Is it really a hard choice between a wasteless future and a wasteful planet? The question mark behind the subtitle of Industry 4.0 and Circular Economy, the comprehensive and fascinating book of Antonis Mavropoulos and Anders Waage Nilsen, shows that a straightforward answer is difficult.

Dr. Ad Lansink
Founder of the waste hierarchy
Author of the book Challenging Changes – Connecting
Waste Hierarchy and Circular Economy
Former Member of Parliament, the Netherlands

The book of Antonis Mavropoulos and Anders Waage Nilsen has the advantages of, first of all, asking the right questions, of the multidimensional analysis, and of searching for real, “out of the box” answers. If you are looking for a “handbook” on waste management in the new era, you may feel uncomfortable with the number of definitive answers in relation to the questions raised. But if you, like me, are tired of the same answers served with a different wrapper each time, you will enjoy the fresh oxygen of original thinking.

Dimitris Kaliampakos
Dean of the School of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering at the
National Technical University of Athens President of the
Associated research Centers for the
Urban Underground Space (ACUUS)

Mavropoulos and Nielsen identify that for the circular economy to be the reality that we all hope for, it must be digitized and work in tandem with the 4th industrial revolution, but for that to happen we must join the agendas of industry, governments, and consumers, which is easier said than done at a global scale. The book has plenty of examples from the past, case studies of innovation, and presents many areas of optimism, but always with the overlying concern of what if things don’t go to plan. A valuable addition to any university library or a good read for those of us interested in the next revolution in resources and waste management.

Dr. Adam Read, PhD, FRSA, FCIWM, FRGS
External Affairs Director
SUEZ Recycling & Recovery UK

This book is a must-read for everyone in the waste and resources sector because of
three reasons. First, because this book creates a sense of addiction, the more you read, the more you need to read the rest of the book. Second because, with clarity, the book presents the key questions that must be answered as soon as possible to reverse the fatal tendency to surpass the planet boundaries. And last but not least, because the book presents in details the central and indispensable role of sustainable waste management in the transition towards circular economy. In this transition path to a more fair and sustainable society, more and not less waste management is needed.

Atilio Savino
ISWA Board member, Vice-president of Asociación para
el Estudio de los Residuos Sólidos
Former Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina

Mavropoulos and Nielsen provide a very timely perspective on what a transition to a circular economy means and how it will transform the waste management sector, from the novel perspective of Industry 4.0. Providing both a theoretical and very practical approach, the authors point out how “Industry 4.0 provides the technological, economic and social framework in which a circular economy will flourish or fail.

Prof Linda Godfrey
Manager Waste RDI Roadmap Implementation Unit
Principal Scientist
CSIR, South Africa

Mavropoulos and Nielsen speculate, with a wealth of interesting examples and perspectives, as to whether the ongoing “fourth” industrial revolution will continue this trend or perhaps enable transition to a “circular” economy – in which instead of unwanted waste, the byproducts of human activities become our primary resource supply, obviating the need to unsustainably extract them from our environment.

Keith Alverson
Director, UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre
Osaka, Japan

In a resource constrained world, the sooner we make the choice to stop wasting resources, the less likelihood there is that scarcity and rationing will force us to do it. Antonis and Anders understand these dynamics. This book plots a course that we can choose to take or a course that we will inevitably be forced to take, by demand and scarcity pricing. The choices about which policies and when are ours to make. Essential reading.

Mike Ritchie
Managing Director MRA Consulting Group
New South Wales, Australia

My major takeaway from Mavropoulos and Nielson is that “the implementation of a circular economy is a matter of political struggle.” I am left with critical reflections
on where informal waste pickers fit in the circular economy. Would a transition to
the CE render these workers invisible or even allocate them a deeper subaltern role? Can we strike a balance with our pursuits for alternative economic models and our ethical dilemmas regarding social inclusion? It’s time for waste pickers organizations throughout the world to unite with their allies in a struggle for a truly inclusive circular economy for all!

Sonia Dias, WIEGO’s waste specialist


“Do we really have to make a choice between a wasteless and nonproductive world or a wasteful and ultimately self-destructive one? Antonis Mavropoulos and Anders Nilsen respond with a ringing and optimistic “No!” They explore the Earth-changing potential of a happy (and wasteless) marriage between Industry 4.0 and a Circular Economy that could–with properly reshaped waste management practices–deliver transformative environmental, health, and societal benefits. This book is about the possibility of a brand-new world and the challenges to achieve it.

The fourth industrial revolution has given us innovations including robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D-printing, and biotech. By using these technologies to advance the Circular Economy—where industry produces more durable materials and runs on its own byproducts—the waste management industry will become a central element of a more sustainable world and can ensure its own, but well beyond business as usual, future. Mavropoulos and Nilsen look at how this can be achieved—a wasteless world will require more waste management—and examine obstacles and opportunities such as demographics, urbanization, global warming, and the environmental strain caused by the rise of the global middle class.

·         Explore the new prevention, reduction, and elimination methods transforming waste management

·         Comprehend and capitalize on the business implications for the sector

·         Understand the theory via practical examples and case studies

·         Appreciate the social benefits of the new approach

Waste-management has always been vital for the protection of health and the environment. Now it can become a crucial role model in showing how Industry 4.0 and the Circular Economy can converge to ensure flourishing, sustainable—and much brighter—future.

About the Authors

Antonis Mavropoulos

is a chemical engineer that was prepared for a career in
quantum chemistry and optoelectronics but, in a mysterious way that is still subject of scientific research in psychology, he found himself in the field of waste management. He is obsessed with social change and innovation, and he believes that the fourth industrial revolution provides an historical opportunity to reshape human societies and their environmental footprint. Professionally, he is a waste management consultant with working experiences in 30 countries, and he has founded D-Waste, a company that aims to make waste management services accessible to everyone that needs them. He has invented the Waste Atlas, designed several mobile apps and information systems, and written many papers and reports. He was privileged to serve the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) as the chair of the Scientific and Technical Committee (2008–2016) and as the president (2016–2020). He is also a member of the advisory board of UNEP’s International Environmental Technology Centre. All his writings can be found at his blog

Anders Waage Nilsen

Anders Waage Nilsen

is a business developer, design strategist, investor, technology columnist, and public speaker. He likes the combination of big ideas and hands-on practical work, because the big picture is made from the important details. During his career, he founded several companies, events, and not-for-profit initiatives. He started out as a newspaper journalist and then founded Fri Flyt skiing magazine, which turned into the leading publisher of sports/outdoor magazine in Norway. He also founded Fjellfilmfestivalen (mountain film festival), Stormkastkonferansen (business conference), and Netlife Bergen (design agency). For some years, he worked with the business cluster projects NCE Tourism and MediArena (currently known as NCE media). In 2018, he co-founded NEW, a business building new start-ups with industrial partners. He focuses on high-impact business ideas. Currently, he is developing WasteIQ – a digital platform for public waste management, based on open standards and IoT integrations. He believes that a data-driven resource management is necessary to create circular business models and new behavioral incentives.

About the Graphic Designer

Nick Rigas

is a graphic designer, with a master of arts and a bachelor’s degree in animation and interactive media. Besides being a creative designer, he used to play the guitar in rock music groups, and when he was younger, he was playing basketball too. He has designed almost everything, from websites, logos, books, reports, and infographics till mobile applications and T-shirts. For the last eight years he is working as the master designer in D-Waste.

©2023 Wasteless Future Antonis Mavropoulos

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