City introduces smart technology to detect waste contaminants

Thursday, June 22, 2023

The green cart inspection program in the City of Leduc will soon use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve contamination detection in your green cart. Beginning June 26, a collection truck will be outfitted with AI cameras that will scan green carts for contaminants (e.g., plastic bags) till the end of the year. 

The use of smart technology will allow the City to streamline and enhance services as carts will be inspected during each collection instead of periodically. Ninety per cent of households sort correctly according to the 2021 Environmental Progress Report, and to maintain this standard, the City will target education for households that are not sorting correctly.  

“Most of our residents are doing a great job sorting waste correctly,” says Deputy Mayor and Councillor Glen Finstad. “We can now focus on helping certain households by giving them customized information that suits their needs.” 

The program is aimed at the remaining group and increasing their knowledge to sort smarter. Green cart waste is diverted from landfills, which helps to prolong the life of the landfill, decrease environmental pollution and reduce operation costs. 

How it works: 

  • As waste is tipped into the collection truck, the AI system scans the items for contaminants.  
  • If the system detects a contaminant, a photo is taken of the item and associated with a specific household using GPS data. 
  • A postcard with the image will be sent to the household with information about what can go in the green cart. 
  • For privacy, everything except for the detected contaminant items will be blurred out in the image. 

Residents can download the Recycle Coach app to receive personalized collection schedules, custom pick-up reminders and use the “What Goes Where” tool to sort better. Additional carts are available for rent if needed.  

The pilot is supported by TELUS as an add-on service as part of the PureFibre build that was completed in fall 2022. Prairie Robotics is supporting the AI and personalized education components of the program.   

More information: