ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Elizabethtown College is trying to change the narrative when it comes to food waste on its campus, and it’s using new technology to achieve that.
“We are the first college in the United States to utilize KITRO,” Austin Benner, the general manager of dining services for the college said.
KITRO is an AI technology from a Swiss company also named KITRO that will help reduce food waste at the college’s Marketplace.
The company helps food and beverage outlets worldwide by collecting food waste data.
So how is it going to help dining at Elizabethtown College?
“It helps us track exactly what food is being thrown away, what exactly is being wasted, and we will be able to collect that data and use that data for future menu creation and also to help curb some of the food waste that occurs on campus,” Benner said.
Students dump their food waste into a trash can on a scale with a camera above it. The camera snaps a picture and detects what food is being discarded.
That data tells the college what food is being wasted the most.
Yet, it’s a little more sophisticated than just a snapshot.
“The machine can actually distinguish between broccoli that has gone bad versus broccoli that’s thrown away because too much was prepped versus broccoli that was on someone’s plate,” registered dietician Savannah Greiner said.
Colleges have to feed a lot of people which leads to a lot of discarded food.
Benner says that 22 million pounds of food gets wasted each year on college campuses.
Elizabethtown College is no stranger to sustainable practices, but they are ready to take the next step.
“Whatever we can do to have a positive impact, spread the word for colleges to also use this technology to get their food waste down,” Greiner said. “It’s only going to benefit everyone in the end.”
The KITRO system was put into place on Monday, and the college should get its first data sample in two weeks.