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Towards artificially intelligent recycling: Improving image processing for waste classification

Yu, Y; Grammenos, R; (2021) Towards artificially intelligent recycling: Improving image processing for waste classification. ArXiv Green open access

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Abstract

The ever-increasing amount of global refuse is overwhelming the waste and recycling management industries. The need for smart systems for environmental monitoring and the enhancement of recycling processes is thus greater than ever. Amongst these efforts lies IBM's Wastenet project which aims to improve recycling by using artificial intelligence for waste classification. The work reported in this paper builds on this project through the use of transfer learning and data augmentation techniques to ameliorate classification accuracy. Starting with a convolutional neural network (CNN), a systematic approach is followed for selecting appropriate splitting ratios and for tuning multiple training parameters including learning rate schedulers, layers freezing, batch sizes and loss functions, in the context of the given scenario which requires classification of waste into different recycling types. Results are compared and contrasted using 10-fold cross validation and demonstrate that the model developed achieves a 91.21% test accuracy. Subsequently, a range of data augmentation techniques are then incorporated into this work including flipping, rotation, shearing, zooming, and brightness control. Results show that these augmentation techniques further improve the test accuracy of the final model to 95.40%. Unlike other work reported in the field, this paper provides full details regarding the training of the model. Furthermore, the code for this work has been made open-source and we have demonstrated that the model can perform successful real-time classification of recycling waste items using a standard computer webcam.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Towards artificially intelligent recycling: Improving image processing for waste classification
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2108.06274
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Electronic and Electrical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10132984
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