This Thursday morning, the students attending the Ecole du Futur in Mons were treated to a somewhat special welcome: a hedge of honor of bins containing 42.5 kg of waste. This is the mass of waste that were picked up out of the bins…in 7 days! “Before the holidays, we asked the technicians to collect the waste on the ground, in the classrooms, the toilets and to store them. Since Tuesday, we have not cleaned anything and some students have noticed that it is dirtier. On Wednesday, we sorted all this waste and counted it up. The idea was to create a little electric shock on April 21, Earth Day.”explains Sébastien Mielcarek, educational coordinator.
For many students, this waste is not theirs. “They think that if there is waste on the ground, it is that it fell from a bin. But in fact it is the opposite, this waste has never been put in the bin” explains Hélias Lheureux, a 6th grade student who took part in the awareness campaign.
Papers, pieces of gum, pens, aluminum foil, cans… We find everything. “Individually, we say to ourselves: it doesn’t matter if I drop something from my pocket. But if there are 500 students in a school, it can quickly add up”resumes Helias.
This punchy operation aims to make students aware of the dirt they produce, to the detriment of hygiene. “We calculated that it took almost an hour a day to surface technicians to pick them up”. Time wasted on something else: “we could clean our classrooms more often because we can’t do everything in the morning”testifies Cathy, surface technician.
Raising awareness about sorting
After putting the students’ noses in their dirt, the school also wanted to make them aware of sorting waste. With this in mind, a smart trash can has been installed in the premises. We owe it to Carlos Kiala, who has his workshop in Cuesmes. “I created my start-up Neurogreen four years ago at Helha, after realizing that campus waste, put in islets sorting, ended up in the same bag in the incinerator because there were too many sorting errors. I realized that this problem was widespread and that the first thing to do to give a second life to waste was to educate people.”
Carlos has therefore created an interactive trash can: “the user introduces his waste and the trash can gives him information on the waste and sorts it accordingly. We try to automate the interaction and education at the level of sorting.” How it works ? “It’s artificial intelligence. A photo of the waste is taken, coupled with weight recognition. These two pieces of information are compared in a database to recognize the waste and send it to the right bin.”
The School of the Future is the first Belgian school to be equipped with this system. Which will perhaps finally instil the sorting of waste, far from being automatic in many minds.
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Mons: an automatic bin will sort waste from the school of the future
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