Episode 7: From Waste to Efficiency: A CIO’s View on Innovation in Waste Recycling


In this episode we delve into the fascinating world of waste management and the role of technology in driving innovation. Dominic Howson is CIO at Viridor, a prominent player in the waste management industry in the UK. He shares his visionary perspectives on leveraging technology to transform waste management and bring it to a more efficient and sustainable way. He talks about the pressing need for new solutions in waste recycling, the value of data-driven insights, and the defining traits of successful CIOs in rapidly evolving industries. Dominic shares his insights and experiences on how technology, particularly AI and data analysis, can revolutionise waste recycling processes and propel the industry forward.


Every ton of waste holds 18% plastic, good for a whopping 70-80% of carbon emissions

Every ton of waste contains 18% plastic, which accounts for 70-80% of the carbon emissions when burned. These figures emphasise the urgent requirement for new waste recycling solutions that can efficiently recover resources. Instead of relying solely on one solution, Howson highlights the importance of adopting a comprehensive approach that incorporates different tools such as AI, automation, and data analysis. By embracing these technologies, waste management companies can enhance their operations, improve waste sorting processes with reduced human intervention, and explore innovative solutions like carbon capture projects.

Digital twins can reshape the recycling industry

The episode explores the importance of data and its transformative role in waste management. Combining different data sources and utilising technologies like digital twins can have a profound effect on the recycling process. By gathering and analysing real-time operational data, waste management companies can gain valuable insights, improve plant management, and enhance customer experiences. Furthermore, the potential of AI, including generative AI and chatbot technologies, is examined in aiding decision-making and generating valuable reports.

In order to be a successful CIO, one needs to have a clear vision and a communicative approach

As a judge of the annual “The Next CIO in the UK” nomination, Howson has noticed that a new generation of CIOs is revolutionising systems with innovative solutions to drive progress. It is crucial to adopt a broad approach to problem-solving, utilising a diverse range of tools and technologies to tackle challenges effectively. These CIOs possess a clear vision of how they leverage AI, automation, and data exploitation. Collaboration and effective communication with colleagues and peers are also essential qualities for CIOs, along with a continuous pursuit of new solutions.