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Project Overview

StartUp is a week long competition hosted at SCAD where multidisciplinary teams are given a theme on day one, and must pitch a business idea related to the theme on day 7. The theme for StartUp 2020 was "Giving a Voice" in which we chose to give a voice to the environemnt by desinging a more efficient recycling sys 
Project Duration

February 2020
1 Week
Course

SCAD StartUp
Design Sprint
Dream Team

Seth Stomberger
Anna McGregor
Gracie Nguyen
Caden Reese
My Role

Project Manager
UX Lead
The Problem

The Savannah recycling system is difficult to understand for those trying to utilize the facilities. There are hidden and cloudy fees, inconsistent pickups, and even total absence of accessibility in some areas. This leads our citizens to reduce, or avoid recycling all together.

Our Solution

Curb Cycle is a subscription based service that is designed to pick up your recyclables. On one side, we have the drivers who would earn pay based on bags picked up, and we have the users who would pay per bag of recycable materials.  

1

Research and Interviews

Trying to redesign a system that is already in use across the country is difficult. First, we needed to find out the facts about recycling in general, and then ask the public about their opinions. After secondary research, interviewing 20 Savannah residents, and conducting a survey of 215 people, these were our insights.
Trying to redesign a system that is already in use across the country is difficult. First, we needed to find out the facts about recycling in general, and then ask the public about their opinions. After secondary research, interviewing 20 Savannah residents, and conducting a survey of 215 people, these were our insights.
Trying to redesign a system that is already in use across the country is difficult. First, we needed to find out the facts about recycling in general, and then ask the public about their opinions. After secondary research, interviewing 20 Savannah residents, and conducting a survey of 215 people, these were our insights.

75%

57%

92%

of Savannah residents
do not recycle.
of Savannah residents believe there is no recycling system in place.
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Recycling is only picked up every other week, and sometimes only once a month.

Additional fees apply if...

  • Your recycling bin overflows

  • You leave your bin on the curb too long

  • You put your bin on the curb too early

of combined residents and survey responses said they would try CurbCycle for its convenience.

Pick up times didn't align with Savannah residents' schedules, so they were either paying for a system they didn't use or being charged because the timing was inconvenient. 

2

Design Stage

We agreed that CurbCycle as a standalone app would bring change to the city of Savannah, but we also knew that CurbCycle has the potential to reach an even larger audience. As we began designing the interface, we decided to include local non-profits with a physical product.

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CurbCycle

 

Curb Cycle is an Uber-like service, however instead of picking up people, it is designed to pick up your recyclables. If you are subscribed to our service for only $1 a week, the pickup price per bag is $8. If you chose not to purchase a subscription, each pickup is $12 a bag.

Faster than you can say 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • Request a pickup on the app.

  • Walk through the proper recycling guidelines.

  • State your bag’s location and style. 

  • Place your pickup!

You Know what else is green?

Cash.

 

The driver will earn 25% of all the bags they choose to pick up. After being verified as a driver, a list of recycle requests in your area will be shown on your map. Confirm the bags you can pick up, then follow the given directions to their location. After collecting the recyclables, a new set of directions will be given to the most convenient drop off center.

Giving Back to Our Community

We wanted to make recycling a statement and a conversation starter, so we designed reusable recycling bags made out of eco-friendly materials. The outer layer is made out of a durable 100% pure cotton duck cloth, with a waterproof polyethylene liner. Each bag comes in two sizes to accommodate all your recycling needs. Small is $20 and Large is $30.

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For each unique pattern, we collaborate with a local non profit. For example, our first print available will be a collaboration with Tybee Island Marine Science Center featuring a custom octopus print.

For each bag you purchase, 20% of the cost goes directly to the cause, and as an extra incentive, you will receive 20% off all future recycling pickups.

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3

Product Test and Business Model

Through our interview process, word got out about our new recycling system and our first customer reached out and asked us to pick up their recycling. We decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to give our system a test run. 

We received the customer's address and they provided the location of their recycling. We brought along our reusable bag to empty their bin. We then drove to the nearest recycling bin and confirmed that the recycling was complete!

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How do customers get their bag back?

Does this system waste more gas?

What if no one can pick up my recycling?

I have a lot of recycling, how will this save me money?

Curb Cycle can be used as an add on system to your weekly or biweekly pickup schedule. If your normal recycling bin is full, you can request a pickup from Curb Cycle so you are not charge for overflow. On the other hand, if you do not have a lot of recycling, you only need to pay for the $1 subscription and requested pickups instead of up to $100 per month.

When drivers sign up, they agree to have a way to collect and store recyclables in their car. This may be a refillable box or bag. The driver will empty your recyclables into their box/bag, and leave your empty recyclable bag in its original location. You also have the option to request that your container be recycled as well  (paper bag, cardboard box, etc.)

We constructed the driver profile to be treated as a side job. For example, if the driver is coming home from work, they can upload their route home and see if there are any recyclables to pick up along the way. Therefore, the driver does not have to drive out of the way .

When a customer requests a pickup, they are notified of the surrounding drivers and an estimated pickup time. In a first come, first serve manor, the customer is immediately notified when a driver is in the area, and can accept or decline their pickup offer. 

Our business model follows an On Demand service model.  Revenue is sourced in three parts.

 

One through the subscription service on the app. The customer pays $1 a week to be a part of the service. Long term that is $52 per year instead of $32, $55, or $100 plus  per month in which public and private recycling systems charge. 

The second is sourced from a portion of bag sales and the cost of marketing in partnership with Environmental Organizations. Each bag costs about $5 to make from hand.

The third source is pick up fees. In the future, we would plan to create a  partnership with recycling centers where we are reimbursed for the sales they make from selling recyclable materials.

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What did I learn?

Each member of a team brings a unique gift to the table. Our team consisted of UX designers, as well as students majoring in fashion management and advertising. Going into the competition, we did not set expectations for ourselves because "we are only freshmen." The StartUp competition was a great opportunity to smash the preconceived idea that freshmen can't compete in rigorous challenges Bec cause we don't have the experience. I realized that the best way o gain experience is by throwing myself into new environments and adjusting along the way. We all played to our strengths and came together as a team to create a project that inspired both our communities and ourselves.

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Fun Fact

During Kickoff, I turned to one of my team members and said "when I am a junior, I'm going to be up on the stage directing the competition. Flash forward one year to my sophomore year, and I was doing just that (only virtually!) Check out my experience as StartUp 2021 Co-Director here.