Passengers Can Use an AI Waste Sorter at Seattle Cruise Terminal

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If you’ve ever struggled to determine what to do with your trash, you’re not alone. Intuitive AI and Port of Seattle are working to make trash disposable easier and more sustainable.

In November of 2023, a new waste sorting assistant named Oscar, which uses artificial intelligence to help visitors dispose of their trash correctly, was unveiled in Seattle.

Seattle Cruise Port Implements New AI Waste Sorter 

Did you know that approximately 15 million tons of recyclable material is incorrectly sent to landfills in the US each year?

According to a 2023 report from The Recycling Partnership, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit, a lack of knowledge and information about how to dispose of different kinds of waste properly is leading to confusion and a lack of confidence. 

But thanks to Oscar, a new type of artificial intelligence that sorts waste, guests of the Seattle Cruise Port and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) won’t need to guess anymore.

The Oscars are designed to fit existing, standard trashcans. All users have to do is walk up to Oscar and place their trash in front of a camera for Oscar to quickly analyze. Oscar then tells the user if the waste should be put in the compost, recycling, or trash bin. 

While the cameras do not capture or store identifying information, Oscar does gain knowledge over time and can report back on waste management performance and problem items as they come up.

Seattle Cruise Terminal Waste AI, Oscar
Seattle Cruise Terminal Waste AI, Oscar

The Oscars were created by Intuitive AI, a company that focuses on helping corporations and businesses become more healthy, sustainable, and connected.

On Thanksgiving Day in November of 2023, six new Oscars were introduced between the Seattle Cruise Port, SEA, and the Bell Harbor Conference Center. 

“The Port of Seattle strives to reduce waste to landfills and we’re trying innovations like Oscar to build awareness among our customers and gather data on the types of waste we see at SEA and our maritime facilities,” says Sandra Kilroy, Port of Seattle Senior Director Environment and Sustainability.

“We know that individuals come to our gateways from all around the world and they might have different waste bins or rules, so Oscar will help inform them on how to sort here. At SEA, it supports our goal to divert 60% of terminal waste from landfills,” adds Kilroy.

Read Also: What Do Cruise Ships Do with Sewage and Waste?

One Oscar can be found within the Seattle Cruise Port at the Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 – or just ‘Pier 66’ for short. Pier 66 is only a 15-minute drive from SEA for out-of-towners and is within walking distance of downtown Seattle. It currently serves Norwegian Cruise Line and Oceania Cruises.

Pier 66, Seattle

Over at SEA, Oscar units can be found in the Central Terminal, the North Concourse, the South Concourse near gate S2, and the C Concourse near gate C17. Although the Oscars have only been in use for about two months, they are already making a difference. 

In the initial month after the units were installed, over 3,000 disposals occurred using Oscar. The Port of Seattle reported a 43% successful sorting rate during the initial month, which is higher than that of many other airport clients. 

The Cruise Industry Works to Become More Sustainable

In recent years, the cruise industry as a whole has made more of an effort to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Many cruise lines, shipbuilders, and research institutions have teamed up to make cruising carbon neutral by 2050.

The NEcOLEAP Project, which launched in February 2022, set a goal to create a climate-neutral cruise ship by 2025.

In March of 2023, the Meyer Group launched an innovative cruise ship concept called “Reverse.” The goal of “Reverse” is to utilize wave energy, solar power, wind power, and fuel cells to eliminate the need for fossil fuels. 

MSC Cruises, an industry leader with 23 ships in its fleet, is one of multiple cruise lines that has committed to achieving the International Maritime Organization’s goal of a 40% carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

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