An intelligent container to encourage recycling

Sant Boi de Llobregat will be the scenario of a pioneer experience in urban recycling in Spain. The Barcelona City Council and Ecoembes, the environmental org

An intelligent container to encourage recycling

Sant Boi de Llobregat will be the scenario of a pioneer experience in urban recycling in Spain. The Barcelona City Council and Ecoembes, the environmental organization that coordinates the recycling of household containers, have presented an intelligent ring that will be tested in the yellow containers of the locality.

Based on the use of multiple technologies, such as the Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, the recognition of images or the Blockchain, the new container will allow the identification of the type of container and the user who deposits it, in addition to picking up Other useful information to optimize the process as the location and the frequency with which the waste is deposited.

The incorporation of this Smart Ring will improve the performance of the refund and reward system (SDR) recycles, the initiative rewards citizens' environmental commitment with the recycling of cans and plastic bottles by granting points that can later be redeemed by social incentives or Environmental. "The objective is to facilitate the relationship of the citizen with recycling, so that he can go easily," explains José Luis Moreno de Castro, Ecoembes Innovation Manager, "and that thanks to this hoop is able to know if the container is part of the project or not, through a series of technological elements as an optical sensor that allows to identify the container thanks to the barcode ".

To participate in this system, citizens have to register in a web application, scan the cans or bottles that want to recycle and deposit them in the yellow containers, which are equipped with a QR that allows its identification. Recycling machines are located in strategic places, such as transport stations or shopping centers. Present already in 45 locations distributed by all Spanish autonomous communities, recycles has already reached more than 3.6 million citizens.

Now, the incorporation of this technological improvement is a new impulse for the recycling incentive of cans and bottles of beverage plastic, thanks to technological levers such as artificial intelligence (IA). "One of the elements in which we have worked most is in the recognition of images through artificial intelligence, which allows to interpret the type of container that is deposited by its form or size" clarifies brown de castro.

"There is also another part of algorithmia that allows you to interpret what is happening in the container." When passing them -in bag- through the hoop, it automatically recognizes the containers, opens and lights green. On the other hand, intelligent containers continue to count on a traditional mouth to deposit other containers destined for the yellow container and that are not part of the system.

In the 24 hours after depositing the container, the user obtains its points, called recycles, which may be renovated by rewards such as sustainable products or donations to local social or environmental projects. In the case of Sant Boi de Llobregat, for example, the tokens obtained can be converted into participation in a raffle to get an electric scooter or donations to the Tots Som Santboians, focused on helping people with disabilities, who will be responsible for To perform actions of preservation of green spaces of the town.

Two years ago Sant Boi de Llobregat was precisely one of the first municipalities to bet on this incentive recycling system. Now it takes another step by welcoming the first 16 smart yellow containers in which these new hoops have been installed. And to inform about this novelty and accompany users, the town hall of the town and Ecoembes are driving a citizen information campaign during the first month of implementation of the initiative.

"With our participation in this project, in Sant Boi we take another step on the road to the recycling of the future, encouraging the co-responsibility of citizenship thanks to a technology that will facilitate compliance with European objectives in selective collection of packaging" He has affirmed Mayor Lluïsa Moret.

"Thanks to this experience of public-private collaboration and our alliance with Ecoembes we remain pioneers, betting on innovation and strengthening our city commitment to sustainability and the fight against climate emergency," he adds.

Looking ahead, the objective is to extend this technology throughout the national territory to optimize the collection process. "What we present here is a first solution, but it is only one of the 15 technologies we are developing to improve the container," Anticipates José Luis Moreno de Castro. "Some, such as artificial vision-based, will allow this technology to be extrapolated to another type of waste, so it allows to recognize the type and help the citizen decide where to deposit them."

Likewise, the project lays the foundations for a technological integration that makes the recycling system more efficient thanks to a greater use of Big Data. "The project aims to develop a solution that can be applied at the national level to the recycles program and that is what we are going to work on this pilot: verify what level can be reached and how long".

Circular economy series carried out in collaboration with the Ecoembes Organization.

Updated Date: 08 November 2021, 18:09

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