For GSU's Digital Learners to Leaders program

Recycling is hindered by a lack of incentive and pure inconvenience. We found these root causes during a meeting, and decided upon a practical solution: the reverse vending machine (RVM). In such a device, users would donate recyclable materials and receive monetary compensation. A Norwegian company named TOMRA pioneered such a machine in the 1970s and has now perfected it, yet the closest machine to Atlanta is 1,214 miles away-- in Canada.

Our solution is small-scale and is targeted towards the Atlanta community, from college students to the homeless. Instead of receiving a direct monetary reward, users will accumulate coins to redeem goods and services from partnering businesses, such rewards include a free meal or a bus ride. In addition to this, competitions will be held where the user who donates the most materials within a set time period will receive prizes from partnering companies. To participate in this system, users will either scan a QR code or swipe a card after donating materials to receive coins, and cards will be available at machines for those without mobile devices.

The RVM we are prototyping is pragmatic in construction, which will lend itself to a simple process of construction and distribution. Compared to TOMRA's sensor-based sorting technology, we will utilize a more cost-friendly and accurate system of scanning each item's QR code. As time progresses we hope to automate the process of scanning QR codes to improve convenience.

A major challenge that we will face is bringing businesses on board as partners. Just as how companies sponsor HackGSU to invest in the future of students, companies sponsoring EcoDrop are investing in the future of everyone. We are confident that, with the support of local businesses, recycling will become commonplace.

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