Project: Waste Hackers

Simran is a Data scientist with over 3 years of experience working with big data. She joined Lup Colombia, and then co-founded Waste Hackers to use data to address the global waste problem.   She graduated with her MSc from York University where she worked in a bioinformatics lab.  Her research involved analyzing gene expression of honeybees as a result of neonicotinoid exposure.  It was here where she found a love for working with large datasets and Machine Learning. She is also on the Communications Team for the Entomological Society of Ontario, where she creates insect related social media content.  In addition, she is the Director of External Communications of Statistics without Borders where she is responsible for handling their social media handles


We are building a platform that streamlines and optimizes the design and implementation of waste recycling and reuse solutions. The data-driven platform will support project developers in determining the right machinery and end-products to ensure economically viable recycling solutions. It enables technology providers to reduce customer acquisition costs by automating proposals, operational models and plant designs. Our vision is to democratize waste management and empower a wide range of stakeholders to co-develop and collaborate on recycling and reuse solutions. Financing waste management projects is challenging, and operational costs in addition to capital costs need to be considered upfront to determine viability. Our platform will provide data-driven technical and financial expertise as well as support partnerships and strategic decision-making for low-carbon solutions. The goal of our project is to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill and accelerate Ontario’s transition to a circular economy by ensuring that recycled products are economically viable.   Globally, by 2030 landfills alone are predicted to be responsible for 7% of the world’s non-carbon GHG emissions.  By supporting the transition towards a circular economy Waste Hackers would be helping to divert waste from landfills, lowering GHG emissions, and working towards a more sustainable future.

Simran had joined Lup Colombia where she worked with her now co-founders Caitlin Oliver and Bénédicte Faure, on assessing the feasibility of using recycled glass as a fertilizer in Colombia. Caitlin and Bénédicte had been project developers in the glass recycling industry for several years and identified some common barriers when it came to developing waste recycling projects. Many projects didn’t move past the proposal stage due to time consuming and costly feasibility studies, lack of centralized knowledge needed for project development (connecting waste to viable end-markets), and financing required to install a project. With these pain points in mind, Simran, Caitlin, Bénédicte, decided to create Waste Hackers to address these issues and support the development process of circular economy projects.


While working on my MSc with honeybees, I grew an appreciation of bee biodiversity, as well as insect biodiversity and their crucial roles in balancing ecosystems.  Of the animal kingdom, the highest rates of biodiversity loss are predicted to be in insects, with climate change and habitat loss being driving factors. Moreover, the global south will bear much more of the impacts of climate change, with women being disproportionately affected.  Seeing these inequalities, I’m motivated to use my skills to help minimize the impact of climate change and move towards a more sustainable future.

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