One of the great opportunities ignored by too many of those involved in the waste business is the lack of a shared, long-term vision for the industry due to an absence of in-depth peer-reviewed research.
Many industries in Canada benefit from a strong working relationship with academia, including automotive, polymers, finance, electronics, mining, and agriculture.
A recently commissioned industry study concluded that Canadian universities and colleges host considerable expert research capability in the field of waste management. From the Maritimes to British Columbia, Canadian academics are actively engaged in the study of a broad range of waste-related issues and practices.
However, their work to-date has been entirely ad hoc and uncoordinated, utilized by industry on an as-needed basis rather than in a strategic way.
It’s time to move away from such an isolated operational framework and embrace a new business paradigm that leverages Canada’s tremendous untapped domestic expertise and technological capability to build a robust and proactive plan for the future.
It’s time to bring Canada’s best minds in academia and industry together.
The University of Waterloo, which offers unique experience in establishing industry institutes to support long-term planning and research in operations and manufacturing, has taken some early first steps in this regard by hosting a waste management partnership workshop, coming out of which was a consensus that a school of waste studies should become a long-term industry priority.