We thought about modern day issues and if any of these issues could be resolved by the average consumer. If there was an app that could help the average consumer more efficiently use the food in their fridge, then there will be less food waste and a better environment. Food waste is one of the biggest environmental issues, but it’s often forgotten. The energy and resources that go into producing life sustaining food ends up in the trash, with 40% of America’s food production ending up in landfills. At a time of increasing resource scarcity, 20% of our land, 4% of our energy and 25% of our water is used to produce food that ends up being thrown out. The food in the trash bin must be hauled to the landfill, costing more energy, where it ultimately breaks down into methane, a greenhouse gas. One study in the U.K. found that eliminating all food waste from landfills would be equivalent to taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.

What it does

When the user opens the Refresh app, they are presented with three tabs. The user can check what is cataloged in their kitchen, their shopping list, and search for recipes based on the food the user has/wants to get rid of. When something is checked off the grocery list, it is automatically added into the ‘My Kitchen’ section. The app tracks the expiration dates of all of the ingredients. The recipe page prioritizes recipes that use ingredients that expire soon, allowing users to use food before it expires.

How we built it

We used Adobe XD to design and prototype the UI. We used Java to code the algorithm, and Android Studio to code the mobile application.

Challenges we ran into

In general, we were not experienced in android development. This made the app creation process more difficult, and made it more difficult to add other features such as notifications. We were able to add a notification feature; however, these notifications do not occur weekly like intended. We’re also inexperienced with Github, so we had difficulty merging our files together. We ended up merging our files manually.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We created an intelligent and effective UI design for Refresh. We got the recipe API working well with the app. We got a very basic prototype of tracking ingredient amounts working. We jumped into something we had very little experience in and were able to make something we're proud of.

What we learned

We learned the importance of teamwork and the benefits of working with people with a diversity of skill sets and backgrounds. We also learned the importance of reviewing each of our ideas critically, and addressing issues with practicality and scalability early on in the planning process. We also learned more about the debugging process and various methods of checking what works and what doesn’t.

What's next for Refresh

We are thinking about adding a feature that will notify the user of weekly tips to eliminate food waste and be more environmentally conscious. We want to add the ability to scan a receipt instead of manually adding groceries to My Kitchen. We intend to add a way to input items in the user’s kitchen that have already been bought and have varying expiration dates. We also want the My Kitchen tab to show quantities. Instead of adding a new carton of milk, the app should recognize another carton of milk was added and combine them to one grocery item with a quantity next to it.

Built With

Share this project: