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Garbage Number App

Creation of an App for tracking and sorting recyclable material. The best way to understand where our garbage must go.

Photo of Lincoln Camargo
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For some time we have been living a battle against the absurd increase in the amount of garbage we generate. We are lost in the midst of so much material produced and discarded by ourselves and the ways we are applying to solve this problem need to become faster and more effective. We can not waste any more time! In addition to the 4 R's known worldwide (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repair) we are living the era of the fifth R: the Rethinking. We need to rethink everything we do in general with regard to maintaining our existence.

Companies need to produce and sell their products, the population needs and wants to buy the products. In the middle of this relationship are the raw materials that end up becoming wastes, such as packaging, products already used, in short, everything the consumer does not want to have next to them and throws them into the environment to digest.

Thinking of this scenario was developed the Garbage Number APP, with the intention of becoming the biggest packaging return App in the world.

The App works as follows. The companies participating in the project, at the time of production, include a QR Code in each of the products identifying the composition material, respecting the world-recognized waste separation, namely: paper (blue), plastic (red), glass ( Green), wood (black), organic (brown), metal (yellow), hazardous (orange), radioactive (purple), hospital (white), non-recyclable (gray)

Besides this division there are subdivisions of some materials, but for the project the relevant subdivisions are of the metal, in which we will identify the aluminum, and the plastic, in which we will identify the 7 types of plastics: PET (# 1), HDPE , PVC (# 3), LDPE (# 4), PP (# 5), PS (# 6) and Others (# 7). In addition to these types of plastics, we have included one more type, BOPP that is not yet included in the above list because it is still considered a new material. It is a subdivision of the PP (# 5), has an internal lamination and does not have recycling stations for it. We can find this material in various products such as packets of snack foods, sachets and most food products due to its great sealing power.

Each unit product will receive an individual code that will be generated from the ERP of the company with the numbering of the material of its composition + the hour and seconds in which it was produced, making the number unique.

Once all the products are identified and offered for sale, each code will go through its own destiny and at a certain moment it will be time to be thrown away.

At this point, the Garbage Number APP takes effect, since the materials already used can be precisely identified and dispensed in the correct places for recycling.

Currently one of the biggest problems of recycling is the sorting of materials, which with the help of the Garbage Number App can be done in three ways: 

1) The consumer or establishment reads with your Smartphone the QR Code of each of the materials to be separated and already places them in separate bags that will be closed with plastic ties also with QR Code corresponding to the grouped material. Once done, it leads to the collection points and directs the already separated garbage in the corresponding basket.

2) A second way is the consumer or collector of recyclable materials takes his trash to be separated to one of the super selective collection stations where he will find QR Code readers to already identify the material and immediately throw in the corresponding baskets.

3) The third and most important form of identification will be in the wake of separation of materials for recycling. Those garbage that do not come already super selected should pass through the mats that will be equipped with QR Code readers for each of the workers responsible for the selection, who will immediately identify the materials that are not easily identifiable

When reading the QR Code in any of the ways above, the APP user will see the Garbage Number (which was printed at the time of production), he will see written what material the product is made of (always taking into account the largest amount of the same Material used in the product, or material that is recyclable if it has more than one material), and he will see in which of the collectors separated by color the material should be dispensed.

In this way, with the Garbage Number App, garbage will be super-selected, it will make it easier to separate materials, eliminate processes and prevent plastics like BOPP, which are more difficult to identify, contaminate the rest of the recyclable material, making it impossible to be used at the time of recycling or generating more cost for their separation.

The Garbage Number App is important for companies that are interested in reducing or collecting their garbage. The intent is that the Garbage Number APP becomes a seal of assurance that the company that is dumping its waste into the environment when it sells its products is worrying about getting it back, or at least forwarding it to a location where it will have a more suitable destination.

As for final consumers of the products, who end up becoming the "responsible" for getting rid of waste, the idea is that the Garbage Number APP becomes a fun, competitive, playful and instructive game. People who read more of the QR Codes of the products and who take more quantity of selected garbage to collection points receive points, patents or levels, and can also unlock new games on the cell phone. Something that makes this Garbage Numbers hunting interesting.

The collection points also participate in this race for Garbage Numbers. Posts that collect the most garbage or have the best garbage separately also earn points for the establishment.

The main idea of the Garbage Number App is to bring the recycling of materials closer to people's lives, so that discarded material is seen not as garbage, but as part of the product, or even as the product itself. By having this real view of the materials to be recycled, people will be closer to them and will no longer see them as a problem of the other, a boring action, a dirty action, and an action relegated only to a certain group of unknown people.

The act of separating materials for recycling should be part of the thinking and routine of each one of us. There must come a day when no one else will realize that he is separating the materials, because it will no longer be an action thought, it will be a lived action.

Idea Title

Garbage Number APP


Where are you / your team located?

Brazil - São Paulo - SP

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

Esta ideia redesenha não apenas a small format plastic item that often end up as waste, redesenha a forma de se pensar a reciclagem como um todo. Gera rapidez, eficiência e objetividade no processo da separação e reciclagem dos materiais. Envolve todos os níveis da reciclagem desde o produtor, o consumidor até o coletor num mesmo objetivo e num mesmo ideal de forma lúdica e interessante para que se redesenhe o mindset da população em relação ao seu waste.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

O Garbage Number App se aplica aos 3 casos uma vez que diz respeito a reciclagem no geral.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

The idea of Garbage Number App can be and must be applied worldwide. Qualquer empresa, consumidor, coletor de reciclável ou qualquer pessoa que se preocupe com o meio ambiente pode se cadastrar no APP.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

Como o Garbage Number App depende de que as empresas cadastrem seus produtos começaremos indo em busca de grandes marcas responsáveis pela produção de grande parte do lixo mundial para que seja exemplo para as demais empresas se cadastrarem também. Feito isso, o cadastramento das pessoas físicas e entidades coletoras de recicláveis serão o próximo passo.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

The New Plastics Economy Accelerator Program will help in implementing the project as it validates the idea and makes it known to its contacts, co-sponsors and others involved who are able to adhere to the Garbage Number App idea and make it known worldwide.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

This idea started from my eternal dissatisfaction with the misuse of disposable products or products with low usability. I often seek solutions to contribute to the preservation of the environment and the circular economy.

Tell us about your work experience

I have worked in some of the most prestigious design studios in Brazil developing graphic design, product design, logistic design, furniture and objects design, handicraft work with recycling material


Join the conversation:

Photo of Lincoln Camargo

Hello Marisa
Thanks to share your comments.

Do you have any APP developed to do it?
I believe that we have many options to develop it, but much more is about information and education that we can offer to consumer.
In my project (part that I didn't put) I explain about how to get more effort from costumer.
The basic is that every one has a mobile or Smart Phones to do everything and another devices that works together could be implemented.
Smart Garbages.
Smart Chains.
Smart Trucks.
Smart Containers.
we need investments to make a responsive garbage.

About machines, we always imput easily knolegment, but to people we have other mecanism to do this. we need investments create some educations ways and to offer something to every one that made a good job.
Earning Money.
Earning Discount.
Earning Beneficts.

We have to understand that the time is over and we have to develop a new way to make business and to care about the world.

The same company that like to sell is the same one that could like to clean.

About contaminations, we have to review all bins becouse we have an humans doing their works and humans sometimes could makes a mistake.

Nice to talk to you!

Photo of Marisa_A null

Lincoln Camargo . Love this idea. Have been toying with something similar! The rate at which people use tech here, there must be a function like this that works for them. I wonder if there is a way to prevent erroneous placement..before it goes into the bin. As in, the bin will not open if the wrong type of material is put in. Here in Singapore, even when we sort, a lot of the problem happens when someone does not conform and the whole batch is then contaminated!

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Lincoln Camargo 

The Ideas Phase of the challenge closes TONIGHT at 11:30 p.m. PT. Your post is currently unpublished, in draft mode. In order to be eligible for evaluation, your post must be published on the platform.

We'd love to have it be included in the challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. Thanks!