5 Cost-Efficient Innovations To Improve The U.S. Infrastructure
By Barry Breede,
Much has been written about the poor state of infrastructure in the world’s wealthiest nation. From its roads and bridges to waterways and rail systems, the United States has issues requiring hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to fix.
Innovation in the form of recycling or repurposing is being implemented as a cost- and environmentally-friendly way to improve segments of the U.S. infrastructure. Some companies and government entities are supporting the turning of outdated materials into useful pieces to the infrastructure equation. Amazon, for example, recently invested $10 million in a Closed Loop Fund project, which targets recycling infrastructure in the U.S.
“In this area of innovation, you consider a product’s whole life cycle, from cradle to grave,” says Barry Breede (www.koppersuip.com), author of Transforming the Utility Pole and chief innovation officer at Koppers Utility & Industrial Products. “It’s a closed-loop process, and the promise of these developments exemplifies the value and the validity of this kind of innovation.
“For smaller and mid-sized companies, corralling the resources to build a lasting innovation effort is not always an easy task. However, one potential upside is transforming how the business operates. You’re bringing value to the customers and, by contributing to the greater good through helping the infrastructure, you’re bringing value to the general public as well. A win-win.”
Here are five recycle/repurpose innovations that can assist the public infrastructure:
“Seemingly mundane products can be the backbone of our infrastructure system,” Breede says. “They may be taken for granted and forgotten, but the job of the innovator is to think about the questions others don’t ask, and hopefully develop solutions.”
About Barry Breede
Barry Breede (barrybreede.com), author of Transforming the Utility Pole, is the chief innovation and marketing officer at Koppers Utility & Industrial Products?a national leader in the sale of wood utility poles. He leads the company’s efforts in commercializing new business ventures, products, and services. Breede also assists Cox Recovery, a Koppers subsidiary providing utilities with environmentally-friendly methods of disposing of wood waste. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Barry has also worked extensively in the innovation area with several global companies including Electrolux AB, Umbro International, and Specialized Bicycles. Barry currently resides in Greenville, South Carolina.
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