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China's Alipay uses AI, AR to help sort garbage

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-07-16 14:13
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A mini-program launched by Alipay to help sort garbage. 

HANGZHOU - Chinese payment giant Alipay has rolled out a mini-program to help sort garbage by using artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies.

Users can learn how to sort their trash by scanning waste items with their smartphones, which only takes seconds to know which category a waste item belongs to.

Over 3 million people have tried the new function since its beta test phase in early July. The program has indexed more than 4,000 different types of waste to date.

Shrimp shells, facial masks, sunflower seed shells and medical cotton swabs were among the top 10 most searched items, according to Alipay.

In 2017, the Chinese government set a goal that the country should realize a utilization rate of 35 percent in household garbage recycling by 2020, and 46 Chinese cities should take the lead in implementing mandatory classification of residential waste.

As a pioneer in garbage sorting, Shanghai put into effect a set of compulsory regulations earlier this month.

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