In 2016, it was found that around 65% of Americans do not care to recycle because they do not see the immediate benefit in recycling or they do not know how to recycle. We sought to alleviate this problem by bringing more awareness to the issue using an interactive app.

What it does

In order to combat this problem, we have created a hands-on iOS app, Eco-Us. You can go ahead and make an account in order to save all of your recycling data. Upon signing in, you will be greeted by your profile that details your stats so far. In order to figure out what you can recycle, you can use the built-in camera app in Eco-Us. Using visual recognition technology powered by a machine learning model, the camera can inform you about the type of item you are trying to dispose of. Collecting recyclable items repeatedly will allow you to gain points. Additionally, you can access the map feature to locate recycling centers near you. This is especially helpful when you want to recycle special items, such as batteries and electronic devices. You can redeem rewards for the points you gain by recycling repeatedly. By partnering with local businesses, we seek to give you the best incentives for your hard work!

How we built it

The app uses machine learning to identify objects and sort them into one of the categories: Recycling, Landfill, and Compost. In addition, we used Google Maps to find the nearest recycling/compost bin to ensure that the item goes in the right place. We also used Xcode to create this iOS app.

Challenges we ran into

None of us had experience using Xcode. We had to watch a lot of tutorials to find out how to do certain tasks. Furthermore, implementing image recognition and Google Maps was difficult because it was our first time trying it. Especially due to the new environment of Swift, it was difficult to learn a new language in just 24 hours and create a clean, proficient iOS app.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We’re proud of the app that we created because we ended up creating all the features that we originally planned. We hope that it will make a huge impact on our society!

What we learned

We learned how to use Xcode and implement IBM watson image recognition and Google Maps into apps.

What's next for Eco-Us

We plan to improve our website so that users can type in any object that does not fit into a common category. Also, we seek to implement a point and rewards system to motivate people to recycle. By partnering with restaurants, department stores, etc, we can provide coupons and gift certificates as rewards for their points. To do this, people will need to have individual accounts, which we plan to implement using the login and sign up features.

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