An app that helps with sorting plastics and rewards you for it.
There is an immediate need in Japan to increase the material and/or chemical recycling rate to prevent plastics from ending up in landfill or from being burned. Concurrently, more awareness needs to be created to reduce plastic consumption in the long term. However, several challenges make it difficult to tackle this problem:
- Little to no data available on the scope of the problem
- Non-transparent recycling policies which reduce awareness
- Single/Dual-stream waste collection which create more contaminated waste streams
- Confusing plastic collection rules and no proper sorting knowledge under citizens
Our solution is an AI plastic classification mobile app that, given a picture, can categorize a plastic product into one of the 7 resin types and tells whether the product is fit for recycling within the local municipality and how it should be sorted. It also tracks the generated waste per user to create awareness. By switching to multi-stream waste collection supported by our app, we hope to achieve cleaner waste streams and more clean recycling. The app rewards the user with e.g. coupons or money to encourage the user to sort better. The collected data and our AI recognition services can be used by the industry to improve their recycling performance and help tackle the pollution problem.
In the future this idea may also scale to other types of waste, but we decided to take things one step at a time and to start with plastics.