Plastic Pollution Challenge
The rapid expansion of the tourism business and rampant use of single-use plastics products are key factors contributing to the approximated 300 thousand tons of undisposed plastic waste in Koh Samui. But above all, the root of the problem is the lack of widespread awareness about waste separation and management across the island.
A self-starting waste management app that helps users, especially in groups, to customise their solid waste management according to individual or collective needs. It uses stimulating features, like gamification, and incentive programs to educate and encourage people to create and follow through on their waste-related initiatives.
The app not only serves as a tool for collecting data on waste management but also focuses on using behavior-stimulus features and integrated incentive programs to emphasize users’ “beneficial experience” from self-managing their waste, individually or collectively.
Users can also learn about waste management by taking interesting online lessons or playing fun games. Furthermore, by taking a snapshot of solid waste, the app will automatically analyze items before guiding users through the segregation and sending off of their waste to collection units nearby.
The data collected from the app will be used to improve services and to inform other waste management solutions.
2 Primary SDGs
Goal 13 – Climate Change and Goal 14 – Life Under Water:
By relying less from the existing solutions which are detrimental to the climate and ocean life and diverting to our innovative solutions, habitants in Samui Island and in its surrounding areas can make positive changes in the environment while benefiting from the experience.
2 Secondary SDGs
Goal 4 – Quality Education:
In developing this app, we also develop an educational tool aimed for use in schools to raise students’ awareness and encourage real actions, with a potential to be developed into the curriculum, both in a classroom setting or online.
Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production:
The app focuses on the relationship between the origin of waste and package or consumer goods. Understanding how citizens consume will shine light on appropriate waste solutions. What’s more, gamification and incentive programs will educate and encourage the users to become responsible consumers.
Currently, we focus on serving 22 schools first in Koh Samui first, by licensing our educational contents, producing extracurricular programs for their pupils. Ideally, students find interest in our app and will encourage their friends and family to use it as well. The ultimate goal is to build a large and robust community, so we can reach out to big corporates via their CSR programs, to apply for sponsorship in exchange for promotion of their image in our app.
To build the product ecosystem in which the product can be developed and the customer base can thrive, our app needs to go through 3 development stages, Stage 1, launch an MVP to test our data collecting modules of apps in 22 schools across the island. Stage 2, a full-fledge app with gamification integrated tested under B2B agreement (90 convenience stores in Koh Samui whose staff can use our service to manage the store’s waste). Final stage, the app is available in app stores targeting the circles of small to medium sized waste-related businesses in need of waste feed in their production pipeline or environmentalist circles with waste-related initiatives to follow through individually or in groups (e.g. trash-picking group).
Traction and Key Metrics
Currently this initiative is still at the very primary idea stage. However, we have planned various stages for the plan of action towards having the final full-fledge app. We have approached 22 schools on the island first and are currently in talk with one of the region’s largest retail businesses and owner of the biggest convenience store chain for the scale-up potential. Furthermore, we are also in talk with another potential partner who wants to get involved in developing a first interactive self-starting solid waste management curriculum.
In the next 2 years after the launch of this program, we plan to be the leading waste management solution in Koh Samui through providing specialised knowledge and service in waste management. Our innovative educational content will be the must-have program in every middle and high school on the island with potential to scale up and beyond the island itself. In the 5 year time, in providing a full-fledge and improved version of the app, we aim to thrive on the main target groups of customers: Small to medium sized or even large businesses in need of innovative waste management service or CSR waste projects. We also plan to introduce an eco-product marketplace to the app.
We have set a starting capital goal of around 1,000,000 Baht (about USD 33,000), which will be used to produce the app to be launched this year. It will also help support our operation during development. However, for this we will seek out financial support from partnerships that we will have established in each stage.