Ülemiste City pilots smart waste bins

,   3 minute reading

Cooperation between Clevering and Ülemiste City began with the Negavat 2020 programme, where Clevering participated with its idea of smart waste bins and won third place. As part of the programme, Ülemiste City found that the idea would be a great fit for Ülemiste as well, to motivate local employees and residents to sort garbage more consciously.

According to one of Clevering’s founders, Eerik Sven Puudist, the story began two years ago when Mart Sõmermaa, a member of their team who is a software architect, studied for a long time about how waste could be sorted even more efficiently.

To open the lid of the Clevering bin, you either swipe the green card or place the phone app against the reader on the bin. The lid opens, you throw your rubbish into the packaging bin and continue your journey. ‘After a while, you hear a light beep in your pocket, signalling that you have received a message through the app, either stating that the garbage you gave away was appropriate and you will be awarded a few bonus points as a token of gratitude, or there were some problems that you could pay more attention to next time’, said Puudist.

In order for the bin to be able to identify the discarded items in the future, Clevering is currently taking numerous pictures of the rubbish. ‘Based on the photos, we can start training neural networks that identify and classify rubbish for us’, said Puudist. Sometimes a person also reviews potentially faulty photos. ‘The work is quite difficult. First, we hope to go so far as to have photos of the rubbish, and if the dustman finds that a very wrong item has been placed in the bin, we can use a picture to provide confirmation’, said Puudist.

Clevering’s bin is only meant for collecting packaging. ‘We hope to get new materials and products from it, but only on the condition that the packaging is proper and clean’, said Puudist. According to Puudist, there are currently a couple of major concerns in collecting packaging. ‘One problem is that even if ten people do an impeccable job, their effort will go down the drain if one person accidentally or carelessly throws a half-full container of tomato juice in the bin, which smears all the packaging inside,’ said Puudist. ‘It is therefore crucial to ensure that everyone who has access to the bin is properly informed on how to use it’, continued Puudist. ‘And since sorting packaging requires a person to do some extra work at home, it would be important to motivate and reward them.’

If a person has sorted their rubbish correctly, they will receive rubbish points as a token of gratitude. ‘We plan to work with local governments and private companies to provide the user with rubbish points as a token of gratitude for providing discounts, which can be used in paying for services by local governments and other partners’, said Puudist. ‘In terms of local government services, the discount could be extended to, for example, parking and tickets for cultural institutions, along with bicycle rental and public transport in Tartu’, he said.

Clevering plans to install smart bins in both offices and cities. For example, the company is currently testing its first bins with software on Ülemiste campus. The goal is to train the programme to recognise rubbish.

More information about Clevering’s solution can be found here:

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