LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — On Monday, the University of Kentucky rolled out a new piece of campuswide technology targeted at recycling efforts.

The system runs on artificial intelligence, and as we have seen, AI is already helping people and businesses across the country and the globe make day-to-day operations simple, easy, and more efficient.

The same now can be said for UK’s new Oscar Sort technology. The system gives students, staff, and anyone visiting campus instant feedback, telling them if the item in their hand should be recycled, or thrown in the trash.

For example, if you have a plastic cup from Starbucks with a straw, the machine will tell you to recycle the cup, but throw the straw in the trash.

The technology’s immediate impact is undeniable, but it’s a key part of a larger goal UK hopes to accomplish in just the next few years.

“Our goal as a university is to be a zero-waste campus by 2030,” said Recycling & Waste Reduction Specialist Senior Ryan Lark. “What that means is by 2030, 90% of all the waste that UK produces on campus will no longer be going to the landfill, it will be going to different avenues. So that’s the bulk of it is recycling, but it also includes composting, organic waste, composting, it includes donations, reuse through a myriad other avenues as well.”


The company that created the Oscar technology, Intuitive AI, said in a case study, the tech helped increase recycling efforts by roughly 65%, and the school hopes for similar results.

Lark feels that there are two main reasons for people not recycling as much: lack of convivence, and a lack of education.

Lark said the Oscar technology will mitigate both those issues by it giving instant feedback.

“By having a resource here that provides instant feedback,” Lark explained. “I’m saying, you know, this is recyclable. You can recycle it right now and it doesn’t take 20 minutes to figure that out. Then it really increases the likelihood that people will actually recycle.”

To learn more about Oscar Sort, you can find it here.

To learn more about UK’s recycling measures, you can find that information here.