Meet the Startup Nurturing a More Scenic View

This innovation could benefit the outdoor vibe generally.

Young women eating fast food in a car.

(Africa Studio /

Picture this: Sarah is rushing to get to work on time, but she still needs her morning caffeine fix. She pulls into a Starbucks drive-thru and orders a latte. As she drives off, sipping her latte, Sarah thinks about the day ahead. 

When she pulls into the parking lot at work, she takes her empty plastic cup out of her car’s cup holder, and brings it into the office where she deposits it in a recycling bin. 

Sarah’s routine seems so ordinary and should be the norm. LitterCam hopes to incentivize more people to “clean up” their takeout routines by making it easier, with the help of artificial intelligence, to ticket people who toss litter out of car windows.

Costly problem: cheap solution

The United Kingdom is known for its lush gardens and tidy green lawns. Not only does roadside litter affect this aesthetic, but, as Fast Company reports, the UK has to spend 850 million pounds in taxpayer money each year cleaning it up.

Not only that, but Just Computers Online reminds us of the potential harm of this detritus on the environment and local wildlife, as well as its destructive ability to pollute waterways.

With the problem increasing 500 percent since the 1960s, the issue warrants a solution

Andrew Kemp, CEO and co-founder of LitterCam, thinks he’s found one that is cheap and easy to implement–CCTV cameras that can detect the license plates of car litterers so they can be ticketed.

How does LitterCam work?

Cities and businesses can install LitterCams systems into existing CCTV cameras or as standalone sentries in areas with high volumes of litter.

The computerized camera uses an algorithm to spot cigarette butts, takeaway containers and other garbage dropped out of car windows. It then records the offenders’ license plates. 

This data is kept private, only accessible by police departments that can then follow up with tickets. 

The system can also be plugged into a moving vehicle to identify roadside debris and graffiti

This can help cities identify where to install cameras to deter the most would-be litterers. It can also help municipalities streamline their roadside sanitation service by geo-tagging the areas most in need of cleaning.

Maidstone is taking the cameras out for a spin

LitterCam’s patented technology is already being trialed for the first time in Maidstone, Kent,  in the south east of England. City employees have installed the cameras in hotspots across the borough in the hope that a financial deterrent will limit the quantity of streetside litter.

And Andrew Kemp has big plans to expand beyond the Maidstone Borough. 

In an interview with network solutions company Axis, Kemp shared LitterCam’s ambitious yet optimistic future goals. 

“As an automated and fully scalable system, LitterCam very much lends itself to becoming a key part of the smart city of the future. As our cities become smarter with more and more integrated technology, and key departments work ever closer to share data and pool resources, solutions like LitterCam can play an important role in keeping our streets clear, clean and safe.