McDonald's Is Putting Cameras in Its Garbage Cans to Monitor Its Trash

No, not for the reasons you may assume actually.
Loukia Papadopoulos

McDonald's restaurants and Nordstrom department stores have been putting cameras in their garbage cans according to a recent report by CNN. The cameras come from a company called Compology and they are there to monitor their trash.


Recycling done right

The goal is to make sure cans are only emptied once full and that recyclable material is not mixed up with trash. The man behind these impressive cameras that use artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor trash is Jason Gates.

Gates told CNN that when it comes to recycling, most businesses have their heart in the right place. "We've found that most businesses and people have the right intentions about recycling, but oftentimes they just don't know what the proper way to recycle is," he said.

Compology shows how to do recycling just right through the use of its specialized cameras. These cameras take pictures several times a day and when the cans are being dumped.

An AI software then examines the images to spot any non-recyclables thrown in waste containers. Gates estimates his approach can decrease the amount of non-recyclable materials thrown in the trash by as much as 80%.

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A system that works

According to some of the firm's customers, the cameras seem to indeed work. "The cameras have really streamlined that for us and provided accountability for us, but also for our suppliers and the haulers that we work with," told CNN Brent Bohn, who owns dozens of McDonald's restaurants in Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Compology has now installed about 162,000 cameras. The service costs between $10 and $20 per month per dumpster but Gates estimates it saves thousands of dollars per year on waste-hauling costs.

Gates now hopes his firm could soon standardize how garbage is measured and reported.

"You've been able to measure how much electricity, water, gas you've used for decades," Gates told CNN. "What we're doing is being able to meter how much waste you produce."

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