Other services, such as water treatment, have already been confronted to this challenge : the need to move from a business based on an increase of volumes in a growth model oriented towards the quality of the service. Up until very recently, preserved, waste management, too, must now be rubbing. Between 2004 and 2014 in 32 States – the 28 members of the EU as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey – considered by the european environment Agency (EEA), the rate of landfilling of municipal waste has increased from 49% to 34%, according to a report published in November.
Between 2004 and 2012, the overall production of waste per capita (excluding major mineral wastes, related to extractive activities) has decreased by 5.8% in the european Union, according to Eurostat.
“The reduction of consumption means more to the regulation and the culture,” acknowledges Philippe Maillard, director general of the division of Recycling and valorisation of Suez.
“Let us go into your factories ! “
Convinced that such a movement may not be that” accompanied “, Suez bet on two global challenges : the pollution, which imposes on the industry more responsible choices, and the increasing scarcity of natural resources, which propels the circular economy on the front of the stage. In terms of waste, the group has also abandoned the term “management” to ” recovery “, which became the pillar of its strategy. And in terms of offers, he insists, especially on-to-measure services, designed within the framework of a logic of partnership.
“The message to our customers is clear : if you want to recycle more and better, let us more in front of the door, but let us go into your factories,” says Philippe Maillard.
A discourse in which business, who want to improve their reputation, seem to be more and more receptive, including at the level of directorates-general.
Thus, in may, Suez has entered into a partnership with L’oréal for the management, for three years, the environmental performance (energy, water, waste) for all industrial establishments in the cosmetics group : adapted solutions will be developed on a site-by-site. The support can also go further, up to the ecodesign, as in the case of the recent collaboration with Procter & Gamble for the development of a first bottle of shampoo that was composed in part of plastic collected on the beaches.
A laboratory for bio-waste, another for plastic
To bring this “revolution” of the resource “, Philippe Maillard is conscious of it, ” innovation is essential “. It is thanks to his policies of research and development entrusted to 400 researchers Suez directs the bulk of its activities in the field of waste to the production of secondary materials of high quality and green energy “, respectively, to 3.9 million tonnes and 6 254 GWh in Europe, in 2016.
In this sense, the greatest challenge is undoubtedly represented by the plastic, in which Suez devotes eight units in Europe, but today only 25 % are recycled.
“The resins placed on the market, very many, are evolving all the time. The transform recycled content corresponding to the request of the processors is often still too expensive, and sometimes even technically impossible, ” says Philippe Maillard.
The controversy on the PET opaque, more and more used to bottles of milk as they are less heavy and therefore less expensive, but non-recyclable, that Ségolène Royal has eventually to submit to a ” penalty “, has materialized in recent months on this issue. Suez nevertheless hopes to double its production of recycled plastics in Europe before the end of the decade, through a laboratory dedicated to this issue : PLAST lab, created in 2014.
“Our teams are working every day to develop new recycling techniques,” insists the director-general of the division.
In 2018, the group also plans to open in Narbonne, in partnership with the Inra, and another lab dedicated to organic waste, another challenge for the future, since the law of energy transition in advocates the separate collection in the whole of France, in the year 2025. In this area, Suez is also experimenting with solutions already allowing to directly use the biogas produced by the anaerobic digestion of bio-waste for heat production units in the vicinity : including a greenhouse of tomatoes in Toulouse and pepper to Caen. “It allows you to avoid energy loss,” says Philippe Maillard. The same approach is beginning to be applied also to landfill centres : in france, the group partnered with the startup Waga Energy, including new technology allows you to inject directly into the gas network the biogas produced by the stored waste, the annual consumption of 3,000 households.
Tanks are connected to dump smart
Another issue with innovation is fundamental, in particular to better serve half of the customers of Suez constituted by the local authorities, but also companies, “more and more demanding of transparency on their flow “- is “the process of integrating the digital” : a transformation in which the water treatment has also opened the way, while the waste management is still lagging behind. Experiments of its potential is already underway. At Dijon, where the company won in April the management of the collection and sorting of waste from the urban community for five years, Suez has deployed several digital services, such as the geo-location of collection points, accessible on tablet and smartphone. In Rennes, where the group has réobtenu in may the contract for collection of household waste from the metropolis for six years, two of the 42 trash trucks in traffic are equipped, as early as July 2017, sensors for measuring air quality, noise levels and the energy losses of the buildings.
An application to the waste center ” visio “, “control towers” bringing together data and monitoring real-time water networks, will be launched in October in Lyon. And in order to better organise the marketing of organic waste, Suez has launched a marketplace dedicated to it, Organix, based on an auction system and allows transactions to “simple and secure” between producers of waste and operators of biogas plants. The solution seems to be inspired by the services offered by the american company Rubicon Global, which the French group acquired a participation of 2% in December, in a logic of innovation in partnership : nicknamed the ” Uber of waste “, Rubicon, in a way purely digital, is organizing an online auction for the contract of waste management to its customers. In Organix, Suez, which itself, however, can build on its assets, will, however, also the transport and logistics industry and guarantee the quality of the waste.
As for the bins with sensors, recording the volume of waste and frequency of collection, the market is less dynamic than anticipated. Of course, a million French are already equipped, in the territorial communities that have implemented the system of incentive pricing that the law of energy transition advocates before 2025. But in spite of their positive results (+10% of the passages in the waste and -30% of landfill), most of the local communities, in terms of costs and doubts about the adverse effects of the device, yet to follow. Suez thinks about alternative applications : 220.000 Rennes must receive it before the summer of tanks ” chipped “, which the company will use the data to optimize its collection circuits.