Although 75% of America’s waste is recyclable, we only recycle around 30% of it. Let that sink in.
Every time I walk up to a trash can, recycle bin or compost bag (when I can find one), I get stressed about what option I should choose. I know that one single non-recyclable item can cause the whole batch to be thrown away, so deciding between the recycle bin, the trash and the compost is a big deal! I so often see people make mistakes where they end up throwing garbage into the wrong bin.see. Sometimes this can't be helped, because while there is an abundance of trash cans in public areas, the same can't be said about recycling and compost bins, as they are much harder to find.
What it does
Trash-It is an application with the goal of simplifying the act of throwing away your waste, and helping you be more responsible and mindful about where you put it. It will help you identify the material your item is made from, then it will tell you the closest recycle bin/trash can/compost bag/e-waste center in your city to your location to help you dispose of it properly.
How we built it
The app is currently only composed of a react native application, which leverages the Google Vision API to help identify the items in the pictures the user takes. It also uses the Expo CLI, which greatly helped us set up and develop our applications without worrying about some of the lengthy configurations required by other solutions.
Challenges we ran into
We were somewhat unfamiliar with react-native and mobile development, so it was a challenge to integrate all the different APIs and components such as the Google Vision API, the camera and the maps. Additionally, since one of us has an Android phone and one of us has an iPhone, it was tricky to get the app to work on both - there were several styling and functionality issues we had to resolve so that the application worked correctly on both platforms.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are so proud that we were able to complete a working prototype of what was just an idea just yesterday. We managed to leverage many powerful tools and bring them together to provide a useful solution to a prevalent problem. Working with AI and big data is something not everyone can say they worked with, much less completed a project with, and we are so grateful for Hackatown for giving us the opportunity to so!
What I learned
We learned a lot about react-native and mobile development, especially the differences between iOS and Android. We also re-learned that when faced with an impossible problem, sometimes it can be just one curly bracket stopping you!
What's next for Trash-It
- Properly implemented location services and navigation. Currently the location service is hard-coded to be somewhere in New York City, and while the application is able to find the nearest trash can/recycling bin/compost bag/e-waste center, it currently does not give directions to that location. *Something else we would love to implement in the future is having Trash-It be available for Montreal! unfortunately, the city's open data did not have what we needed to make this app work in our hometown. We hope that in the future, the city will collect this data and we will be able to implement Trash-It right here.
- In the future, we would also like to implement the ability for users to add recycling and compost bins they see, and share with others!
Team Name: Trash-It Members:
- Cristian Aldea
- Brianne O'Gallagher-Roy
- Ariane Drouin