Guest post from UW student Kartik Arora
Trash-It is an app to that uses machine learning to classify if an item goes in the compost, recycle, or landfill. Much of the trash humans currently produce is being thrown into landfills, including many items that could be recyclable or compostable. One way we can cut down on waste in our region is to make sure we properly sort our trash. When people aren't sure which trash can their waste goes into, they often choose the safest option which is landfill. This is the issue my app was made to tackle.
Being an international freshman at UW, I was extremely confused as to which bin my waste should go. This was the first time I had to make this decision, as in my home country of India, this system is not followed much. I thought that I would observe others make this decision and learn from them, but later I realized that most people were themselves unsure of where to throw their trash.
This is where the idea for an app sprouted in my mind. However, I didn't have the proper skills to make something, and my early attempts to create this app failed.
At the end of the year, when I had learnt enough to make this app, I worked day and night in the Odegaard Library, making the app better and better, until it was ready for production. I was motivated by my peers and mentors, who apart from giving me invaluable advice, supported me throughout the process.
Kartik Arora is studying pre-engineering and is hoping to go into Computer Science.