What a Piece of Junk!

Feb. 5, 2014
Waste is a big global challenge, but also a big opportunity for SMEs.

China is the world’s largest waste importer, according to the Norwegian GRID-Arendal Foundation. Germany is the largest waste importer in Europe and when it comes to receiving and re-processing of waste it seems that German industry has really understood the “waste business” opportunity.

Somehow I have a better feeling Germans taking care of waste than China getting the waste from all over the world. Where is it going in China and how environmentally and employee friendly it is taken care of?

The fact in Europe is though, probably true across the world, that a large part of the waste is still put into landfills!

The amount of waste in the world is going to grow despite the fact that we should print less, but read more from the computer screen and use more recycled paper, recycle more PET bottles, etc.

Plus the waste is probably nowadays more environmentally damaging than long time ago. Why is that? For instance we swallow more pills than ever in order to conquer mild or more severe diseases and the rest goes into the sewage system. This human waste can also contain toxic metals or materials because pharmaceutical companies use them.

Bellevue SME Advisors visited recently a several very innovative European small businesses that have developed unique, but from each other different, methods how to handle domestic and industrial waste.

They use various ways to separate from the domestic or industrial process valuable waste and the rest is for instance gasified and heat and electricity is produced.

Just burning waste in big ovens is not the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to get rid of waste.

I am personally very fascinated about the business opportunities in this segment. It involves for instance a lot of material handling technology, control technology, sensors, process automation and power distribution business opportunities. In the near future more and more innovative solutions will give us better opportunities to take care of this global waste problem.

The future in waste handling segment is very promising for innovative European and US SMEs.

The good thing is that probably waste in the future is treated right at the same place where it was created. Which in turn produces gas or heat or even electricity for the industrial company on site. The waste will never leave premises. Only the part, that can be sold for re-use, will probably leave the site back to raw material producers.

Waste stinks, but waste is money for SMEs!

About the Author

R. Paul Vuolle Blog | CEO

R. Paul Vuolle's blog "The SME's Guide to European Manufacturing," has moved. You'll find his latest ideas and commentary on SME European Manufacturing on IndustryWeek's IdeaXchange. 

You'll find more articles written by Paul at http://www.industryweek.com/blog/smes-guide-european-manufacturing.

R. Paul Vuolle, CEO of Bellevue SME Advisors GmbH in Switzerland and Germany, works actively with small and medium (SME) size manufacturing companies in Europe in SCM/Outsourcing, logistics, turnaround and restructuring, market expansion, as well as succession planning and financing. He also frequently supports technology start- ups in building up their business. 

Paul has over 20 years operational industry experience in engineering, electronics, industrial automation, building automation, investment goods like electrical drives, automatic test & measurement systems, HV Transformer production systems. During his career he has worked in manufacturing industries in supply chain management, outsourcing, logistics, production, R&D and successfully selling to international large key accounts. Paul has also run a sizeable amount of M&A transactions in numerous countries around the world.

He has built up his experience working in various leadership positions and functions in large corporations, such as ABB, and having executive positions in medium-size family companies and as a technology entrepreneur.

Paul is MSc. E.E. from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich as well as BSc.E.E. from Helsinki Institute of Technology.

Paul is a long time member of IEEE and of its Industrial Applications Society.

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