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Smart Trash Can: smart ways to curb food wastage are coming from unexpected places

Trash Can

Food wastage is a major issue that has been crippling a large portion of the human population all over the globe. On one hand, there are billions of people who can barely manage to have a square meal. On the other hand, there are billions who have excess food and waste food. According to the United Nation’s reports, almost a third of the global food production is wasted each year. It is high time that something is done towards reducing food wastage.

At the time when computer technology has taken over and everything is turning smart with the help of internet and AI, it is not very surprising to hear about a smart trashcan. However, this is quite strange.

According to a World Economic Forum’s report, the AI trashcan is designed to understand the pattern of food wastage and estimate the cost of the wastage to help the ones responsible for the same. The first lot has been installed in most of the UK restaurants and hotel kitchen. Interestingly, it has been installed in 23 IKEA outlets as well because IKEA outlets are known to be very big and they generally have huge food stalls.

The smart trashcan is embedded with Machine Learning capabilities to target the food wastage at the installed place. It has cameras attached with it that can click pictures of the wastes thrown, analyse the amount of food that the trash has and put a value to the food wasted. This was the authorities can come to know of the value wasted through the thrown away food. The chefs can then manage their menus and preparations in a way, which will help in fuller utilization of the resources and maximum food wastage reduction.

The smart bin has the abilities to learn the food type that has been thrown into it and over a period of time can recognize the pattern of the wastage. The bin can then weigh the wasted food and then add the cost to the total waste cost. It is estimated that the product could save as much as 8% cost by helping the chefs and the management know the amounts being wasted. This would help the larger restaurants and hotels or food outlets as the costs would be much higher and significant for them.

Interestingly, the report by the World Economic Forum shows that the western countries, especially the higher income countries in Europe and North America are the largest waste creators in the world. They are followed by the developed and industrialised countries in Asia. The reason behind such behaviour in the higher income countries is that they put a less moral value to the food in comparison to the lifestyle they lead. Whereas, in the developing and the lower income countries, a greater emphasis has always been put on the importance of food and its moral integrity. In countries such as India, food is considered a version of a Hindu deity and thus the moral and religious value increases manifolds. Having said that, the wastage in India is still very high but when compared to the Western countries, it is very low.

It is a positive hope that smart products such as Smart Trash Can can help the communities to reduce food wastage.

-Soumya De

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