(from left to right): Mhairi McNeill (Data scientist); Michael Groves (CEO); Ben Emson (CTO); Josef Harbich (Geospatial analyst)
Award-winning data analytics business Topolytics is working with the Ordnance Survey to create a system to monitor and track all of the UK’s waste. The company has been selected by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to design a ‘smart’ system to capture the more than 20 million movements of waste from their sources through to final processing or disposal. The system will track all inert and hazardous waste from households, local authorities, businesses and the construction sector. Topolytics CEO, Michael Groves, said: “We are excited to be partnering with the Ordnance Survey on delivering a powerful and practical solution for the UK’s environmental regulators and waste managers. Our combination of waste industry experience, software development, data science and geospatial analytics is a powerful mix.” Government wants to know more about how the UK’s waste is generated, handled and processed in order to improve oversight, maximise the value of waste materials and minimise its damage to the environment. It therefore launched this smart waste tracking challenge under its GovTech Catalyst, a programme that engages the private sector with public sector challenges. Topolytics is designing the system on its WasteMap analytics platform that makes waste management more cost and resource efficient. It ingests and processes data from many different sources and applies data science, mapping and geographic analytics. This identifies and qualifies the sources, types of waste and disposal locations – making this complex system of materials movements visible and unlocking greater value. For this work, Topolytics has been recognised by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a global circular economy innovator and by Cleantech Group as one of the leading ‘smart waste’ companies. Across the world, most waste still ends up in landfill sites or unregulated waste dumps. This represents a significant economic loss and has negative consequences for the environment and society. Topolytics helps companies that generate waste to capture much more value from this material and ensure that the value of their waste is maximised. Its data is also accessed by recyclers and others that want to recover materials and bring them back into production. WasteMap has been developed through close collaboration with industry, government and academia, including pioneering sensor and analytics projects in the UK and China.