Effects of an Informational Waste Management App on a User’s Waste Disposal Habits

(1) Tesla Stem High School, Redmond, Washington, (2) University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, (3) Amazon.com, Inc, Seattle, Washington

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For several decades, the issue of mismanaged waste has been of paramount importance. While 75% of waste in the United States is stated to be recyclable, only about 34% truly is. Furthermore, one in four pieces of waste is recycled incorrectly, leading to inefficient, expensive, and environmentally detrimental impacts. The foundations of this problem lie in the lack of environmental awareness and personal knowledge about waste disposal. This project takes a stance to combat the pillars of mismanaged waste through a modern means of convenience: the TracedWaste app. The purpose of this study was to identify how individuals' waste disposal habits improved and knowledge increased (i.e. correctly disposing of waste, understanding negative incorrect waste disposal) due to their use of an informational waste management app as measured by a survey using a 1-5 Likert Scale. We surveyed 104 participants using 27 questions regarding the effectiveness and specifications of the app. A chisquared test of independence was performed for the survey data, revealing a significant relationship between TracedWaste app usage and improved waste disposal habits, (X² = 477.75, p < .001). Ultimately, this indicates that the data is statistically significant, with a confidence level of over 99%, demonstrating that the app created a positive difference in individuals' everyday lives. Therefore, the results supported our hypothesis: the TracedWaste app helped conserve abundant resources such as energy and wood, decrease carbon emissions, and minimize financial toll all through reducing individual impact.

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