When Plastic Oceans UK presented the challenge of reducing the impact of plastic usage on oceans, we were immediately reminded of how much plastic was used in our personal lives. As Londoners, we noticed that despite the plastic bag ban, there were still a lot of people purchasing 10p bags for life plastic bags. After some research, we realised that this was still having a significant impact on the environment and our oceans as most Londoners forget to reuse these bags and they end up on the trash. Bags for Life bags take longer to decompose and end up staying around for 1000+ years. After this, we were determined to solve this problem. Enter BagShare...

What it does

Drawing inspiration from the famous "Boris Bikes" here in London, we realised that the same model could be applied to high quality shopping bags!

BagShare is a rent-a-bag system where shoppers can pay £1 to rent a high quality shopping bag at their local supermarket. They get that £1 back when they return the bag on their next trip. For each bag that they return, users will receive 10 reward points which they can then redeem for vouchers and other offers from participating retailers.

How we built it

We built the initial first release android version of the app using Android Studio and Java.

Challenges we ran into

When we started, we wanted to build the world and quickly found ourselves floundering in a tonne of ideas. It was quickly evident that we would have to narrow down our idea quite significantly to produce a minimum viable product (MVP) for this weekend! It took a lot of post it notes and A3 pieces of paper but we managed to narrow our idea down to BoraBags.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Developing a MVP over the course of a weekend. A few of us were new to coding so it was great to get the chance to pick up new skills! We utilised pair programming in our group so that everyone could have a safe space to try coding.

What we learned

We learned that even schemes like the plastic bag ban can't completely eradicate plastic bags from the community and sometimes they create new unforeseeable problems.

What's next for BagShare

We hope to continue with this idea in the future and that it shows up in our local supermarkets soon.

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