Global Recycling Day
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It’s Global Recycling Day today and a day to raise awareness of the importance of recycling and how crucial and lasting change can help preserve the future of our planet. Recognised in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030, we are already seeing many individuals, governments and organisations taking direct action to support the global green agenda.

Founded by the Global Recycling Foundation, this year’s theme is #recyclingheros and recognises people, places and organisations that inspire us – demonstrating positive action.

From plastic pledges and recycling,  to waste targets, businesses are positively impacting the environment, and data science is being used positively to reduce environmental impact and financial costs – aligned to their corporate responsibility. There are many examples of data analytics applications that can play just a small part in decelerating the process of climate change – the more focus that organisations place on this, the brighter the outlook for our planet. We decided to take a look at some of the positive use cases.

Food waste

Think about the waste problem in supermarket fresh food sales. Many businesses are using data science to help the UK meet its target of eliminating food waste to landfill by 2030. Analytics of weather patterns can help supermarkets ensure they have the right amount of seasonal produce to meet demand for a particular weather period without wastage; and enhanced analytics of customer weekly shopping habits would mean the store could ensure it has met demand without having surplus fresh food.

Gousto, a British meal kit retailer, implemented forecasting algorithms in an effort to reduce their food waste. They were able to predict demand and analyse seasonal trends to better manage their fresh food stock. Forecast modelling allowed the business to not only predict with a high degree of confidence the number of orders they would receive in future weeks, but also predict the performance of existing and new recipes.

Plastic waste

Plastic waste posing a considerable threat to our planet, with 8 million metric tons of plastic being added annually to the world’s oceans. That is why many businesses in the UK have come together to work towards having all plastic packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. One such company is Tesco who are rolling out collection points for soft plastic packaging in their stores. Tesco’s efforts should help the public in their efforts to recycle as well their own.

Outside of the UK, many companies are also reducing their plastic waste and increasing their recycling, with many also helping the public do so. The Gringgo Indonesia Foundation, with the help of Google, have used AI and machine learning to create an app to help better classify waste items. It can be used by businesses and the public to help improve their recycling. With the use of data science, within a year of launching the app, recycling rates were increased by 35% in their first pilot village.

Space junk

Space junk poses a danger to astronauts in orbit, the world’s network of communication and weather satellites. Luckily, data science is here to help. NASA have been developing technology to remove space junk. Using machine learning algorithms, NASA are working towards improving the detection of space junk for removal.

Clinical waste

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in single use plastics and clinical waste. With only 15% of clinical waste being hazardous, there is a massive opportunity to reduce and properly manage clinical waste using data science. From reducing the number of unnecessary hospital appointments to the size of some healthcare equipment, a positive change can be made.

Reducing waste and recycling is vital for the future of our world. Data science provides many tools for creating and implementing solutions, and with data-driven businesses striving to reduce their waste, the future looks bright.

To discuss any use cases to align your recycling goals, contact us.

Author: Elizabeth Brown, Professional Placement Student at Mango

NHS-R Community
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The NHS is one of the UK’s most valued institutions and serves as the healthcare infrastructure for millions of people. Mango has had the pleasure of supporting their internal NHS-R community over the last few years, supporting the initiative from its inception and sharing our knowledge and expertise at their events as they seek to promote the wider usage and adoption of R and develop best practice solutions to NHS problems.

According to a recent survey by Udemy, 62% of organisations are focusing on closing skills gaps, essential to keeping teams competitive, up to date and armed with the relevant skills to adapt to future challenges.  For many institutions, an important first step is connecting their analytics teams and data professionals to encourage the collaboration and sharing of knowledge. With ‘Data literacy’ fast becoming the new computer literacy, workforces with strong data skills are fast realising the strength and value of such skills across the whole organisation.

As the UK’s largest employer, comprising 207 clinical commissioning groups, 135 acute non-specialist trusts and 17 acute specialist trusts in England alone, the NHS faces a particularly daunting task when it comes to connecting their data professionals, a vast group which includes clinicians as well as performance, information and health analysts.

The NHS-R community was the brainchild of Professor Mohammed Mohammed, Principal Consultant (Strategy Unit), Professor of Healthcare, Quality & Effectiveness at the University of Bradford. He argues,  “I’m pretty sure there is enough brain power in NHS to tackle any analytical challenge, but what we have to do is harness that power, promoting R as the incredible tool that it is, and one that can enable the growing NHS analytics community to work collaboratively, rather than in silos”.

Three years in and the NHS-R Community has begun to address that issue, bringing together once disparate groups and individuals to create a community, sharing insights, use cases, best practices and approaches, designed to create better outputs across the NHS with a key aim of improving patient outcomes.  Having delivered workshops at previous NHS-R conferences, Mango consultants were pleased to support the most recent virtual conference with two workshops – An Introduction to the Tidyverse and Text Analysis in R. These courses proved to be a popular choice with the conference attendees, attracting feedback such as “The workshop has developed my confidence for using R in advanced analysis” and “An easy to follow and clear introduction to the topic.”

Liz Mathews, Mango’s Head of Community, has worked with Professor Mohammed from the beginning, sharing information and learnings from our own R community work and experience.  Professor Mohammed commented:

“The NHS-R community has, from its very first conference, enjoyed support from Mango who have a wealth of experience in using R for government sector work and great insight in how to develop and support R based communities. Mango hosts the annual R in Industry conference (EARL) to which NHS-R Community members are invited and from which we have learned so much. We see Mango as a friend and a champion for the NHS-R Community.”