As the holidays wind down, many are left with not only piles of cardboard boxes, but also packaging from items that typically can be recycled. But what if that packaging is damaged?
AI-driven recycling company WinGo Deposit has made it possible to accept damaged packaging for the first time using AI technology and a gamification model for consumers.
The Riga, Latvia-based green tech company has launched the world's first deposit machine that uses artificial intelligence, machine vision, and neural network technologies to recognize and sort all types of packaging even if they have been flattened, damaged or with a missing label.
“WinGo Deposit offers a system created from the point of view of the population. It will make the transfer of beverage packaging as convenient as possible for the whole society,” says Vismands Menjoks, CEO and co-owner of WinGo Deposit. “The smart waste sorting machine created in Latvia is a significant turning point, because the technological solution, with the help of artificial intelligence and neural networks, recognizes, accepts and sorts different types and volumes of both intact and flattened beverage packages. In nature, however, the packaging does not look like a store shelf.”
In the WinGo Deposit system, the package is not only weighed, but also photographed. Computer vision, logic analytics and other smart machine skills can evaluate different types of packaging. This technology is adaptable to other waste groups, such as tires, household chemical packaging or hazardous waste such as deodorants, and paint vials.
The technology significantly improves the functionality of automatic recycling deposit points, which until now, have only been able to accept undamaged products. This significantly reduces the amount of waste it is able to accept, as many used products are often flattened after use.
“WinGo Deposit’s smart waste sorting machine accurately identifies PET bottles, cans, tetra packs and other types of packaging that are damaged or unlabeled if the citizen is digitally authenticated. Digital authentication and wallet also provide a preventive function to prevent the risks of fraud,” says Menjoks. “It is a novelty for the solution developed in Latvia. It offers to accept both intact and flattened bottles – the function of recognition does not only read the barcode of the package; it scales, recognizes the material and visually analyzes. Such a system, where damaged packaging is accepted, fulfills the overarching task – it more effectively solves the issues of environmental management and waste.”
Using the principles of gamification, the consumer does not just receive their deposit money either in a digital wallet or on a loyalty card. But for each transferred item, WinGo Deposit points are accumulated, which can be exchanged for various benefits, thus motivating consumers to sort more.
“The system provides a connection to a mobile application that reduces the physical consumption of paper checks by digitizing the return,” says Menjoks.
The app scans the QR code on the screen of the device and disposes of waste opens. Those who do not have a smartphone can scan the store's loyalty card so that the system can recognize them and accumulate the transferred waste points.
“In principle, the WinGo Deposit machine offers as part of an entire digital ecosystem. A bonus to digital authentication in this ecosystem would be that in addition to the whole system, we also have partnerships with Wolt, telecommunications companies, and other services. That means you earn points, order food, ride a car or a scooter for free – it is another ecosystem that benefits people,” says Menjoks.
WinGo Deposit’s business model focuses on providing added value to companies in waste collection, as well as maintaining a positive public image.
“It is no secret that large beverage companies generate a lot of waste, so we have the opportunity to reduce the adverse effects on the environment,” says Menjoks.
The company has signed an agreement with the Ministry of Waste, a British-based organization, to distribute its deposit facility in Southeast Asia to implement modern waste management principles in the region.
“The essence of technology is to make services and products more democratic, both in terms of price and usability. Combining several technologies and solutions in our approach makes the system convenient for today's consumers. At the same time, only existing producers are talking about this solution,” says Menjoks. “With this approach, we can collect more packaging for recycling. The solution is designed so that we can organize a new type of packaging at any time, significantly reducing the potential investment for the deposit system operator and making the system more efficient day by day.”