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Standardisation of plastics & smart sorting

Standard symbols for different plastics for easy & right disposal & virtual recognition of type at to ease sorting small plastics

Photo of Chirjiv Anand
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It is currently confusing for example if there is a recycle symbol on a compostable lid for a consumer to decide the disposal option. Standard shapes for example as simple as a spoon with a hole at one end for bio-degradable plastics/ or a symbol which explains the disposal method for that particular type of plastic is required. One these standards are in place, & when the plastics reach the sorting facility, a sorter can use a technology such as google goggles for example to virtually recognize all the bio-degradable small plastic as one colour. This can help make sorting efficient & drive less small plastic to landfills.

Idea Title

Standardise & sort smart with virtual recognition

Where are you / your team located?

Palo Alto area

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

The idea will increase the collection efficiency on a conveyer belt of small plastics such as coffee cup lids, straws, knifes, spoons etc.,

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

How might we continue to provide drinks on the go whilst designing out the creation of waste

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

It could be applied in Plato Alto region, where the problem currently exists and also globally depending on the plastic waste management methods. Standardization needs to be global but will only help if there are local policies.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The obstacle is awareness/ consumer behaviour. Getting the consumer to dispose rightly. Provision of sufficient recycle bins so that these plastics do not go to garbage would be required. In addition, motivation/ incentives/ feel good factor are also required for effective collection of generated waste. Small scale applications/ exemplary applications for inspiration or certifications for a zero waste facility could be inspiring.

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.

1. Accelerating the solution first calls for setting standards across companies 2. A method for virtual recognition of plastics will need to developed and programed These are the two goals identified so far that can benefit from the opportunity to work with the New Plastics Economy Accelerator Program.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

OpenIDEO circular design Challenge

Tell us about your work experience

Environmental sustainability - Environmental impact assessment (applied to urban water sanitation, roads & buildings) , with a goal to mitigate impacts using alternative scenario analysis.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Chirjiv, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Chirjiv Anand

Thank you Kate! No figures right now. But I will try to add some to the post. Thanks for the suggestion.

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