Technical Support : New tool to find best opportunities in waste management across sectors

Shweta Singh
© Tom Campbell

A new|tool, developed by scientists at Purdue University (Indiana, U.S.), finds hidden connections across industrial sectors and identifies opportunities to reduce waste and lower carbon emissions by mapping the physical economy for a region.]

“The climate and the economy are too important for us to make mistakes,” says interdisciplinary scientist Shweta Singh. “This cloud based tool provides a big-picture view and allows policymakers and industry to plug in a potential change and see the results. Those involved can virtually test different options before making a decision.” Past zero-waste and low-carbon efforts focused on one portion of industrial flow. However, a view of the whole system is needed to make the best choices and most effective investments in emerging technology for overall improvement, she says.

“The approach is like the human genome project, but for the physical economy – mapping the relationship between industry and the environment,” explains Singh. “It allows us to find and understand connections within the whole system. We needed the human genome project – the complete map - to begin to identify the genes key to disease or health, and we need a complete map of the physical economy to identify what changes are key to achieving sustainability.”

A U.S. patent is pending on the cloud platform.