It’s time to talk about improving the environment, economic freedom and national security. Yes, it’s time to talk trash.
Nobody likes to talk about trash. It’s never a topic at social gatherings, even at The Heritage Foundation, and it’s easy to see why. Trash is a dirty word. We hide it and bury it, but we all have it. People of all socio-economic classes have litter. Even the President has trash (one of my company’s haulers handles White House trash).
Waste is an apolitical issue that transcends socio-economic status and has remained essentially unchanged since Roman times. For generations we have buried our waste in the ground and our heads in the sand, unwilling to break with a broken business model or seriously consider the impact of our waste on the environment.
Technology is changing all that, however. And my company, Rubicon, is an example of that. In strict adherence to the principles of economic freedom, we use technology to drive meaningful change and achieve environmental innovation. In particular, we create software solutions to help businesses, municipal governments and waste haulers around the world reduce waste and create more sustainable solutions for waste disposal.
Rubicon creates better socio-economic and environmental outcomes by working towards a circular economy – an economy where existing materials and products are reused, repaired, refurbished and recycled for as long as possible – thereby reducing waste and providing better solutions for our clients.
Simply put: reducing waste is good for the environment.
It can also mean saving money. Diverting recyclable materials away from landfill sends these materials to recycling centers where they can be harvested for raw materials. These raw materials are then sold as commodities. By improving the waste stream, waste can be transformed from something you pay to haul into something you get paid for.
The technology can also be used to help minimize the overall cost of waste management, by analyzing the waste stream so customers only pay for what they use, not a monthly fee, whether they have a dumpster empty or full. This saves customers money across the full spectrum of their waste management. It also democratizes the industry by allowing smaller carriers to take on larger contracts that were previously the domain of dominant industry players.
Reducing waste can also mean protecting our national security. Waste is a threat to national security just as it is a threat to the environment. Dumps represent the ultimate opportunity for international criminal organizations to harvest data and information from individuals and organizations. Improper disposal of electronic devices poses as much, if not a greater threat than hacking, with the Identity Theft Resource Center calculating that more than 50% of data attacks in 2020 resulted from improperly disposed or stolen electronic devices .
We must also turn our eyes to the skies, where the looming threat of space junk threatens our communications networks, the safety of our astronauts, the International Space Station, and the valuable infrastructure we all rely on. According to former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who chaired the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a “little piece” of space junk could destroy a billion-dollar satellite.
Right now there are tens of thousands of pieces of space junk orbiting the planet at speeds seven times faster than a bullet, thousands more pieces now than there were before. year, before Russia blew up one of its satellites with a ground-based missile.
We depend on space for our communications, cable TV, GPS and other tools that support our economy and our way of life. The spread of space junk puts all of this at risk. Business, government and academia need to work together to develop new ideas for eliminating waste from space.
Corporate citizenship is changing and companies need to be accountable for their role in protecting their country’s national security, and here in the United States, we need companies to do more. Private sector leaders here in the United States need to make sure they are doing all they can to help keep us safe. This applies to the technology sector and, of course, to vulnerabilities in our supply chain.
Some CEOs stand boldly in this regard. The CEO of Palantir, for example, called on his fellow CEOs to disclose and justify any business they conduct with adversaries of the United States. This would bring about a sea change in corporate reporting and represent a significant shift in critical market-driven expectations.
We must strive to move in this direction and we must ensure that waste and recycling are highlighted and accounted for as much as emissions data. We need to ensure that companies strive to understand how global practices in this regard enhance national security.
The late Boone Pickens made this point as only he could in his particular field of energy: “I do not believe it is wise for America to substitute dependence on foreign oil for dependence on Chinese batteries .
Technology represents the greatest entrepreneurial opportunity in human history, and the United States of America is the epicenter of all that is possible. Today, technology has made being an entrepreneur cheaper than ever, and our country must continue to lead in innovation. Let’s all use the power of economic freedom to achieve the American Dream.
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