  the  need  for compatibility  of  interfaces  should  be  addressed,  but  also  the  role  of  public  waste  management agents in such a system needs investigation.

In link to that, it underlines how the role of public authorities could be impacted: "Policy actions need to focus on waste prevention  and  on  responsibility  of  producers,  and  this  requires  a  stimulating  approach  through communication campaigns for consumers and the promotion of responsibility amongst manufacturers and industry  players.  The  role  of  the  authority  therefore  has  shifted  from  command  and  control  to  include much more stakeholder motivation and involvement."

Read the ETC/WMGE report here.

Read the EEA briefing here.

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