With Costa coffee promising a “revolution” in recycling one company believes it has the solution in the form of a smart bin.
Developed by technology firm Cambridge Consultants, the smarter recycling bin uses an advanced form of image recognition to determine what type of material your cup is made of and then which type of recycling it should go into.
As a nation, we throw away a staggering 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every single year and yet 99.75% of them are not recycled.
Frustratingly, many of us probably don’t know the difference between the cups that can be recycling and the cups that can’t resulting in many of us to simply err on the side of caution and throwing them all away in the general refuse bin.
This is where the smart bin comes into play. Using machine learning you place the cup on the bin’s sensor where a tiny camera is able to look at the cup and actually determine what material it’s made out of.
The bin then lights up showing you exactly where to throw it away whether it’s in the recycling plastics, paper or if it’s non-recyclable.
Catherine Joce of Cambridge Consultants explains:
“The coffee cup is a classic example where consumers struggle to decide if it should go in the general waste, recycling or composting waste stream. Even if it is clear which type of coffee cup they have in their hand, they are unlikely to know whether the infrastructure is in place to process it properly. Using technology to take these decisions out of the hands of the consumer will lead to significant improvements in recyclate quality.
The bin is sadly only a proof of concept at the moment but the company hopes that it will find a partner that will start using the bins whether at restaurants or service stations across the country.