Every year, we contribute enormous amounts of waste to our landfills. A growing issue arises within the disposal of electronic waste ("e-waste") – if e-waste is improperly disposed of, then e-waste can contribute to the release of environmental toxins that are linked to the dangerous environmental and health risks. Currently, Canada generates approximately 725,000 tonnes of e-waste annually but only 20% of it is recycled properly. Why is this happening? We narrowed down the main problems that key stakeholders face:

Consumers: Lack of awareness of where to properly dispose e-waste and lack of convenience doing so.

Waste Management: Lack of transparency of how received e-waste is disposed and following a path of least resistance - usually sending it to the landfill or exporting it to developing nations

Businesses: End-of-life is not a big enough consideration in the design of products and companies still have room to grow in making more robust take back programs and making waste into a resource.

What it does

DigiCycle is a platform serving consumers and disposal staff. For consumers, DigiCycle provides an easy way to locate disposal centers, earn cryptocurrency for every disposal they make at a designated e-waste center, view account balance and transactions, and access rewards. Every transaction is tracked on a public distributed ledger and includes a transaction id and hash that contains information about the disposal. For e-waste disposal staff, it provides an easy way to log and categorize the disposals that they receive.

How we built it

To build our application, we used Javascript as our main programming language. A HTML form was first created for the user to input their information (account id, serial number, location of disposal center, etc). The input from the form was extracted by Javascript and passed to the server-side, where we invoked the Hedera transfer transaction and included the product info in a memo, verified the transaction, and provided a receipt of the transaction. After this ends, a confirmation of the transaction would be shown to the staff. Consumers would be able to receive a notification of this confirmation and also view their account balance and previous transactions (values pulled with Hedera apis).

To stimulate the user experience, Figma was used to prototype the design and flow of the website.

Challenges we ran into

We spent a lot of time understanding the Hedera SDKs and trying to get transactions working. We also had never used Figma before for prototyping, therefore there was a learning curve when using this application.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were proud that we decided to take on the challenge of creating a distributed ledger for the first time!

What we learned

Throughout this project, our team learned about blockchains and distributed ledgers, and how we could build a method of tracking transactions in a distributed ledger using Hedera Hashgraphs. We also learned to use the graphics editor and prototyping tool, Figma, to design our web pages. Lastly, we learned that persistence and maintaining a positive attitude is the key to successfully creating an awesome hack!

What's next for Digicycle

Digicycle currently keeps track of all customer transactions however, it does not account for the end lifecycle of the product. A future consideration is to utilize the supply chain to track the entire recycling process, starting from when the customer makes a disposal to the end point of the device. Additionally, to make DigiCycle more accessible to customers around the world, we can expand our number of waste management partners. The last consideration for DigiCycle is to offer data eradication services to customers, which will ensure any data remaining in devices are removed. The rewards component of DigiCycle would also be an opportunity for business partnerships and also provide insights products and how to integrate a more circular lifecycle.

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