Image recognition with artificial intelligence offers a great many opportunities – and not just in terms of market basket analysis.
Robots, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) – these are all buzzwords that crop up everywhere in our everyday lives. But, how do we benefit from these technologies?
Market basket analysis with artificial intelligence
“Provide me with 1,000 images of yourself and I will tell you what you are.”
Approximately one to two per cent of the electrical and electronic appliances collected are analysed every year for our market basket analysis. Up until now, this has been done by hand – clearing out the pallets, weighing the objects individually and then recording their details in a document. This is very time-consuming, thus raising the question of how we could optimise this process. Our solution: artificial intelligence.
In the market basket analysis, several pallets of electrical and electronic appliances are chosen at random and analysed in closer detail. As part of this analysis, information about each product is recorded in the categories of weight, brand, quantity, etc. This process takes up a great many resources, but is indispensable for the analysis and forecast of goods flows. The demand for a more efficient process with the optimal use of the available resources thus came as no surprise. One possible approach offered was image recognition with artificial intelligence. This bold idea was tested in a pilot test.
To enable artificial intelligence to be able to recognise objects in pictures, it must first learn what these objects look like. Within the pilot test, the aim was for the artificial intelligence system to learn 10 different product categories. To achieve this aim, a camera installed over a conveyor belt was used to record a video of various appliances. This resulted in a wide range of images being generated that were used by the artificial intelligence system to learn what a hairdryer, an electric toothbrush, a toaster and other appliances look like. The artificial intelligence system needs around 1,000 images until it can identify an electrical or electronic appliance with a workable success rate. The artificial intelligence system can now correctly identify electrical and electronic appliances with a success rate of up to 90 per cent. And it is constantly getting better – it can identify electrical and electronic appliances with greater success with every additional picture it learns. The pilot project can be said to be a complete success and
highlights the potential of artificial intelligence in the market basket analysis. In the meantime, we are continuing to press ahead with the further development of this technology. To date, 54 product categories can already be identified – with varying levels of probability that the identification is correct. In future, the analyses will be supplemented with the average weight or even the average material compositions. This will ensure that valid forecasts can be made as regards the quality of the electrical and electronic appliances collected and the market basket can be analysed in more extensive detail.
The SENS portal
Greater user friendliness and independence – our new ERP system
With the introduction of the new SENS portal, we are equipping SENS eRecycling for the future and offering our customers an improved overview of the recorded declarations and the collection orders carried out.
Would you like to be able to access your data at any time and from any location? This has been possible since the launch of the new SENS portal, via which our partners can manage their customer data, make declarations, issue collection orders, place orders in our online shop, and much more – independently and whenever they want. For many people, the most interesting new feature is probably the overview of invoices and documents that can now be viewed directly in the SENS portal. This creates transparency and a real added value for our partners.
The new SENS portal was officially launched in October 2020 and got off to a successful start without any limitations or problems. With the new SENS portal, we have taken a huge step towards customer-oriented digital solutions that reflect the current trends and the needs of our partners.
To exchange views with collection points
Two collection point meetings: one in German-speaking Switzerland and one in Romandy
Over 60 people from collection points attended the meeting in German-speaking Switzerland and about a dozen attended the one in Romandy
SENS eRecycling remains an authoritative source of information about recycling of household appliances. We will continue to provide collection point meetings in the future to promote the exchange of ideas between collection points and SENS eRecycling.
Umbrella campaign with Swiss Recycling
Saving the world as a “square”
To coincide with the Global Recycling Day on 18 March 2020, Swiss Recycling unveiled its nationwide “Become a square” (“Werde Bünzli”) poster campaign.
In the umbrella campaign supported by all Swiss Recycling members, the benefits of recycling are highlighted and the good, “square” recycling habits of the Swiss population are reinforced. Even though Switzerland is among the front runners in Europe in terms of recycling, it is important that we continue to raise awareness of this subject. This is because this is the only way in which to motivate more people to recycle in the long term.
The cult song “Jerk trophy” (“Tubel Trophy”) by legendary Swiss rock band Baby Jail was recycled specially for this campaign. The song was rerecorded and now tells the story of a person who doesn’t behave in an environmentally friendly conscious manner and still believes that climate change is a huge lie, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Another well-known person was called in for the TV advertisement – Swiss film-maker and director, Michael Steiner, who is famous for films such as Sennentuntschi and Wolkenbruch.
You can still take the “square test” at www.werde-bünzli.ch. The test uses humour to show you how well you recycle, i.e. how much of a “square” you are. This platform also serves as a market place for recycling products. Interested parties can learn more about products made from recycled materials as well as the companies here.
The umbrella campaign was well received by the Swiss population and will be continued in 2021.
International E-Waste Day
Raising awareness across all channels
The third instance of International E-Waste Day was held on 14 October 2020. SENS eRecycling was one of the 40 organisations around the world who supported the event launched by the WEEE Forum (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) by holding a wide range of activities.
There’s a recycling hero in every single one of us – a film by Till Gmür
In a humorous TV advertisement, the Lucerne-based film maker revealed a genuine hero to the world and encouraged us all to properly dispose of our waste. The advertisement showed us how easy and effortless it is to dispose of electronic waste. The catchy music, the exciting editing and the likeable female character will certainly encourage many people to realise their hero potential and recycle their electronic waste properly.
Electronic waste? Put it in your parcel box!
To mark International E-Waste Day, irons and other appliances were able to be disposed of from the comfort of your own home for a period of three months. All you had to do was place defective or unwanted appliances in your parcel box, where they were collected by the Swiss Post and handed over SENS eRecycling for recycling. Not only is this convenient, but it is also sustainable. Further information on this topic is available in the “Innovation” section.
Collection drive at schools in Zurich and Bern
In celebration of International E-Waste Day, four classes in Zurich and Bern focused on the topic of eRecycling in their lessons and launched a collection drive for electronic waste – and put in a massive effort doing so. School cellars were cleared out, attics rummaged through and a large amount of electronic waste was separated out, even at home. For example, projectors and even cooking stoves were collected in addition to numerous small electrical and electronic appliances. The enthusiasm of the children was reflected in the figures recorded, with a sensational 1.5 tonnes of electrical and electronic appliances having been collected. With this collection drive, we wanted to raise awareness of eRecycling among young school children and encourage them to properly dispose of electrical and electronic appliances. We think that this drive was an absolute success.
Generating interest on all channels
International E-Waste Day was promoted to various target groups on a wide range of channels. Whether it be at school, when filling the electronic waste recycling bags at home or on YouTube, there was a great deal of publicity surrounding International E-Waste Day. This was also complemented by numerous posts on social media, such as those of blogger, storyteller and photographer, Andrea Monica Hug. More than 20,000 people were informed about this event by her post alone.
The publicity surrounding International E-Waste Day is increasing every year – a global movement with regional highlights.