10 things eft’s been reading this week

One man’s trash might literally be another man’s gold!

A lot of us are focused on getting things to the consumer or the manufacturer, but in this week’s 10 things, we look at the other end of the supply chain. What happens when things are thrown away and is there a whole new value chain to be reaped in logistical terms? One man’s trash might literally be another man’s gold!

You might think largely of gold as an ornament, but in fact its practical uses are its strongest feature. It is extremely inert and also the best currently available conductor of heat and electricity. So, it is used in a host of electronics and there’s gold on every smartphone. So much so, that a ton of used smartphones has far more gold than an entire mine! This means there is huge potential value in dealing with e-waste, as well as a moral component from both a sustainability angle and also the potential exploitation to get the rare materials required. E-waste mining could be big business - and good for the planet. [BBC]

Daisy is Apple’s new iPhone-recycling robot. [The Verge]

India's unofficial recycling bin: the city where electronics go to die. [The Guardian]

Similarly, battery production is rocketing, particularly when it comes to electric vehicles. However, that will leave a huge pile of them on the other side as current lithium-ion battery technology cannot prevent the batteries from diminishing in effectiveness over time. Fortunately, a new value chain is arising to make use of these batteries. Where 3 Million Electric Vehicle Batteries Will Go When They Retire . [Bloomberg]

'Urban mining' in South Korea pulls rare battery materials from recycled tech. [Reuters]

Food is also a key area of waste, with value lost at almost every stage. Changing this could transform retailers margins. By one estimate, $218 billion is spent in the US alone to grow and then throw away foodstuffs. Goodr: Blockchain Food Waste Surplus Supply Chain Logistics App. [BitcoinExchangeGuide]

Alongside blockchain, there is room for huge innovation across the food supply chain, with greater data analysis, internet of things monitoring and even drones! How can technology bring the supply chain of tomorrow to the food industry of today? [Institute of Food Science & Technology]

Businesses are now seeing the potential value, with Lidl looking to bring its waste management operations in-house. Lidl to acquire German waste business. [Letsrecycle.com]

They are doing this because sustainability and managing the other end of the cycle makes business sense. We’ve already seen how there’s a literal gold mine in e-waste but looking at what gets wasted and thrown out can create big returns. Smarter inventory management, better tracking, reusing returns are just some of the examples where less gets thrown out, costs are reduced, and more gets sold. 5 Ways a Sustainable Supply Chain Wins the Market. [EBN]

Tracking the contribution of logistics to sustainability. [Rail Technology Magazine]

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