A German startup called 1Less has developed a new closed-loop re-use system that could make the piles of waste plastic cups, lids, containers and cutlery at events a thing of the past.
The Berlin-based company has created a complete ecosystem, making use of RFID-tagged dishware and smart waste bins that are linked to a digital IoT platform. The system eliminates the need for deposits or refund systems.
Every item of foodservice packaging, and all serviceware and utensils, carry a robust, durable RFID tag, which transforms each item into a data carrier and a transmitter.
Each tagged item has a unique ID and can be tracked through the entire collection, cleaning and re-use process.
All serviceware items can be used 800-1000 times and then fully recycled at the end of life, with the tag removed and re-used again, says the company.
At an event, all waste including the used serviceware is deposited in the smart bins located around the venue. No special sorting is required as the bin’s "brain" and sensors identify the 1Less products, while a sorting mechanism separates it from other waste items. The bin also interacts with the 1Less cleaning-staff service App with an alert on when to empty or maintain the bins.