FoodFair IOT Waste Reduction Solution

With advantages as a convention and exhibition capital, over thousands of exhibitions are held in Hong Kong. But, at the same time, tonnes of wastes are generated in such a short exhibition period, especially in food fair. One of the most usual waste is the disposable plastic/paper containers holding food or drink, filling bags of garbage, leaving non biodegradable stuff at landfill. So we came up with a project to encourage reuse of plastic containers using IoT. We only need a few simple materials with an App and then the goal of minimizing use of disposable containers can be achieved. The following scenario is the idea we proposed:

Visitors purchasing tickets for event entry would receive a recyclable cup, with each containing a RFID tag, right before entry Visitors could download an APP for cup registration, by inputting personal information and permitting mobile phone data access, they may get discount offer in return Each staff in booths may wear a pair of “tech-gloves” which contains RFID reader with rechargeable battery, whenever visitors reach a target booth, they may pass the RFID tagged cup to staffs The RFID tag, RFID reader and APP of each visitors may interact and communicate to update the information immediately Visitors may retrieve the product information, including the location and the brand of products they have tasted, or rate the products that they have tried; Business sectors may retrieve the big data, for instance the preference of consumers or promoting their new products through APP

Step 1: Structure of System

In our solution, we harvest the power of IOT and wearable electronics.The RFID tagged cup/bowl will become a unique identification of customer while the scanner identifies the exhibitor. By contacting tag we scanner, we can understand the interaction of customer and exhibitor interaction.

All the information will be sent to a cloud-based server by Wi-Fi with either restful/MQTT protocol. By centralizing the data in a server, we create the following advantage for each stakeholder:

  • Customer
    • Record their interest and suggest product
    • Search booth/ product more easily
    • Reduce waste generation with one-use utensil
  • Exhibitor
    • Understand the demography of customer
    • Increase effectiveness of promotion
    • Increase customer loyalty
    • Able to post-processing data with data-mining technique

Step 2: List of Material

Our system consist of three parts:

  1. A cup/bowl with RFID tag
  2. A handheld scanning device for RFID scanning with WiFi capability
  3. A smartphone application for user to interact with the device

The list of material are as below(we are using a different material that the one suggested. However, the one suggested will be more available for makers in US/Europe to access them. We also include some cheaper alternative for you to explore):

Tools require:

  • sewing pack

Step 3: Build Your RFID Tag Cup/bowl

We simply bought some plastic cup and RFID tag. The RFID tag was attached to the side of cup and enclosed with waterproof materials. The RFID tag should have size within the RFID reader. The cup can be designed as what you want but it should be better endurable and recyclable.

Step 4: Make a RFID Scanner

Any type of gloves can be used and you may even buy it at “Living PLAZA by AEON” at price of only $12. We attached the RFID reader at the “palm” side position. Be reminded that the tag should not hinder the movement of your fingers or you may easily break the detector. We then connect the wire of the RFID reader to battery belt wrapped on front arm.

  1. Sew the RFID scanning module to the glove
  2. put 4 NiMH battery into the battery holder
  3. connect battery holder to NodeMCU module
  4. connect NodeMCU to RFID scanning module
  5. put all the thing together and sew it on top of the glove

Step 5: Create You Own App

Our system need an application as an interface. MIT app inventor is a good place to start.You will need to complete below listed part to make to app working with the scanner


  • Registration of cup
  • List of products/booths visited
  • Map of food fair Link to booth information (products list, promotion, facebook link, rating/like)
  • Calendar (food fair date and location, special event about food and drink)
  • Searching engine for corporated drink shop/food stall/ restaurants. Similar to Openrice but more specific to drink shop and green business
  • Further bonus programme: consuming a cup of drink will earn a bonus point for exchange of discount


  • Data analysis of customers behavior and personal information: including popularity of different kinds of products, relation between age group/gender/place to live and products, database of number of visitors Promotion design page of their own booths

We attached some suggested interface method. We also suggest the follow page be created by the all of you.

Step 6: Credible References

Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) -

  • Hong Kong has been implementing BYOB scheme since 2015 in order to reduce the amount of single-use plastic bags that require at least 50 years to be decomposed. As majority of the events, especially food and beverage, provide numbers of single-use plastic cups containing food or drink for visitors to give a try. This may create numerous non-biodegradable plastic wastes in one single event, which could be the target issue that we would like to start tackling so as to use BYOB as a template and extend it to cover a wider range of plastic products.


  • RFID stands for ‘radio-frequency identification’ which digital data could be encoded in RFID tags and captured by a reader through radio waves. This technique has been widely used after World War II in various industries, including supply chain management, inventory management. While it is rather new in terms of targeting in environmental management, which makes us want to try to utilize this technology to protect our planet.

HKTDC -展覽事務...htm

  • Hong Kong is an international metropolis with a wide range of events and conferences being held annually, targeting from local residents to foreign visitors. Events are usually run in a rapid pace that booth owners and consumers usually could only focus on sales and purchases but not in an eco-friendly way. Especially a lot of plastic container wastes are disposed during food and beverage fair, which make us want to focus on.



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    1 year ago

    That would be a neat setup :) It would make it much easier to keep track of where you went and what you liked!