Go Green-EcoEye

Empower our community with innovative and actionable solutions to environmental challenges through the EcoEye App and Go Green Events

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Website or social media url(s) (optional):

www.we-sense.org

Date You Started Your Project Started

October 1, 2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Waste has serious environmental impacts. It is a top environmental issue but is often neglected due to lack of awareness. Americans are generating more waste when it should have been reduced. Residential recycling is not working well due to poor knowledge and practice. Waste problems get even worse at times of special circumstances such as increased residential waste during the holiday season and current stay-at-home situation due to Covid-19.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Go Green-EcoEye provides a people+technology solution. Our approach is to reach out to people through community-engaging Go Green events, and enhance education and impact with EcoEye technology application. Go Green-EcoEye events are free to participate, making it accessible for the broader community and particularly serving underprivileged students. Go Green events engage the community with themed, educational exhibits and activities. Exhibits include important environmental highlights/facts for raising awareness, as well as visual examples of how recycled materials can be used for both creative and practical applications. Fun quizzes and games would test and enhance knowledge, facilitating learning. Workshops engage the participants to practice recycling and hands on learning. These activities make recycling more attractive. The EcoEye App enlarges such outreach and education efforts. EcoEye app users are able to use it in daily lives to classify recyclables and access more resources concerning recycling.

3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.

With a STEM approach to address the waste problem and improve recycling, we created the innovative EcoEye App. EcoEye is an accessible technology tool. It utilizes the mobile phone camera and AI recognition technology to classify various wastes and their recyclability. EcoEye App incorporates AI-Vision technology from Google’s ML Kit and IBM Watson services. Using these services, we can classify whether a product is recyclable or not. The clean app UI, made with Flutter SDK, also makes the app more engaging to use. One aspiration we have for EcoEye is gamifying it. An example of this would be adding a game leaderboard on the top recyclers. EcoEye has been a proven highlight in our Go Green events. With the growing importance of technology, we are particularly excited about the prospects of the EcoEye app in motivating and improving recycling practices.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

We started the journey on raising environmental awareness 2 years ago. Through service-learning in various community learning projects, such as the e-cycling and Community In Bloom programs, we gained invaluable experiences through interactions with participants at these events. We were often surprised by the participants' lack of knowledge about very simple actions in handling wastes. The positive feedback we received for our works showed how improvements can be achieved with every intentional mindfulness. These experiences made us believe that we can make an impact through community-engaging efforts to spread awareness and improve recycling practices. I would also like to thank my father for sparking curiosity and providing useful resources for us to create EcoEye App. He inspired me to stretch my imagination to become a changemaker through applying technology.

5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

“I am stepping up to be a changemaker because I believe changes can happen here and now through every small choice.” “Small choices make big impacts.” “Connect with people.” “Connect through STEM.” “Connect with EcoEye.” “Together we make big changes.” “Everyday - is a day for changemaking!”

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

Go Green-EcoEye took shape since Go Green-Holiday where we incorporated interactive activities and EcoEye to achieve successful community engagement in response to increased holiday waste problem. With the event+STEM approach, we plan Go Green-EcoEye in different themes and have been building our team, program, partnership and Creativity In Bloom (www.chbloom.org) - a virtual Go Green event through online contest of creative green-STEAM projects, to continue efforts while at home.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

The creative, interactive, innovative and accessible components of Go Green-EcoEye make it stand out, plus FREE to participate. We plan Go Green events in different themes like spring, STEM, holidays, for inspiring participation and timely mindfulness. Our project invites more active engagement with a strong message that everyone is capable of making a positive change everyday. A combination of exhibits, games, hands-on activities (using recycled materials) and EcoEye app enhances the audience experience and engagement with the purpose of our project, and motivates proper recycling.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?

Following Go Green-Holiday project that impacted over 700 participants, the situation changed dramatically due to Covid-19. Despite cancellations of 3 Go Green-spring events, to address the surging residential waste problems during this time, we quickly acted to implement the Creativity In Bloom online contest (and voting) to continue engaging our community in promoting environmental stewardship and green-STEAM projects. Since we launched the program in early May, the site received over 2500 pageviews. As the event will continue through June, we estimate to reach 4000 people through online events, social media and other promotional efforts. Our project received a grant award in March. In April, our Go Green-Holiday Action project won EPA President’s Environmental Youth Award. Building on these support and successes, we are striving to continue “Go Green-EcoEye” and its missions.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We continue to build connections, support and collaborations in executing/expanding our project and enlarging its impacts. The team is planning on hosting Go Green-EcoEye events in future seasons on different themes. We are in discussion with two local organizations to collaborate on our next projects - Go Green-STEM in the fall and Go Green-Holiday in the winter. We hope that Covid-19 threats will end soon, so we can finalize feasible plans for carrying out these proposals.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

We have access to LetServe network where thousands of high school students can be connected for service-learning, an effective way to spread influence. We also influence through friends, teachers, schools and social media. Creativity In Bloom is a creative approach to involve young people through online competition of green projects. Among entries, a student contributed, as a real example, a green STEM project featuring a streamlined composting system built with recycled wastes for daily use.

11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

A shared green vision drives our partnership. We implement projects on an all-volunteer nonprofit platform and connect with other nonprofits, agencies, educators, volunteers that share similar missions. From there, we can pursue more opportunities and network for collaboration with other changemakers. Continuing connections with ongoing events, we further amplify our mission and exchange ideas via social media, potentially partner with changemakers from other areas for bigger virtual events.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

We engaged hundreds of people who had not heard about our projects before, came to the events, and experienced the educational activities and a strong calling for personal responsibilities and actions to make environmentally conscious, positive changes in daily life. We continue our efforts to engage with attractive themes, innovative solutions/demonstrations, interactive and hands on learning, STEAM applications, program support and collaborations, outreach and connections for more resources.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Donations between $1k-$5k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Email

Evaluation results

11 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 63.6%

Probably - 18.2%

Maybe - 18.2%

Probably not - 0%

No - 0%

2. CONNECTION to Environmental Sustainability

5 - Absolutely! It is totally clear that the solution is contributing directly to environmental sustainability and/or addressing climate change - 63.6%

4 — Yes, it establishes a connection to environment/ climate change but could be stronger - 27.3%

3 — Somewhat, the entry speaks to this environmental sustainability, but the direct impact is not well established - 9.1%

2 — Not really, the connection to environment/ climate is very weak - 0%

1 — No. The entry does not have a reference the solution’s impact on environment and/or climate change - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

3. Is this entry CREATIVE?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 54.5%

4 - Yes, I think so - 18.2%

3 - Maybe - 18.2%

2 - Probably not. - 9.1%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Does this entry demonstrate a COMMITMENT to changemaking?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 100%

4 - Yes, I think so - 22.2%

3 - Maybe - 11.1%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Does this entry value CHANGEMAKING through collaboration with other stakeholders in its approach?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 63.6%

4 - Yes, I think so - 36.4%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

6. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 88.9%

4- Yes, I think so - 11.1%

3- Maybe - 0%

2- Probably not - 0%

1- No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: What are the strengths of this project?

CONNECTION: You have a great understanding and personal connection to the problem - 100%

CREATIVITY: You have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions to aid environmental sustainability/combat climate change - 87.5%

COMMITMENT: You have a thoughtful plan for growing your business, and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 75%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: You value thinking around how to activate other changemakers and empower them to care about your cause. You also have a clearly defined plan on how to collaborate across multiple stakeholders - 100%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 75%

VIABLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 87.5%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK: What are some areas for improvement for this project?

CONNECTION: Why you care about the environment/ climate was unclear – It would be great to elaborate on what this solution means to you, personally and how it affects you and/or your community. - 40%

CREATIVITY: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 20%

COMMITMENT: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 0%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming. How will they care about environment/climate if they currently do not? Think about how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 60%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 20%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 100%

Other option - 0%

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Attachments (3)

C9BECC17-4D3F-43BB-9AC2-FE8A0BA55D01.jpeg

Go Green-Holiday Action program flyer

EF7593BD-9F3E-4D15-AAD9-F079FD07495C.jpeg

Creativity In Bloom online contest event flyer

14 comments

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Team

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Team

Our virtual Go Green “Creativity In Bloom” project is going on now at www.chbloom.org. We are so excited to see these amazing entries, their stories and videos/pictures, and are again encouraged by the collective creativity and impact of community participation! Please join our efforts and vote for your favorite STEAM projects (built when stuck at home) at www.chbloom.org. Thank you for your support!

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Photo of Huina Chen
Team

Great work Team WeSense! I visited the Creativity In Bloom submissions and was deeply touched by the passions and thoughts the community put into this online event. I was very delighted to see the wonderful projects online. Imagine how excited I would be if I could see the real exhibits in person! Thanks for providing the platform to raise environmental awareness and spark people's creativity on it! Keep up the good work!

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Team

Thanks so much for your encouragement! We have actually received inquiries about possible arrangements for allowing people to see the real work products. Depending upon the reopen situation, we are trying to work out a feasible plan with local library, mall or a public venue which can be safe and accessible. In the meantime, we continue to engage the community through online events. Building upon the success and connections of Creativity In Bloom, we will soon launch our virtual summer programs. Thank you and we look forward to sharing more projects!

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Photo of Sarah Holcomb
Team

Hey WeSense team! Great work here! You have an amazing track record with hosting events to activate changemakers, and I’m impressed by how quickly you worked to adapt to the Covid-19 reality with the Creativity in Bloom initiative. The app looks promising, and I’m especially excited by the momentum you’re generating among young people in your organization. There’s a lot of collaboration potential among this community of Challenge participants—a great chance to build on the community you’ve already started. Keep up the good work.

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Team

Thank you for the feedback, we truly value your input! We would like to update you on the status of our current event. Starting yesterday (6/1), Creativity In Bloom has moved to its online voting stage that showcases a plethora of creative green project submissions. We noticed a significant increase in new users as well as unique page views as this stage started, this achieves our goal of further engaging the community through online voting. View those amazing entries and stories, and vote at www.chbloom.org.

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Photo of Carson McBain
Team

Hi team, congratulations on your impact thus far! The combination of free, live events and the EcoEye recycling app is a creative combo and seems like you are curating the events to have different themes and keep people coming back, aka cultivating a community following. I'm especially impressed by how quickly you adjusted to the post-Covid reality with virtual events and Creativity in Bloom - we at Ashoka have also been converting to virtual events, and know how much thought & effort goes into planning successful virtual events. A couple of questions - does your app take into account local dos and don't of recycling - I know recycling is notorious for having different rules in different regions - for example in Arlington they stopped accepting glass in the general recycle bins. Recycling is a huge passion of mine and I'm always learning more about it; for example most one-use coffee cups are not recycle because of the thin plastic lining inside. The current recycling system is collapsing now that China has more restrictions on the recycling they will accept (not only China of course but that was the first example that I thought of) so I wonder if you could take the app a step further - in addition to spreading awareness of proper recycling, how can you leverage the app to mobilize people to consider their choices as consumers to demand less packaging? You're doing amazing work and the network of volunteers you've cultivated is a testament to your impact. Best of luck to you!

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Photo of Team WeSense
Team

Thank you for expressing your interest in our submission! Here are our answers to the two questions that you asked:

Does your app account for local recycling rules?

Our current app does not take in current location, but uses a universal model which most places follow. Implementing different regulations based on location can be accomplished. First we would need to access the GPS location (the county and state) of where a photo was taken at. Next we just have to create an algorithm that gets the set of recycling regulations for the specific county or state where the photo is taken. Since the most regulations are explicitly defined on county/state website, this can be accomplished through the implementation of natural language AI which helps machines understand the recycling regulations expressed on the website.


How can you leverage the app to mobilize people to consider their choices as consumers to demand less packaging?

Leveraging our app to promote choices of consumers to demand less packaging is a phenomenal suggestion! We would be able to implement this through an additional classifier of ‘is package’ or ‘is not package’. If an object ‘is package’, the app will keep a tally and then alert the user at the end of the month how many packages were used.
Through a scoring system, more people will become cognizant of the considerable amount of packages they consume and would hopefully advocate for less packaging.

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Team

We would also like to add that we have recently partnered with Orange County Recycling (local recycling agency) that provides most updated recycling resources for our local community to make it easy for local residents to “Recycle Right,”. With a collaborative outreach, we also provide a webpage about how to “Recycle Right.” While physical Go Green events are still pending due to the reopen situation, our virtual events have proven to be an effective channel to reach out to the broader community, with over 7,500 page views in less than a month. In the future, we look forward to enhancing the community engagement with a combination of both virtual and physical events to carry out our environmental mission!

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Photo of Team WeSense
Team

Our team project - a virtual go green “Creativity In Bloom” online contest is going on at the moment. This event promotes recycling/reuse through competition of creative green STEAM projects. All are welcomed to sign up to compete! To learn more about our project, visit www.chbloom.org. All entries will be published on June 1 for online voting. Thanks!