The Project

Research shows that 94% of Americans support recycling, yet only about 35% of people recycle their waste. This significant gap stems from the confusion that recycling causes or the lack of recycling knowledge. People often have a hard time figuring out what can and cannot be recycled. As a result, people give up on recycling or put things in the wrong recycling bin. To educate and assist people about recycling, I developed a mobile app, RecyBuddy. Recybuddy is designed to assist and teach recycling to all ages. RecyBuddy provides users three ways to determine whether an object is recyclable, compostable, hazardous, e-waste, or trash. At a high level, users can simply take a photo, speak to a phone, or type in object names on their mobile phone, and then RecycleBuddy automatically identifies whether the objects are recyclable, compostable, hazardous, e-waste, or trash. Additionally, RecyBuddy provides a simple drag-and-drop game. The game has two modes, a learn and challenge mode. In the learn mode, users will receive instant feedback on their classification of objects; while in the challenge mode, users can test their knowledge with a non-interrupted game. RecyBuddy was created using React Native, Firebase, and the Google Vision API. RecyBuddy is freely available on the App Store.


Team Comments

I chose to make this project because...

Recent data shows that only 35% of Americans recycle their waste. Such a low rate results primarily from people's lack of recycling knowledge. To this end, I have developed RecyBuddy that assists and teaches users, especially the next generation, on how to recycle effectively and correctly.

What I found difficult and how I worked it out

Enabling object detection within RecyBuddy was challenging, because existing mobile technology (e.g., React-Native) does not support home-made object detection models. To solve this problem, I have benchmarked latest ML models and integrated the best one using Google Vision APIs.

Next time, I would...

I plan to extend RecyBuddy to provide more useful information; how to properly recycle complex items and where nearby recycling centers are. Furthermore, I would like to enhance recycling games to be more interactive, so that youth can learn recycling with fun and share their progress with friends.

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Judge Feedback

What an amazing and accessible way to encourage recycling! I love how you’ve considered and implemented three distinct input options, giving the application a really high level of accessibility for users of a wide range of abilities and ages. Your use of Google Vision and the creation of the game element are particularly cool touches for the problem you’ve worked to solve. All the best engineers and inventors us their skills to make the world a better place and it’s clear your project has the potential to be a really valuable tool for society. Great work!

About the team

  • United States

Team members

  • Ryan