Veolia unveils bin-less homes vision

Veolia Environnement has launched a vision for the management of household waste in bin-less homes of the future which includes nanoscopic robots sorting materials, self-cleaning surfaces and water purification systems based on plants and bacteria.

The environmental services company published its report entitled ‘Imagine 2050’ in partnership with the London School of Economics and is part of its strategy to promote the circular economy.

The report describes one future city in which system-level planning has created a dense, resource-efficient society characterised by collaborative consumption, shared ownership and local self-reliance. 

Alongside this, it models a scenario in which disparate and unregulated development has led to a resource-hungry urban sprawl where private consumption and ownership is prioritised over long-term communal thinking.

The 2050 home includes a kitchen where waste is sorted by nanoscopic robots and food packaging that is designed to degrade in line with sell-by dates. Waste from the bin-less home will be collected via a pneumatic network, by an underground network, and transferred to treatment facilities. This 24/7 waste collection service will reduce the presence of vehicles in the city, helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.

Meanwhile the bathroom features ultrasonic baths, self-cleaning surfaces and water purification based on systems found in plants and bacteria.  

Homes have 3D printers and new paints and materials optimising natural light and improving energy conservation. Some of these technologies are already in development.

According to the report, in the more efficient city, emissions will have been reduced by 80% (since 1990), compared with 40% in the contrasting scenario. 

Veolia Environnement UK and Northern Europe executive vice-president Estelle Brachlianoff said: “By 2050 it’s estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. We need to start thinking now about how to lock urban lifestyles into more sustainable pathways.

“We already have much of the technology we need to recycle, recover and reuse precious resources, but we also need a shift in public attitudes and greater engagement from government and business.”

LSE senior research fellow for LSE Cities Dr Savvas Verdis added: “We know from studying cities across Europe that the best-performing cities use a combination of infrastructure investment and innovative policies to encourage sustainable lifestyles.  A circular economy cannot be built piecemeal, a systems-wide approach is essential.”

Liz Gyekye


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