reconnecting people and technology at the service of the circular economy

Take out the trash… Such a banal gesture that has become a cornerstone of the future of our planet. We are all aware of this and yet, have we taken the measure of the technological, industrial and human challenge that this implies? The climate emergency is there, it requires a paradigm shift and we are all concerned, individually and collectively. Despite the simplification of household waste sorting instructions, there is still a long way to go to reach the goal of 65% waste recycling by 2025. This challenge is human, technological and industrial.

The industrialist: from problem to solution

Long perceived as the first culprits, industrial players are now identified as a large part of the solution since the scale of the environmental project we are facing requires responses sized on an industrial scale… The linear model “extract, produce , consume and throw away” is no longer tenable, it must clear the way for the circular model to take over. In this context, there is no doubt that the industry of the future must and will be circular. To make this transition, innovations are invited to penetrate the heart of factories and make devices connected and intelligent, in other words 4.0.

In the waste sector specifically, optical sorting technology, coupled with artificial intelligence, makes it possible to refine, accelerate and improve the performance of recycling our waste, the keystone of the circular economy. With the extension of the sorting instructions (all packaging in the yellow bin), the volumes and complexity of waste streams are increasing. Without technology, the challenge of efficient recycling can never be addressed to the height of the ambitions that France and the European Union have set themselves. So yes: sorting centers must also undergo their 4.0 revolution! To achieve this, technology is and will be at the rendezvous, we can be proud of it…

technologies and people

However, the solutions in the service of the ecological transition will not be purely technological. They must be simple, efficient, human and sustainable. The trap would be to have a purely technological approach without taking into account the social and psychological dimension of the devices since the human factor is decisive for the successful integration of technology in sorting centres. You can recruit the best engineers, develop the most efficient machine, imagine the most innovative devices… If the machine – this “Roll’s Royce” of sorting – is not adopted by the operators then the efforts are in vain. Worse, we could be accused of playing sorcerer’s apprentices to imagine genius, costly and elitist solutions, whereas the ecological transition can only take place if people are in full possession of the solutions developed.

Innovation in sorting centers must be accompanied by training and apply ingenuity in the service of responsible designs, designed to last. At Pellenc ST we are developing technology and training for sorting centers 4.0. As manufacturers, we have an obvious responsibility to develop solutions that will reduce pollution, as Bertrand Piccard, founder of the Solar Impulse Foundation, very clearly explains. And I would also like to launch an invitation to young people who are in training and who are going to make a decisive choice when it comes time to embark on their professional life. If they want to find jobs that make sense, with a positive impact for the planet, then they can also turn to the industrial sector and more specifically to companies like ours that deploy services to make industry more sustainable. . The recycling sector needs talents from all sides to address this challenge of the circular economy. Because the industry of tomorrow will be technological and human!

by Jean Henin, Chairman of Pellenc ST

Expert opinions are published under the full responsibility of their authors and in no way engage the editorial staff of L’Usine Nouvelle.

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