AWS Virtual Builders Fair: Using technology to create a more sustainable workplace at Amazon

If people knew how much waste would be avoided by reusing a coffee cup, they might think twice before reaching for a new one. That's the idea behind a simple mechanism to measure the number of cups that were not used throughout the day at an Amazon office.

Channa Samynathan, a solutions architect at Amazon Web Services (AWS), demonstrates the concept, which was built on a simple Raspberry Pi Zero, running an AWS client-side interface that connects to the AWS cloud infrastructure.

The Raspberry Pi collects radio-frequency identification (RFID) information from reusable cups through an RFID scanner, constructs a data package, and sends it to the AWS infrastructure. Once within the cloud, the information is saved in a persistent state known as a “shadow.” Another Raspberry Pi has been programmed to scan this shadow every few seconds to get the latest number of scans that have been made, and then display them on a small screen. This way, whenever someone fills a reusable mug that is RFID-enabled, the system will know another single-use cup was saved.

Virtual Kids Week activities are intended for children with involvement from a parent or guardian.