The theme for this event focused on five of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. Of these, our team decided to focus on ‘Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production’. This issue is seen across many countries, including the United Kingdom (UK). Statistics show that UK households produced just under 27 million tonnes of waste in 2017, and the UK’s recycling rate for Waste from Households (WfH) was 45.0% in 2018. These demonstrate an opportunity to help households both reduce and recycle waste.
What it does
EcoPal is a system that advises users on how to become sustainable consumers, focusing on the principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle. It includes the following sections and features: • Reduce o Provides advice on how the user can reduce the amount of waste they produce. • Reuse o Suggests fun activities that utilise waste and unwanted items, helping younger audiences engage with and understand sustainability. o Locates nearby charities and informs users of the items they accept. • Recycle o Advises users of the types of waste that can be recycled in their districts. o Locates nearby recycling centres and informs users of the types of waste they accept.
How we built it
The system was built within Python. GitHub was utilised to help team members collaborate.
Challenges we ran into
• Implementing Google API to deal with google map searches. • Using excel as a database as we were unfamiliar with it. • Merging different functions created by different people together.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
• Successfully developing a prototype system based upon a concept idea within a short time span. • Including every member of the team regardless of their level.
What we learned
• How to plan a project. • How to collaborate as a team. • How to manage workload across multiple people. • Applying people to tasks with relevant skills. • Implementing Google Maps into our python project. • Good communication within a team. • Using Microsoft Excel as a database.
What's next for EcoPal
The finalised product would take the form of a mobile app. This would be available from the Google Play and Apple stores. According to Statista, the percentage of households in the UK with a mobile phone between 2017-18 was 95%. Based on this, it should be easily accessible to the general populace.
Additional features to be added include: • Reduce o Helps users identify whether a product is sustainable and suggests alternatives if necessary. o Signposts to helpful resources, such as blogs. • Reuse o Offers a platform for users to trade unwanted items.