Mexican food chain Boojum has teamed up with Dublin tech start-up Sensi to support the chain's sustainability strategy.
The collaboration will initially see the installation of Sensi’s AI reverse vending machine in the company’s South Great George’s Stree restaurant to encourage customers to recycle plastic bottles, aluminium cans and other common items. The machine uses visual recognition to identify items being returned, rather than a barcode, and swaps them for digital rewards vouchers to redeem free meals, drinks, and other menu items.
Boojum's head of operations Robert Powell said the company was committed to sustainability and hoped the initiative would drive real change in consumer habits.
Mr Powell said there were plans to roll out the technology across the chain’s restaurants to allow the group to address its own recycling efforts.
"Sensi have real growth ambitions not just in Ireland but across the world and the team at Boojum are excited to be bringing them on board at the start of their journey," he said.
“Once rolled out over our 17 restaurants, over time this could potentially see an estimated 350,000 bottles and cans recycled through our portfolio. This collaboration represents a strategic eco investment for us in a dynamic Irish company with an experienced team and a world-first disruptive product.”
Sensi was founded by Nathan Misischi and Dexmont Peña.
“Our machine operates by only allowing the disposal of selected items. This leads to a virtually uncontaminated, high-quality collection stream of recyclable materials – good enough to go directly for processing without additional sorting, an excellent example of the circular economy in action,” Mr Misischi said. “Once the item is verified, and disposal completed, digital vouchers are produced enabling a full contactless experience for the user.”
Boojum isn't the only company adopting reverse vending machines. last September Lidl said it would install standard reverse vending machines across its stores by 2023, allowing customers to exchange plastic bottles and aluminium cans for vouchers.
Regulations underpinning a deposit scheme for plastic bottles and aluminium cans were also signed by Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan last year.