Food waste! The next steps with the competitive trash can (Karina M.)

As Scarlet begins to piece together our device, the purpose of this device must be addressed more further in depth. According the Environmental Protection Agency,  in 2012, Americans generate approximately 251 millions tons of trash, and 35 million of that trash is food. Even though this amount was from two years ago, it is a large significant number that provides insight into the amount of waste that American produce. Additionally, 30% to 40% of food is being thrown away such is equivalent to 20 pound of food per person per month. If thrown away food were given to someone in need, then the issue of hunger (one out of seven American families is in hunger) in the United States would not exist, or there would be a smaller number of people in need of food. According to the UNEP, in the United States, organic food is the second highest component of landfills. Not only is the amount of food that is being thrown away concerning, it is also the amount of money that is cost the US economy: $165 billion.

The amount of waste produced from 1960 to 2012

Many people believe that their food waste impact is so small that it doesn’t matter, and they blame others like restaurant and super markets for not for taking responsibility for their food wasting. However, 40% to 50% of food waste come from consumers and 50% to 60% of food waste comes from business. By seeing these numbers, the food industry does play a significant factor as well as the consumer in contributing in the amount of food waste. There needs to be a way for people to get of the cloud that is blinding them from the fact of their food waste impact.

In creating this device, this will first allow individuals to look at amount of waste that they are producing for a day and create a plan that decreases that amount and the money that is being thrown away as well. Secondly, by comparing the amount of waste that an individual creates to another’s waste, then the sense of competition might cause people to decrease their waste. Finally,  the state of Texas or the Austin City Counsel can create a program that monitors the amount of food waste that is created and has a database that collects that information. There can be an incentive for people that have low food waste.

Last week, each Scarlet member was given the task to come up with a design for the device that would measure the amount of trash that was in the trash can. After each of us came up with our design, every member talked about their design. In our group discussion would talk about the features that we like about each design and the limitations of the designs.

A design created by Brittany H.
A design created by Brittany H.
Karina's and Savannah's design
Right side: Karina M.’s design and left side: Savanah P.’s design
A design created by Rachel Z.
A design created by Rachel Z.

As a team we have decided to combined out designs because we discovered flaws in each of our designs, but liked certain aspects. We want to have our arduino board located in a box near/inside the trash can. We didn’t want it to inconvenience the customer by having them drill holes into the trash can so that it could be connected to it. Our design will have aspects from each design proposed. We’ll be using NeverWet to make sure the board/wires are safe from leaks in the trash can if it were to happen. This was one of the issues that we had discovered while we discussed what we wanted in the final product- materials. We will have to create a new list to compensate for the changes in design. We’re concerned about durability and size as we want to be able to inconvenience the customer as little as possible, we’ll be making this design as thin as possible with the materials we can afford. There will be changes in this design along the way, but for now we have the basics of what we want to see in our product.

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