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.

About the team

  • United States

Team members

  • Ryan