Where next for recycling simulations?

Jen Morgan, a UK student and winner of the latest SIMUL8 student competition, talks about her simulation:

What we do with waste is a contentious issue garnering regular attention in the press; from discussions around the number of bins to changing our perception of waste and encouraging social responsibility.

The pressure to reduce costs for councils coupled with the public disdain for high numbers of recycling bins leads to tension. However, environmental concerns mean these issues need to be explored and the public provided with information on how their behavior has a significant impact on the viability of recycling.

This was the intention of the recycling plant simulation created for the SIMUL8 student competition; seeking to provide a model to explore how sort options or box schemes impact quality, costs and overall viability.

It seems that there are many places that simulation could be of great use within the environmental context to inform the public but examples of these remain sparse in practice. So, could the following be potential areas for exploration:
– Use simulation to model the routing of vehicles collecting materials for an MRF (Materials Recovery Facility).
– Following from modeling an MRF, the same ideas can be applied to the factories that turn the discarded plastic bottles into new products (a manufacturing process); examining the viability of a business.
– Explore the wider scenario of recycling, for example a whole country’s waste generation and how waste and recycling facilities can be optimally located.
– Use simulation to examine individual behavior and measures to encourage recycling, and how these impact recycling rates at a national level

SIMUL8 blog editor
Thanks Jen, and hope you enjoy your iPad! Any students looking for ideas on what to submit to the next competition, or at anytime during the year, why not build one of the simulations that Jen has suggested and see if you can do as well as, or better than her?