An Oregon State University-Cascades researcher and his team are getting $640,000 in funding to develop a smart compost bin that tracks household food waste.
OSU says more than one-third of all food products in the U.S. goes uneaten. OSU College of Engineering assistant professor Patrick Donnelly is looking to do something about it.
“At every other step of the agricultural supply chain, food waste is tracked, measured and quantified,” Donnelly said in a statement. “However, approaches to measuring post-consumer food waste are costly, time-intensive, prone to human error and infeasible at a large scale.”
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The device Donnelly, Jason Clark of the College of Engineering and Quincy Clark of the colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Education are trying to create is a kitchen compost container that automatically measures household food waste.
“When a user disposes of edible and non-edible food waste in the bin, our device prompts the user to describe the deposited items. The user’s note is then transcribed with automatic speech recognition and associated with a weight measurement of the items,” said Donnelly.
The device would also collect 3-D images and sensor measurements of the food waste. The goal is to collect data researchers can then use to fight food waste.
A pilot study for the project will likely happen in spring of 2024.