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The Call for Code team from the University of Sydney is democratizing waste management 

Plenti is the 4th runner up in the 2021 Call for Code Global Challenge and will receive USD $10K.

Did you know the average household throws away 1 in 5 bags of spoiled groceries? Beyond the economic impact on households, the environmental impact is exacerbated by the fact that food products create a considerable carbon footprint from the farm, to the store, and into your kitchen before getting dumped.

The Plenti team are looking to change this and help us better manage our groceries. As a Top Five finalist in the 2021 Call for Code Global Challenge, Plenti was developed as a mobile app that alerts you before your food goes off.

The team started with the idea of helping cafés and restaurants be more sustainable. After beginning research on their hypothesis by conducting interviews with local businesses, the team quickly realized that many of these establishments already used sustainable practices, as much for economic reasons as for environmental ones. So they decided to learn from the industrial sector and bring these inventory and waste-management practices to the average household.

The simplicity of an app is key to its success. Plenti makes it easy for a shopper to enter details about their groceries with just the scan of a receipt with a smartphone camera. Text recognition and the Watson Natural Language Classifier identify and categorize produce. This is then cross-referenced with a database of the expiry date of common fruits and vegetables. Notifications are triggered days prior to an avocado turning brown or a lemon going mushy. The application uses an event-driven architecture powered by IBM Cloud Functions to ensure the smallest footprint and economical use of compute power.

The app also goes a step further by aggregating all this information and providing insights on a household’s level of food waste — showing how this changes over time. After all, as the team says, you can’t improve what you can’t measure.

Attend the Call for Code Awards to find out who will win the 2021 Call for Code Global Challenge.