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McDonald’s has started putting cameras in dumpsters – here’s why

Uhh, can I get a number 2 with a side of AI trash monitoring?

mcdonald's restaurant
Image: Unsplash

In a growing number of McDonald’s restaurants around the country, you’ll find (well, you probably won’t find them) cameras in dumpsters located on the property. It’s not for security reasons, but actually in relation to recycling.

In a new report on CNN, they look at San Francisco-based startup, Compology, and their part in helping the corporation reduce waste and encourage recycling.

“We’ve found that most businesses and people have the right intentions about recycling, but oftentimes they just don’t know what the proper way to recycle is,” says CEO Jason Gates, in a statement to CNN.

Using AI, cameras, and sensors, Compology monitors dumpsters at McDonald’s locations to identify the quality of trash going into them. For example, if a camera sees mainly cardboard and then a trash bag gets thrown in, it will alert the location and let them know that the trash bag would contaminate the cardboard.

Image: Compology (via CNN)

The company trained its AI through the use of millions of images of dumpsters, trash, and more. According to CNN, the company has processed over 80 million images from more than 160,000 cameras, including those at McDonald’s locations.

Not only does the system help reduce waste and contaminated shipments, but it saves the businesses money, as well. Gates notes that their $10-20 a month service can save thousands in waste-hauling costs.

Have any thoughts on this? Have you ever noticed any cameras at McDonald’s restaurants? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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