Waste sorting 2.0

14.05.2018   Anton Bondarenko

Problem to be solved

The sorting quality of waste collected in public waste collection sites is unpredictable and extremely low. This is due to the fact that some people throw poorly sorted or even not sorted waste into these containers (containers). The state can be and will provide containers for sorting under each house. But it cannot, with any fines, make all people carry out their waste properly. As a result, poorly sorted waste will most likely (or almost always) fall into a common landfill than will be recycled.

It is even worse - if some people realize that others from time to time deliberately discard incorrectly sorted waste into common containers, then they themselves begin to strain less and try less, because the quality of sorting of general waste is still likely spoiled by others.

As a result, the potential value of sorted waste in these containers falls on the part of the companies that process each of the sorted waste types. And such waste will be regularly found in landfills. And landfills are growing incredibly fast.

There is clearly a “deadlock”, the only way out of which can be a fundamentally new solution.

Our solution

Our solution is based on personalization of responsibility, i.e. we want to make it so that later it was possible to unambiguously identify all people who sorted their waste poorly. To help them improve, and to punish someone if necessary.

At the same time, we offer at least for a while to move away from the use of common containers for sorting waste under multi-storey buildings. And go to the individual tanks.

To identify each container with sorted waste, we decided to use stickers with a QR code (you can see them in the photo). Each label has a unique 10-14 digit numeric code.

Using a smartphone or computer, you can quickly “register” each of these stickers on yourself. It is these stickers with the code that will identify each container with waste and its owner.

Possible objections:

  • “Stickers are too expensive”: No, in fact, stickers are a very cheap item (a cheap price).
  • “Why a QR code?”: Because it is the easiest way to read a code for an average modern person.
  • “Many will be too lazy to register a container with waste”: This is a minute, almost a second matter, the main thing here is to start using.
  • “Not everyone has smartphones and computers”: Yes, unfortunately this is true, especially for older people. But gradually more and more people will be owners of electronic devices, and young people will help elders to get involved in the project.

    Each participant of this “system” can sort and donate not all waste, but only a part, for example, only paper or only plastic. So it will be easier for someone to start.

    After one of the containers with waste is ready for delivery, its owner on his smartphone (or computer) will apply for the export of his package or he will take it to the place of reception of sorted waste.

    In the near future, we can “fix” containers for collecting sorted waste not only for specific people, but also for groups of people. In such a case, each member of the group will be responsible for the quality of the waste collected in such a common container. In some cases, these will be the same containers near the entrances of apartment buildings, but lockable and with one other important difference - all residents will be much better aware of their responsibility for the waste in this common container.

    Next, we plan to “personalize responsibility” not only for people who donate their waste, but also for other participants in the chain. It:

  • Carriers are responsible for collecting sorted waste in containers from people and delivering it to the “re-sorting center”.
  • Sorters (working in “re-sorting places”) are responsible for checking accepted waste sorted by other people and re-sorting them into more categories (for example, plastic waste will be decomposed into several different types of plastics).

Responsible for the transport of waste, the Carrier can evaluate (and leave a comment) about the person who gives up their waste (submitted an application, but did not arrive, was late, etc.). And the same person who delivers the waste, can also evaluate the carrier. The waste sorter can assess the quality of sorting, and also leave a review with its own comments.

In addition, both the Carrier and the Sorter may potentially refuse to transport and receive waste from each individual. This is of course an extreme measure and it should be used infrequently, but it is.

    What's next?

  • I suppose that during the “registration” of each new waste container, it will be necessary to make a small payment, which will be the “minimum guarantee” and will be used to pay for transportation and waste sorting services.
  • It is necessary to build a mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of each re-sorting site (center, point). After all, with the right course of business, many types of sorted waste will bring income from the sale to companies involved in their processing. And this money could at least fully pay for the activities of the set of re-sorting centers and carriers in each city (the more they will be - the better for everyone, because this is a competition!).
  • It is necessary to build a verification mechanism so that the sorted waste does not end up in a landfill. Now with many sorted types of waste happens exactly like this. Our “system” will allow you to track the completion of the path of sorted waste (where it will end up).