Trash4Goods, a project developed by Técnico students that aims to protect the environment and reward people for recycling properly, won the e-Waste Open Innovation competition. The team ranked 1st and won a prize of 15 thousand euros. The prize also gives access to a 3-month incubation period at Startup Lisboa, and to partner with ERP Portugal and LG Portugal during the project development.
“The team is very satisfied with the result”, says the project manager João Trindade. “We have learned a lot. Our participation involved a lot of work from the whole team so that we could develop our ideas to their fullest and achieve the best possible result in the competition”, adds the Técnico student.
Startups and entrepreneurs applied for the first phase of the competition. After a selection, 5 finalist projects were selected and moved to the mentoring and monitoring phase. The final competition took place on 10th February, in digital format. “Fortunately we got the first place, which makes us very proud, taking into consideration the high level of the other projects”, highlights João Trindade.
According to the Técnico student, their project stood out because “we presented a ready to implement solution that responds very directly to the main problems raised by ERP. One of the most urgent problems is the low recycling rate among younger generations”. “Trash4Goods also has the advantage that it can be implemented in a wide variety of locations and to be very aligned with the current ERP operation”, adds the project manager.
Trash4Goods was created in January 2020, at JUNITEC – Junior Enterprises at Instituto Superior Técnico, and the first pilot test started in October 2020. For this competition, the project adapted to the objectives proposed and the team did its best to rank among the winners. “The main goal was to win, but we knew that by participating in this competition, we would have the opportunity to closely work with experts and that their feedback and suggestions would be very important for our project”, highlights João Trindade.
The Técnico students developed a simple solution that includes a portable module and an application. The application uses the smartphone’s antennas and sensors to, for example, determine the location of the device and, of course, associate the actions with the user. A small box with sensors that also takes into account the weight, the location and, for example, the user’s movement is placed inside the smart bin. A combination of collected data allows to know, among other things, who deposited equipment for recycling inside the bin. Using gamification, the project aims to raise awareness and encourage people to take a more active role in recycling, thus making the recycling experience more motivating and rewarding for the user through challenges and rewards.
“I am sure that the 3-month incubation period will allow our project to grow and reach the dimension that we have always envisioned”, says the project manager.
“We intend to organise a series of collections, through our platform, in universities, in order to make young people aware of the reality of e-waste in Portugal”, says the Técnico student, who also shares that 4 higher education institutions in the Lisbon area, including Instituto Superior Técnico, have already agreed to join the project.
In a long-term perspective, the Técnico students want to make Trash4Goods accessible to as many people as possible. “To this end, we will focus our attention on the country’s major urban centers, aiming to operate in retail centers and ERP collection points”, says the project manager. “We are also considering the possibility of including Trash4Goods in the Geração Depositrão, which aims to educate children and young people of our country for recycling through activities that take place in Portuguese schools”, says João Trindade.