The Chinese government has set a goal of 35 percent for household garbage recycling by 2020, and Shanghai has put into effect compulsory regulations from July 1, 2019. 45 other cities are about to follow soon.
In response to this move, Alipay offers the beta phase of a “Garbage classification guide” that has indexed over 4,000 different types of waste such as shrimp shells, facial masks, sunflower seed shells, medical cotton swabs etc. The customer takes a photo of a particular garbage or describes the garbage by voice; the software then applies either voice recognition or augmented reality (AR) scanning and image recognition, and provides suggestions by voice or text.
Reportedly, over 3 million people have already tried out the new function by scanning waste items with their smartphones, which answers within seconds in which type of litter bin a waste item belongs.
Xinhua news release, July 16, 2019