SINGAPORE, 6 October 2022 – FairPrice Group (FPG) is leading the launch of a pilot for the deployment of smart waste sorting bins named “BINgo”, in partnership with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). BINgo employs artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensors to help address the issues of incorrect recycling practices and low recycling rates in Singapore. As part of pilot trials, one prototype BINgo machine has been deployed at AMK Hub, and other prototype BINgo machines are expected to be progressively deployed to NEX and FairPrice Hub, and will be kept on the premises for up to one year, till October 2023.
“FairPrice embraces sustainability practices in our business by proactively championing and introducing efforts to nurture and protect our environment. Through this smart bins initiative, we aim to educate and imbue the importance of recycling right in the community, and inculcate the habit of reducing our environmental footprint,” said Mr Jonas Kor, General Manager, FairPrice Foundation.
BINgo aims to encourage correct recycling practices and improve recycling rates through AI-enabled automated sorting technology and smart sensors to improve the collection processes of recyclables, including metal cans, glass, paper and plastic packaging, in recyclable condition. This means that waste fed into the machine can be identified as material suitable or unsuitable for recycling, and identified as having any contamination present that may affect its suitability for recycling (e.g. remnant liquid and pearls in a half-empty bubble tea cup). The machine’s interface also educates the user about useful recycling facts as they go through the process of feeding waste into the machine.
In line with its commitment to promote a circular and low carbon economy, FairPrice Group endeavours to implement reduce, reuse and recycle programmes to minimise unnecessary use of materials and the amount of waste generated, especially packaging.
Highlights of the Smart Bin, BINgo
The development of BINgo was funded by FairPrice’s Sustainability Fund and led by A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech). Established in 2019, FairPrice’s Sustainability Fund aims to address sustainability and environmental issues by raising awareness, supporting innovative ideas and initiatives as well as fostering strategic partnerships. A*STAR’s SIMTech contributed its expertise in manufacturing technologies and product design, and integrated AI, IoT and smart sensor technologies into the prototypes to enable BINgo to automatically sort recyclables.
Dr David Low, Executive Director of A*STAR’s SIMTech, said, “The use of innovative manufacturing and artificial intelligence technologies in the development of BINgo will make it easier to identify recyclables and improve the efficiency of waste collection and sorting using automation. A*STAR is excited to co-innovate this solution with FairPrice Group and embark on this meaningful pilot, which will help generate greater awareness about the importance of recycling correctly and aim to increase recycling rates in Singapore.”
With simple to use step-by-step guide and user-friendly interface, BINgo is packed with interactive and educational elements to help shoppers identify recyclables from non-recyclables, enabling them to recycle more and recycle correctly. This design boosts efficiency and helps streamline collection processes, creating an enhanced experience for users. Additionally, the data of waste collected over time will improve recognition of the recyclables, as well as improve statistical analysis for better waste management.
Beyond the initiative announced today, FairPrice has taken the lead in various green initiatives such as the No Plastic Bag initiative where FairPrice was the first supermarket to implement charges on plastic bags. It also champions the reduction of food waste through its FairPrice-CSR Food Waste Reduction Framework, and is also the Pioneer Partner for the BCA Green Mark Portfolio Programme. Today, more than 40 FairPrice stores have attained Green Mark certification including two platinum awards for its stores at Zhongshan Park and Kallang Wave Mall.
FairPrice Foundation Sponsors A*STAR Smart Bins To Encourage Households To Recycle More And Recycle Correctly
The development of “BINgo” is an exclusive joint collaboration between FairPrice Foundation and A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech). This project was funded by the FairPrice Sustainability Fund – a fund administered by the FairPrice Foundation to address sustainability and environmental issues by raising awareness, supporting innovative ideas and initiatives as well as fostering strategic partnerships.
The sponsorship empowers A*Star to drive new technology that is relevant in addressing current local habits. The first “BINgo” smart waste sorting bin is located in AMKHub Shopping Centre along the common walkway on level 4. Additional “BINgo” Smart Bins will be progressively rolled out and available at the common areas at NEX mall in Serangoon Central and FairPrice Hub building at Joo Koon.