The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the growth of the market for sustainable Waste Management because of increasing awareness of environmental concerns, stringent regulations on Waste Management, and the need for cost-effective and efficient waste treatment solutions. The growing importance of technologies such as waste sorting and separation, waste-to-energy conversion systems, advanced recycling processes, and smart Waste Management systems powered by Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics is further driving innovation in the industry. These technologies enable efficient waste handling, resource recovery, and sustainable Waste Management practices, contributing to a cleaner and more environmentally friendly future. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environmental Sustainability Innovation: Waste Management Systems. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

300+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 2.5 million patents, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, environmental sensors, smart grid monitoring systems, and  electric vehicles (EV) battery management systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Waste Management systems, engine exhaust control system and hybrid solar are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are energy trading platforms, EV charging metering automation, and smart grid metering, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the technology industry

Waste Management systems is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Waste Management systems encompass a range of methods and procedures employed to handle waste materials, including their collection, transportation, processing, recycling, and disposal. These systems aim to minimise the volume of waste destined for landfills or incinerators, and to mitigate the environmental consequences associated with waste disposal. By integrating various technologies, practices, and policies, Waste Management systems strive to decrease both the quantity and toxicity of waste generated and discarded within a specific region or area.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of waste management systems.

Key players in Waste Management systems – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to Waste Management systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Walmart 128 Unlock Company Profile
ecoATM 113 Unlock Company Profile
Rubicon 97 Unlock Company Profile
Outerwall 82 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 39 Unlock Company Profile
MariCap 32 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Hongyan Returnable Transit Packagings 31 Unlock Company Profile
Divert 27 Unlock Company Profile
Dover 26 Unlock Company Profile
Reen 25 Unlock Company Profile
Avery Dennison 23 Unlock Company Profile
Itron 19 Unlock Company Profile
Coupang 18 Unlock Company Profile
Empire Technologies 18 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 17 Unlock Company Profile
Fedex Supply Chain Logistics & Electronics 17 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 16 Unlock Company Profile
Kimberly-Clark 15 Unlock Company Profile
Goodyear Tire & Rubber 14 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 13 Unlock Company Profile
Hon Hai Precision Industry 13 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid 13 Unlock Company Profile
Krones 13 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 13 Unlock Company Profile
South East Water 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sugi Group 12 Unlock Company Profile
Tricopian 12 Unlock Company Profile
Stryker 12 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Tateisi Electronics 11 Unlock Company Profile
Oberon Fmr 11 Unlock Company Profile
Republic Services 10 Unlock Company Profile
China General Nuclear Power 10 Unlock Company Profile
Haier Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 9 Unlock Company Profile
Linde 9 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 9 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 9 Unlock Company Profile
Toyo-System 8 Unlock Company Profile
MICAS 8 Unlock Company Profile
Jamf 8 Unlock Company Profile
Winnow Solutions 8 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Biological Services 8 Unlock Company Profile
CupClub 8 Unlock Company Profile
Schnitzer Steel Industries 8 Unlock Company Profile
NIKE 8 Unlock Company Profile
Recycle Track Systems 8 Unlock Company Profile
Plant Response Biotech 8 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 7 Unlock Company Profile
Allegion 7 Unlock Company Profile
MC Familiengesellschaft 7 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Walmart is a leading patent filer in the field of Waste Management systems. One of the company’s patents describes methods and apparatuses used for tracking product recalls in distribution centres. The system includes electronic interfaces for inputting recall information and receiving notifications of recalls, a database for storing the recall information, and a control circuit for creating recall records, assigning recalls to affected distribution centres, transmitting notifications, receiving confirmation and disposition updates from the centres, and updating the database accordingly.

The other prominent patent filers in the space include ecoATM and Rubicon.       

In terms of geographical reach, Itron leads the pack, followed by Linde and Exxon Mobil. In terms of application diversity, Waste Management holds the top position, followed by Xiaomi and Advanced Biological Services.           

Environmental sustainability innovation in Waste Management systems has transformed the way waste is handled and processed. These systems employ advanced technologies and practices to minimise waste generation, promote recycling and composting, and reduce the environmental impact of waste disposal.

To further understand how environmental sustainability is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Sustainability – Thematic Research.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.