As the move into the information and data-driven age intensifies, the green economy is becoming more important. Rather than being viewed as an obstacle or challenge, the new normal of environmental protection must be seen as an opportunity. As with all enterprises, technology will have a role to play and provide opportunities that may not have been present previously.
It is important to be aware of these opportunities and understand why the next big start-up will be in the green economy. US sustainable index funds have seen investment of over $36.1 billion in the last decade, with 82% of this seen over the last 18 months. Current thinking has shifted to various positions. Although plastics are recognized as bad for the environment, there is a determined need for them in industry, and as the ability to reuse and recycle becomes more evident, this will provide opportunities for tech development. Rather than only seeing the damage to the economy, green investment seeks to use sustainable technologies to reduce such damage and make a profit while doing so. Technology is required that is able to deal with all of the various pillars of the green economy, namely:- climate change, resource-saving, cradle-to-cradle economics, water and resource-saving, ecosystem protection, and recovery of used materials.
Tech Development for the Green Economy
For the continued growth of the green economy, improved technology and the more widespread use of the current technology will be required. Wind, sun and water energy, energy storage as well as recycling and reusing sustainable manufacturing raw materials as much as possible is the only way forward for a sustainable economy and continued growth of this sector.
A great example has been the innovation surrounding the use and reuse of plastics, seen in the new plastic welding techniques and tools that are now available. The material is only bad if discarded and thrown away, allowed to clog up oceans, and contaminate landfill. Yet if there are ways to recycle, reuse and repurpose plastic by either making the original product more long-lasting or repairing products at the end of the product life cycle, the harm to the environment can be mitigated. Repurposing plastics and finding new uses for used plastic is a greenfield opportunity. In addition, the increased use of plastics in manufacturing has made plastic welding a popular option for many manufacturers. This can bring about benefits for the environment as objects that are plastic welded together can be lighter and easier to recycle.
The idea of discarding anything from the manufacturing and production process is outdated, and waste is seen as the new gold for those who have the right technology and mindset. With the reduction in the amount of exported waste from the US, homegrown companies will now have to find ways to deal with this waste.
Thus, it is clear that the next big startup will be in the green economy, recycling, reusing, repurposing is the way forward. All the signs are there, and what will be important will be to be able to identify the next big thing for investment.
Looking at current examples, the plastics industry is presented herein as one of the top sectors for continued green growth. The possibilities are endless, and one only needs to look at the current examples on the market to see related avenues for growth. Innovation around technology is arguably the only way that this will be done. The right tech and tools will open up these opportunities in the green economy.