Food Waste Hero
Posted on January 23rd, 2014
Food Waste Hero is an early-stage prototype project for schools to raise awareness of food waste through behavioural economics, storytelling, design and technology. It features a Raspberry Pi connected device to weigh kitchen food waste bins and shows how households are doing compared to the UK average.
UK households waste 6.7 million tonnes of food every year, around one third of the 21.7 million tonnes we purchase.
The core of the project is a device to "nudge" families to waste less. Many local authorities in the UK require domestic waste to be separated, so many households have a separate bin for food waste in their kitchen. By weighing this bin automatically, and giving real-time feedback on the device itself and on a web application about how the family is doing compared to the UK average, students learn about where food comes from and where waste ends up.
Food Waste Hero also includes a cartoon to portray the journey of a single banana from a plantation in Ecuador to a home in the UK. Connecting facts and figures to people and places encourages systems thinking, while stories engage our empathy and imagination.
In addition to showcasing interaction design, the Internet of Things (IoT) and behavioural economics, the prototype gives students the opportunity to build, test and modify a product that serves a real social and environmental need.
The following presentation was given to NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany) in June 2013 in Cambridge UK - the presentation is also available with speaker notes: