There are over 400 MT of plastic waste generated across Sri Lanka every day, according to the Ministry of Environment. The normal method of reducing, recycling, and reusing, is not helping as much as it should, which is why there must be another way that is easily accessible to help reduce the amount of plastic waste.
This student team from the University of Peradeniya will be addressing this issue by creating a device called iSort to encourage recycling practices, especially amongst Generation Z. This device will include a reward system, via phone application, to motivate this practice and will also collect, sort, and compress the consumer plastic.
The team already researched today’s recycling practices and pinpointed areas that need improvement, which is what their device will be intended to fix, such as the time-consuming issue of sorting through the plastic. Their device will use automatic classification, using a deep neural network model with a convolution neural network, to help identify which pieces of trash are plastic, and which are not.
The reward system will be unlike anything as it will use a hybrid app to change the behavioral and thinking patterns of the community in regard to waste management. This will not only allow for better, more environmentally friendly practices but also for a closer-knit community via the feature to connect with friends.
The team hopes to deploy this device at school and university locations that are in the center of highly populated districts. They have collaborated with the Rotaract Club of the University of Peradeniya where they hope to conduct awareness sessions about this issue.
EPICS in IEEE (Fischer-Mertel Community of Projects) granted this team $1,059 to finish their project and make a difference in this community. This project idea was the first runner-up at the Institute of Engineers Sri Lanka Undergraduate Inventor of the Year competition, which is one of the most recognized competitions for engineers in Sri Lanka.