ZeroWaste Dataset: Towards Automated Waste Recycling

Dina Bashkirova, Ziliang Zhu, James Akl, Fadi Alladkani, Ping Hu, Vitaly Ablavsky, Berk Calli, Sarah Adel Bargal, Kate Saenko

Less than 35% of recyclable waste is being actually recycled in the US, which leads to increased soil and sea pollution and is one of the major concerns of environmental researchers as well as the common public. At the heart of the problem is the inefficiencies of the waste sorting process (separating paper, plastic, metal, glass, etc.) due to the extremely complex and cluttered nature of the waste stream. Automated waste detection strategies have a great potential to enable more efficient, reliable and safer waste sorting practices, but the literature lacks comprehensive datasets and methodology for the industrial waste sorting solutions. In this paper, we take a step towards computer-aided waste detection and present the first in-the-wild industrial-grade waste detection and segmentation dataset, ZeroWaste. This dataset contains over1800fully segmented video frames collected from a real waste sorting plant along with waste material labels for training and evaluation of the segmentation methods, as well as over6000unlabeled frames that can be further used for semi-supervised and self-supervised learning techniques. ZeroWaste also provides frames of the conveyor belt before and after the sorting process, comprising a novel setup that can be used for weakly-supervised segmentation. We present baselines for fully-, semi- and weakly-supervised segmentation methods. Our experimental results demonstrate that state-of-the-art segmentation methods struggle to correctly detect and classify target objects which suggests the challenging nature of our proposed in-the-wild dataset. We believe that ZeroWastewill catalyze research in object detection and semantic segmentation in extreme clutter as well as applications in the recycling domain. Our project page can be found athttp://ai.bu.edu/zerowaste/.

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