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AI food scanner installed at Seoul City Hall cafeteria to reduce food waste
Updated: 2022-04-22 06:05:13 KST
Food can bring us pleasure, but at the same time, inflict harm on the Earth.
In South Korea, about 5.23 million tonnes of food waste is produced every year which creates some 8.85 million tonnes of greenhouse gas.
With one fifth of that coming from the capital Seoul, the city government has taken action.

City hall's staff cafeteria used by 2 to 3-thousand people per day installed Artificial Intelligence food scanners which have been in use since April 8th.

"When I return my plate, this AI food scanner above scans the plate and in less than a second calculates the amount and the kind of food I left."

Through non-contact scanning, the device measures how much and what kind of food is left by each person.
Another scanner is installed where food is served to check which item on the menu is most popular.
By analyzing the compiled data, the cafeteria can estimate the amount of food they should cook and they can create a meal plan that suits the users' tastes.

And a dashboard at the entrance shows how many people achieved zero food waste which means less than 10 percent of the amount of food set by the cafeteria went uneaten.
100 people achieving zero food waste leads to a 25.5 kilogram reduction in greenhouse gas which is equal to planting 4 pine trees.

Cafeteria users are already feeling the change.

"When we're eating, we now talk about how AI is going to scan our leftover food.
This makes us think about the environment once again."
"After knowing that my plate will be scanned, I'm trying my best to finish all my food."

The city is hoping to become eco-friendlier by using the scanner.

"Last year, 2-hundred-93 tonnes of food waste came from our staff cafeteria.
With the help of the AI food scanner, we hope to reduce at least 10 percent or 30 tonnes this year.
This will slash 50 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions."

The scanner will be tested until December before being expanded to more city-run facilities.
Song Yoo-jin, Arirang News.

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