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YVR Pilots First of its Kind Smart Waste Bins

YVR looks to leverage technology to boost waste management efforts

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) recently introduced an artificial intelligence enabled smart waste bin pilot program with Intuitive AI, a Vancouver based technology company. Known as Oscar, the smart bin leverages a combination of robotics, machine learning and computer vision to detect and accurately route disposed items into the correct waste category. YVR is the first airport to leverage this technology with three smart bins currently located in the terminal.

The system includes a 32-inch display screen and an artificial intelligence powered camera that automatically identifies recycling from trash and instructs users on whether it belongs in the containers, compost, paper or landfill stream. The technology allows Oscar to differentiate between items that are partly obscuring one another and prioritize which ones to instruct users about first.

“At YVR, we strive to be a leader in environmental management. Understanding that our passengers come from around the world with different waste sorting systems, one of the challenges we face is ensuring waste is correctly sorted at waste bins located throughout the terminal. As such, we’re constantly looking at creative approaches to waste management,” said Shaye Folk-Blagbrough, Senior Environmental Specialist, Vancouver Airport Authority. “We’re thrilled to work with Intuitive AI and welcome Oscar to YVR. In a short amount of time, we’ve seen the positive impact Oscar has had on our waste diversion program at YVR. Aiding our passengers with waste sorting through artificial intelligence is an innovative way of improving the airport’s environmental footprint through technology.”

“At Intuitive AI, our vision is to empower a zero waste world and we’re starting right at the source with Oscar,” said Hassan Murad, Chief Executive Officer, Intuitive AI. “We couldn’t think of a more innovative place than YVR. The airport has provided Oscar with an opportunity to constantly improve itself and nudge hundreds of travellers into diverting waste away from landfills every single day.”

YVR’s waste management efforts focus largely on the airport’s main terminals. Initiatives include working collaboratively with partners to reduce the impact—from offering passengers multi-stream recycling stations throughout the terminal, to implementing alternative solutions with food and beverage tenants to divert waste from landfill. In 2018, YVR recycled and composted 2.4 of 4.8 million kg of domestic and international terminal building waste, resulting in a 51 per cent diversion rate—one per cent over the 2020 target, for the third year in a row.

For more information about YVR’s commitment to sustainability, visit yvr.ca

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