An Irish company has designed a system to help hotels and restaurants reduce food waste - which accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions.

The hospitality sector produces an estimated 23% of food waste in Ireland and Irish firm Positive Carbon has developed a system based around brown food waste bins which helps commercial kitchens cut that by up to 60%.

A camera above the bin and a weighing scale below feed information to an app which uses machine learning to detail exactly which foods go into the bin - this allows kitchen managers to adjust their ordering and preparation to stop the kitchen producing an excess of the types of food that is regularly being binned.

An average hotel kitchen throws out €250,000 worth of food every year so there are big cash - as well as carbon - savings to be made.

Information fed from the smart bin back to the app

Mark Kirwan, Chief Executive and co-founder of Positive Carbon, says companies soon find the technology pays for itself.

"How much it costs really depends on the size of the kitchen and how many bins they have," he said.

"So a small kitchen wouldn't pay that much. And then you have workplaces, where they might do 7,000 meals a day, that can end up paying a lot more, but in terms of the savings, some workplaces or some kitchens can end up spending up to half a million a year on food that goes in the bin.

"So the opportunity for savings there is absolutely massive outside of the environmental savings as well."

The system is operating in 50 locations around Ireland and the Merrion Hotel in Dublin has recently signed up.

The hotel's Facilities Manager Ger Mountaine says the technology is a good fit.

"This set up from Positive Carbon will allow us to hit our sustainability goals without impacting our margins from the kitchen," he said.

Mr Mountaine says the hotel does what it can to reduce waste by doing things such as using trimmings from food preparation to make stock.

However, he estimates the hotel produces around five tonnes of food waste every month.

Part of the problem is that those who order the food and decide the menus do not see what is thrown out.

"There's a lot of prep work involved in kitchens and when the waste is collected after it hits here (the bin) no one ever sees what went in.

"So now this gives us an image to work off so we can reduce what's coming out from our kitchens."

The smart bins sit on a weighing scales

Mr Kirwan says Positive Carbon's system is designed to make it easy for chefs to see where the waste is.

"When we started building this, we very much had kitchens in mind, so getting kitchen staff to also take paper logs or input what they're using and stuff like that is a lot to ask in an environment where people can be working 60 or 70 hours... so our system is fully autonomous," he said.

"Basically, from the moment we install, it's super easy."

Positive Carbon co-founder and Chief Operations Officer Aisling Kirwan says the solutions are often simple.

"Just being able to see simple things like at the end of every breakfast service we're throwing away too many sausages," she said.

"Let's just stop cooking that many sausages in the morning that will save us money on our food bills, and the environmental impact of that food and we have staff spending less time prepping food in the morning as well."

The company says its next move will be to expand into the UK and Europe and the ultimate aim is to go global to offer a solution to what is a worldwide issue.