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trash.py

trash.py is a smart waste bin which automatically detects and segregates landfill and recyclable to establish a better method of waste management. It's vision is to increase recycling and improve user’s experience while disposing waste inside the campus buildings at University of Michigan.

Role

Project Manager

UX Lead

Project Context

Jan - Apr 2022

Innovation in Action Competition

3 Team Members

Tools

Adobe XD

Python

CAD

Inspiration?

This journey started with just an idea in my head and made up to the Finale at Innovation in Action. It's true when people say that inspiration lies right in your surroundings.

Even after bins in the university buildings have pre provided instructions on where and how to dispose different types of waste, this was the situation observed by me at different occasions.

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91%

of plastic doesn't get recycled and just sits in the landfills annually!

Now, the big question is how to increase recycling and improve user’s experience while disposing waste inside the campus buildings?

SOLUTION

A smart waste bin that ensures proper detection and segregation of landfill and recyclable in waste leading to efficient waste management and eliminating the stress of decision making from users while disposing waste.

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Recruitment

I knew that to develop an impactful solution, I would require my prototype to be well designed from both software and hardware perspective.

Hence, I decided to get 2 amazing peers onboard, one with knowledge of Machine Learning, Computer Vision and another with sense of Design and Manufacturing. This project was also used by both the peers as a capstone project of their degree.

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Process

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Research

Listening Sessions with Stakeholders

Survey

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Analysis

Market Analysis

Design Heuristics

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Design

DL Model

CAD Model

Lo-Fi Prototype

Mobile App

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Testing

Prototype Testing

Future Scope

At this stage, it was important to understand pain points of various Stakeholders to develop a broader perspective of the issues.

RESEARCH

Listening Sessions with Stakeholders

Various stakeholders like Office of Campus Sustainability, project teams like ContaMiNot, Janitorial Staff and ME Professors were interviewed and we found out the following:

40%

of recyclables are contaminated on campus!

There are many recyclables that could be salvaged.

People can’t decide where to throw their waste.

Sometimes the whole system just breaks down.

At the same time, it was important to capture crucial information from common users of waste bins on campus like Students and Janitorial Staff.

Survey

59 students successfully responded to our survey and following where the learnings:

10%

felt strongly confident that they dispose waste in
correct receptacles.

62%

said they use other bin if recyclable or landfill is overfull.

60%

were happy if they were not expected to make any decisions
while disposing of waste.

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