U.S. company Earth911 has won the inaugural Recycling Innovators Forum competition for its unique barcode-scanning technology for recycling products.
The idea beat out nearly 50 other proposals initially submitted to the competition, which ended on August 26, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky.
The barcode technology allows consumers to scan recyclable products with a smartphone. The scan would take users to landing pages that lay out all the specifics of recycling the product in the user’s home area.
“Recycling is still communicated to consumers in much the same way it was in the 1970s,” states Earth911’s submission to the judges. “Magnets, leaflets and brochures may have worked then. They are obsolete now. It’s time to bring the recycling industry into the 21st century.”
Earth911 has built product-specific scanning technology for any product with a 2D barcode (UPC) or QR code deliverable on multiple formats including iOS and Android mobile platforms, the company says.
“The innovation enables a consumer to receive local geo-coded product specific recycling and disposal information for anything with a barcode, whether that product is as common as a #1 Plastic Beverage Bottle or as uncommon as Hydraulic Fluid,” states Earth 911. “The technology removes the need for consumers to speak the complex language of recycling and is a perfect application of a social-local-mobile (SoLoMo) real-time solution to a widespread national problem.”
Through its win, Earth911, Inc. received a $20,000 honorarium to further develop the barcode technology.
1st place: Recycle Scanning Barcode/QR Technology, Earth 911
2nd place: Utilization of Recycled Plastics (PE and PP) in Industrial Waxes, GreenMantra Technologies
3rd place: The pointGUARD Pallet Protector, United Pallet Services