A*STAR News

FairPrice Group and A*STAR launch pilot for Smart Bins to encourage households to recycle more and recycle correctly

  • The Smart Bin called BINgo employs artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart sensors to help address the issues of incorrect recycling practices and low recycling rates in Singapore
  • There will be an initial deployment of BINgo prototypes to three locations in Singapore at AMK Hub, NEX and FairPrice Hub

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 at the premises for up to one year, till October 2023.

FairPrice Group and A*STAR launch pilot for Smart Bins
BINgo employs artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart sensors to help address the issues of incorrect recycling practices and low recycling rates in Singapore.

“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.

[END]


About NTUC FairPrice

NTUC FairPrice Co-operative Ltd was founded by the labour movement in 1973, with a social mission to moderate the cost of living in Singapore. From one supermarket, it has grown to become a leading retailer in Singapore serving more than half a million shoppers daily through a network of over 390 outlets, comprising FairPrice supermarket, FairPrice Shop, FairPrice Finest, FairPrice Xtra, Unity Pharmacy, FairPrice Xpress and Cheers convenience stores. Its e-commerce portal, FairPrice online, draws over 700,000 visitors monthly. FairPrice also owns a Fresh Food Distribution Centre and a centralised warehousing and distribution company.

Today, with its multiple retail formats serving the varied needs and interests of people from all walks of life, NTUC FairPrice has kept pace with the changing needs of its customers while remaining committed to its social mission and its aspiration to be Singapore’s leading world-class retailer with a heart.

Guided by the philosophy to do well in order to do good for the community, NTUC FairPrice launched FairPrice Foundation in 2008 to focus its giving efforts to provide a better life for the community. FairPrice Foundation focuses its giving on three strategic thrusts – the poor and needy, nation building and community bonding, and advancing workers’ welfare. FairPrice has since donated more than $178 million to the Foundation to further these three areas of focus.

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector R&D agency. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit the economy and society. As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by improving societal outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability. A*STAR plays a key role in nurturing scientific talent and leaders for the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences to physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. For ongoing news, visit www.a-star.edu.sg.