AI looked through recycling bins in Central Okanagan and this is what it found | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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AI looked through recycling bins in Central Okanagan and this is what it found

Postcards with pictures of stuff that's not supposed to be in recycling bins were sent out in the mail.
Image Credit: Submitted/Regional District of Central Okanagan

The Regional District of Central Okanagan concluded a pilot project where it used AI to reduce recycling contamination, now the board will decide whether to make the program permanent.

The program used smart cameras and AI to spot trash that was mixed in with residents’ recycling, according to a press release. 

On April 11 the Regional Board will receive an update on the project and could decide to put AI cameras in recycling collection trucks permanently.

The district spent $68,000, half of which came from Recycle BC, to install cameras in four trucks. Prairies Robotics, the company behind the software and hardware for the project, has worked with other cities around the country on the same type of project. 

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In the last quarter of 2022 Recycle BC handed out $55,000 in fines for recycling contamination to the City of Kelowna and West Kelowna.

“The good news is the pilot has shown a huge percentage of our residents are recycling correctly, and this direct approach to recycling education can really help improve the quality of recycling by providing residents timely personalized feedback based on their actual recycling habits,” the district’s Supervisor of Solid Waste Services Cynthia Coates said in the release.

This is the kind of messaging that will go to half the homes with contaminated recycling. Others will be told what to recycle.
This is the kind of messaging that will go to half the homes with contaminated recycling. Others will be told what to recycle.
Image Credit: Submitted/Regional District of Central Okanagan

The district sent out 8777 notices to inform residents they weren’t recycling properly.

The project discovered that 35 per cent of residents started recycling properly once the district sent them a notice.

READ MORE: Big Brother is using AI to spy on your recycling bin in the Central Okanagan

The program led to a 23 per cent reduction in contaminants, but found that about half of Okanagan residents consistently recycle properly.

There are about 6.7 per cent of households who are “repeat offenders” that cause a third of recycling contamination.

The program found that the top three recycling contaminants were; flexible plastics, such as blue bags, wrappers, grocery bags, chip bags and wrappers, garbage, and styrofoam.


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