What is 1Less?
1Less is a Berlin-based start-up that has made it its mission to fight plastic waste. To do so, they have developed a special system to help solve the plastic problem, particularly at large events, at trade fairs and in shopping centers.
What is the problem solved by 1Less?
Every day billions of single-use plastic containers are thrown away. In the EU alone, over 1.13 trillion food and drink containers are used every year. Many of them are only used for a few minutes, but will pollute our planet for thousands of years. The health effects likewise cannot be ignored: Recent studies have even found microplastic particles in human placentas. Together with climate change, plastic waste is one of the greatest threats to our lives.
But what if single-use cups and plates at airports and trade fairs, in shopping centers and at festivals were simply no longer necessary? What if there was a better solution, a solution allowing us to avoid millions of tons of waste without having to compromise on hygiene, convenience or cost?
Re-usable plates, cups and cutlery have to be user-friendly and make infections impossible. That is vital for getting consumers and businesses to accept them. But due to the COVID pandemic most cafés have stopped using them. Contact is simply too risky.
Our solution: Internet-of-Things, Artificial Intelligence and smart re-use
The Berlin-based start-up 1Less has developed an innovative automated system for use at trade fairs, at event locations and in shopping centers. It does not require any physical contact. By combining software and hardware and using Internet-of-Things technology, 1Less has created a system of re-usable cups, plates and cutlery. These items are equipped with RFID tags, which are later sorted by automated sorting bins using different types of sensors. The fully-automated bin separates normal garbage from re-usable cups and plates when they are thrown away. The service staff empties the bins to transport the dishes to the local dishwashing stations for cleaning and later re-use. This means no refundable deposits are necessary and the system is 100% COVID-compliant.
The system is easy to install and lets conferences, airports, zoos, shopping centers and theme parks avoid much of their plastic waste. This quantum leap of waste prevention will appeal to businesses while also protecting our environment.