So Recycling a UX project

We have a trash problem in Denver.


So Recycling

Denver only recycles 18% of it's trash. 1/2 of the national average.*

What we think is happening...

Cap Hill residents need more incentives and a effective way of informing themselves, acquiring recycling services, and getting involved in their recycling community. Because they are confused by an array of myths, varying regulations, and lack of services experienced in the past. 

What we want to do to fix it...

We believe that by closing those information gaps, providing a quick way of taking action and creating incentives and rewards. Capitol Hill’s recycling rate will match the national average.  

Competitive Analysis



- Gives you a solution to recycling most materials if you are willing to do the hard work.

- Good recycling info.

Denver T&R

- Local to the city.

- Creates responsibility.

- Good recycling info.

Recycle Nation

- Gives you a solution to recycling most materials if you are willing to do the hard work.

- Creates personal responsibility.

- Good recycling info.


- Creates personal responsibility. 

- Shame effect since your results are socially shared.

- Offers physical solutions.


- Limited info.

- Doesn't address local issues.

- No incentives.

You cant access info if you don’t reside in a place with city recycling service.

- Can't request access to service.

- Limited incentive.

- Little course to action.

- Doesn't address local issues.

- Not made for recycling.

"No one app combines incentives, information and a course to physical action."

Interviews Affinity Mapping

Persona Creation 


Education on what is recycled.


Education on how the recycling process happens.


Needs active encouragement on recycling efforts


Needs some IMMEDIATE gratification.


29 years old


Business and Computer Science

Social guy. Frequently gathers at his apt with friends. (PREGAME!)

Very intentional with his time. He’s busy.

Effectiveness is his game.

He pretends that he recycles more than he does.

He knows he’ll get judged if people know the truth.

GF doesn't live with him but judges his recycling habits.

Lived in Capitol Hill for 3 years. 


Feel confident about his recycling process.


Think that he is not getting screwed by the recycling sysytem.


Think that his efforts are being matched by his neighbors.


Doesn’t know what info is true.


Doesn’t know what info is pertinent to his area.


Hates how his efforts are not enough if the collective doesn’t change as well.


Frustrated by lack of communication.


Feels judged when people catch him not recycling.

A realization...

To properly incentivize people, use Social Validation & Reinforce your users.

Bad Ideation

Having a direction and a concept to follow (social validation & reinforcement), some fun has had. A quick brainstorming session focused on the WORST solutions was done... Best "worst ideas" are below.

Community Intervention

Recycling Report Card

Digital Shame Wall

Paid to Recycle

Recycling Police

The marriage of these ideas lead us to a "happy path", based on self monitoring and validation.

Happy Path

Feature Prioritization


- How to recycle and Tips and Tricks features are low-hanging fruit.

- Search function always scores highly.

- Ratings and quick stats would be the most impactful and feasible.

- Map View is both highly desirable and would have the highest impact.

Paper Prototyping

Lo-Fi Prototyping

Hi-Fi Prototyping

Final Prototype