Technology’s Role in Combating Excessive Waste in ASEAN

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UOB FinLab's GreenTech Accelerator 2024

We now approach the final weeks before applications for UOB FinLab’s GreenTech Accelerator 2024 come to a close. We have received outstanding applications from hundreds of innovative greentechs that have the potential to make impactful contributions to the world’s sustainability goals of net zero.

For this year’s programme, we developed 32 challenge statements in collaboration with our partners to address existing challenges in waste management, energy efficiency, food and agriculture, sustainable cities and sustainability reporting.

One area that will be key in driving ASEAN’s sustainability efforts is more remarkable innovations in waste management and circular economy.

UOB FinLab understands ASEAN’s waste challenges and is committed to catalysing innovative solutions that address this issue. We have two challenge statements in the GreenTech Accelerator Programme 2024 relating to waste – particularly regarding analysing waste streams and identifying recycling and upcycling opportunities.

Issues Of Waste Asean - Technology’s Role In Combating Excessive Waste In Asean

The issue of waste in ASEAN

Excess waste in ASEAN is a major issue that must be addressed expediently. Waste generated in ASEAN is responsible for a fifth of all rubbish produced globally and is projected to reach 300 million tonnes annually by 2030, with plastic waste currently constituting more than 30 million tonnes.

Excessive waste often results in poor waste management and ineffective disposal methods, such as dumping waste into the ocean or overfilling landfills beyond their capacity. When waste spreads beyond its designated landfills, it can cause multiple issues that impact the well-being of humans, the environment, and a nation’s economy.

Government bodies in ASEAN see the importance of minimising waste and have introduced initiatives encouraging waste reduction to conserve landfill space, such as Singapore’s 3Rs by the National Environment Agency.

Although the current mechanisms are a step in the right direction, a larger collaborative effort is required to successfully achieve the goal of waste reduction. Regulations, education and innovation are three key pillars needed to achieve waste reduction goals and larger sustainability objectives.

Government agencies, private sector players and technology solutions providers must come together and have objective conversations about fine-tuning regulations and educating stakeholders through best practices, as well as creating an ideal environment for new innovative green-tech solutions to take off.

Technology Innovation - Technology’s Role In Combating Excessive Waste In Asean

Opening new avenues through technology

Technology and innovation are arguably one of the most important factors that will expedite change – not just in waste management but also in addressing wider sustainability goals.

Technology unveils new opportunities to efficiently and effectively address waste challenges. We are seeing technology systems such as IoT or AI being used to provide real-time analytics that improve and optimise processes such as waste collection, infrastructure development and predicting waste generation.

In Singapore, some innovative examples of leveraging AI and IOT to revolutionise waste management practices include “Smart recycling boxes” that reward residents with supermarket vouchers for sorting waste, or The Smart Bin developed by FairPrice Group and A*STAR employs artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart sensors to help address the issues of incorrect recycling practices and low recycling rates.

Beyond digital technologies, we are also witnessing scientific breakthroughs in Asia that tackle the region’s waste issue. One example is a previous participant of UOB FinLab’s GreenTech Accelerator Programme – Alterpacks. Alterpacks developed a new certified home compostable material made from thrown-out food by manufacturers to create food containers that can go back into the ecosystem – promoting greater circularity.

Importance Of Asean Greentechs - Technology’s Role In Combating Excessive Waste In Asean

The importance of ASEAN’s greentechs

Greentechs in ASEAN now play a vital role in developing innovative solutions to meet sustainability objectives and help other businesses kick-start and/or sustain their green initiatives in areas relating to reporting, carbon services and ESG infrastructure, to name a few.

The main hurdles ASEAN greentechs face include a lack of exposure to industry leaders, governments, banks, scientists and industry players. It is crucial to have ongoing dialogues with SMEs, corporates and industry leaders for greentechs to innovate and develop solutions successfully. These dialogues allow greentechs to understand pain points as well as pilot and commercially deploy solutions.

The wide array of benefits from collaboration is why UOB FinLab has established a vast ecosystem of government agencies, SMEs and key industry stakeholders across five ASEAN markets.

Through Greentech Accelerator 2024, selected greentechs will receive access to our vast network of 23,000 industry leaders, including businesses, governments, SMEs, and tech suppliers. Some key partners for this year’s programme include Enterprise Singapore, A*StartCentral and Temasek Foundation.

To further cement our commitment to driving innovative solutions to address sustainability goals, GreenTech Accelerator 2024 will offer up to SGD100,000 for greentechs to pilot innovative, relevant and deployable solutions with businesses

Tried and tested

Water Monitoring - Technology’s Role In Combating Excessive Waste In Asean

Our inaugural GreenTech Accelerator was a huge success, where we witnessed the exchange of innovative ideas, the forging of long term business partnerships and actionable plans on how to collectively achieve net-zero.

HydroNeo and REDEX are two great examples of successful past participants that leveraged UOB FinLab’s extensive network to create genuine business opportunities. As a result of the previous GreenTech Accelerator programme, HydroNeo connected with more than 15 industry experts and managed to embark on a pilot project together with UOB to support Thai shrimp farmers in digitalising their business processes.

REDEX leveraged the networking sessions and masterclasses to meet industry leaders, educate businesses, boost mindshare of their product, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), and secure new clients such as UOB. Being in front of a curated network was instrumental for REDEX as it provided great opportunities for collaboration with new partners.

Accelerator programmes like Greentech Accelerator 2024 will continue to play a crucial role in uniting governments, industry players, greentech solution providers and other stakeholders to catalyse business growth and greentech innovation through collaboration. Through collaboration, we will move one step closer to achieving global sustainability goals and preserving our planet for future generations.

Online programme

Start Smart Programme

Designed for business owners to enhance their digital capabilities through practical learning, this programme takes businesses to the next level.

Online programme

Start Smart Programme

Designed for business owners to enhance their digital capabilities through practical learning, this programme takes businesses to the next level.

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