Tech Meets Sustainability: DCB Launches Smart Food Waste Solution

Dulwich College Beijing

We are thrilled to share some exciting news: to help curb our food waste and our environmental impact, DCB has installed a new Smart Food Waste Management System!

After their meals, students and staff swipe their cards to open this intelligent “food bin” where they then discard their food waste. The system then automatically weighs and records the amount of food waste discarded and displays the data on the screen for the user to see. The collected data is used to monitor our food waste and generate important statistical reports – a valuable data-driven benchmark for future managerial decision-making. 

Food bins with the food waste management system installed
Food waste system - interface

This cutting-edge, innovative real-time waste collection system was a project inspired by the student-led Sustainability Committee and our ongoing commitment for our community to Live Worldwise, and was independently designed by our IT team and created especially for DCB.

Mr Matheson, Director of Business Administration shared that DCB partnered with a local company to create this data-driven system, showcasing the College’s innovation alongside our commitment to making a positive difference to our community. Despite similar products in the market, none fit exactly what DCB was looking for. The College sought a product to measure food waste in real-time but found none tailored for schools at the time. 

Mr Kaiser Liu, ICT Helpdesk Coordinator and Project Lead, explained more about DCB’s food waste management system. "Though the machine appears simple, it's actually quite nuanced. We crafted the interface, trash bin shape, inner structure, and the opening mechanism for convenient trash disposal. It's student-centric: bin height, inlet diameter, infrared detection to prevent accidents, etc. While similar products exist, we introduced unique modifications, including informative comparisons to last week's average and tracking an individual's total food waste. The product is adaptable, allowing students to incorporate features like infographics."

He also shared how this product is a demonstration of DCB’s pioneering spirit. “Through this system, we hope to not only cultivate a sense of sustainable development among our on-campus users but also showcase DCB's commitment and capability in promoting "digital information processing." This also reflects our innovativeness and our continuous efforts to use technological advances for the betterment of the environment.” 

Sunny L, Global Citizenship Prefect, explained that it’s easier to throw waste away when you’re not held accountable for it, a challenge addressed by this machine. “The system is designed to reduce waste by encouraging reflection on an individual’s contribution to waste,” she shared. “The Sustainability Committee views the waste measurement system as another tool to help increase awareness and for our school to achieve our sustainability goals. The Sustainability Committee in seeking improvements and modifying the system interface to support our students and the school’s sustainability goals.”

Food waste accounts for one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions and generates 8% of greenhouse gases annually. Mr Samson Swanick, our Director of Global Citizenship, gave the machine high praises as it helps DCB reduce our environmental impact and was a good tool to help promote sustainable development.

“Food waste is a serious global problem that contributes to climate change, water pollution, and land degradation,” he pointed out. “Measuring and monitoring our food waste helps raise our awareness of our waste and how we can reduce it. It can also save money, resources, and energy.”

Already, there has been much engagement from the student body, with many admitting that they were now making the conscious decision to opt for smaller portion sizes or make a greater effort to finish all the food on their plates. Especially through the display of food wasted per student on the screen above, friendly competition has been incited amongst peers to see who can get the smallest total. There are plans in the making to further transform this exciting new system into something more interactive in the future, such as a leaderboard of students who waste the least food!

We are excited to take this step in making Dulwich College Beijing a more eco-friendly and sustainable school. The less waste we make, the bigger the smile on Mother Earth!