Today’s students are tomorrow’s EHS professionals. As a global EHS leader, Gensuite is dedicated to supporting the future of sustainability and innovation. In 2018, Gensuite awarded its second scholarship, to Kayla Ferdelman, a stand-out student at the University of Cincinnati. With 20+ years of environmental expertise, the Gensuite team cherished the opportunity to give back to the Environmental, Health, and Safety community.
The Gensuite Scholarship is offered exclusively to the University of Cincinnati’s environmental studies program. Applicants must meet scholarship requirements and submit an essay in order to be eligible for the Gensuite Scholarship. This year, the essay question featured how current environmental factors and technological advancements will impact our future.
We were impressed with Kayla’s insights on how using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology can revolutionize the way we save and sustain our world. Read Kayla’s essay below to see why we are proud to make her our 2018 Gensuite scholar:
Companies are becoming increasingly environmentally aware. Green labels, sustainable sourcing, and energy efficiency are becoming the norm. Unfortunately, sometimes even the companies with the ‘greenest’ mindset could still indirectly impact the environment through their consumers. The core of the problem remains in hazardous waste. Hundreds of products fall under the scope of toxic waste- everything from chemical cleaners to old paints. Even if a company has implemented safe processing procedures, their consumers may not. According to the EPA, the average household in the U.S. can produce 20 pounds of dangerous waste each year. Often, this waste either builds up in the home, or is disposed of improperly (1). Left unchecked, this waste production can add up to over 530,000 tons per year entering landfills. How can companies that produce these products connect with their consumers, so that their green impact can carry from the product’s origin to its end? The answer may be in the technological advancement known as the “Internet of Things” (IoT).
IoT is the connection of appliances to the internet through which these items may interact and share information (2). The Internet of Things connects people to information through items they use every day and connects these objects to each other. Imagine the impact the producer of home appliances and even just everyday objects could have if they connect with their consumers at this level. A homeowner could use their smartphone to scan the barcode of a chemical cleaner to access information about its hazard level, disposal, and nearby locations in which this material can be safely disposed of. An appliance that needs a battery replacement could notify the owner through their phone about the situation, where to find a new battery, and how to recycle the old one. The interconnection of the appliance to the smartphone to the car could then have the car route itself to the location as well. Imagine the impact this accessibility could have. Prevention of hazardous waste would go from a guessing game to something every person can master.
IoT is already being implemented in some areas of the battle against hazardous waste. In Chinese recycling centers, IoT is used to scan recycled material for their content, offer live video feed to the manager, and find breaks in the pattern of a normal recycling haul (3). This company-level IoT advancement could be implemented in households as a backup plan for when a home owner neglects to check their product before tossing it. Trashcans could monitor for toxic fumes released within the container and notify the homeowner via their smartphone or household alarm that something dangerous has been thrown away.
For a company, utilizing this technology can prevent their product from polluting the environment at the consumer level. And, among all other benefit, use of this technology could let consumers know that their product has a company behind it that truly cares and takes their commitment for environmental protection to the most impactful level- the education of the public.
Gensuite looks forward to continuing this scholarship on a global scale in order to support young EHS leaders like Kayla that are paving the way to a brighter, more sustainable future. To learn more about Gensuite’s philanthropy efforts, visit our website: https://www.gensuite.com/philanthropy/