Zero Waste Community App

This app helps the residents of Vancouver change their consumption and recycling habits to support the city's vision of becoming a zero waste community in the next 20 years.

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The City of Vancouver has a vision of becoming a “Zero Waste” community in the next 20 years. There are strategic plans in place, but a genuine desire to be zero waste is different from changing the daily habits required to live a zero waste lifestyle.

Key Research Insights

  • Being “zero waste” can seem like an exclusive persona.
    Many people may think it requires a lot of lifestyle changes. 

  • Community building is important.
    Facebook “Buy Nothing” groups, Zero Waste groups, etc.

  • Vancouver has a few successful initiatives that already exist.
    Tool lending libraries, Zero Waste Drop-off Events.

Problem Solving Question

How might we make recycling convenient and engaging in Vancouver to promote waste reduction?

User Persona

  • 23, Middle-class income, fresh graduate.
  • Rents an apartment alone in South Vancouver.
  • Shops at: Uniqlo, Sephora, Superstore, Save On Foods


  • To be more environmentally conscious.
    • She tries her best to recycle and use reusable goods but she feels like she could be doing more.
    • After moving out, she’s had trouble figuring out her apartment recycling system.

  • To be more involved within her community.
    • Having just moved to South Van, she would like to make more connections in her neighbourhood.
    • She loves group activities and events. It encourages her to go out and try new things.

Key Goals


Get people familiar with the Zero Waste initiative.


Make it something easy to adopt - what are people already using?


Expand the Zero Waste community. Make it accessible and open.

Existing VanCollect App

Why a revamp?

  • VanCollect is already an app in people’s lives.

  • The UX/UI could be significantly improved for such a useful app!

  • VanCollect can become the central hub for all waste and recycling in Vancouver.

Sketches + Wireframes

Site Map

Low-Fi Wireframes

Mid-Fi Wireframes

Logo Design

The new logo I created is a section of the original recycling symbol on it’s side, creating a ‘V’ shape for VanCollect. The upwards motion signifies the importance of recycling; taking an otherwise wasted or littered object and turning it into something new.

Style Tile


Features the beautiful scenery we are surrounded by in BC. Having these images featured throughout the app also reminds us that we have to take care of our home so that we can continue to enjoy these places.

To tie into the existing design ecosystem that Vancouver has, I used Gotham, the official font of the City of Vancouver.

The gradient is inspired by the blue and green present in the City of Vancouver logo. It also represents the compost and recycling theme colours.

Final App Design


When is my collection day?

The user’s next collection day is easily visible on the app’s dashboard. The three bin tabs indicate which bins are being collected that day. Clicking on one of these tabs shows further information on what is commonly accepted in the corresponding bin.


What events can I join?

Eco-related events nearby are suggested to the user. They can RSVP to the event or save the event for future viewing. Including this events tab encourages users to engage more within their community and introduces them to new initiatives.


How do I recycle this?

If users are unsure of how to dispose or recycle an item, they can easily search by text or by taking a picture of the object. The app tells them which bin it belongs in as well as other alternative locations it can be recycled at.


How do I share amongst my neighbours?

‘Buy Nothing’ and ‘Bunz’ groups are becoming increasingly popular on Facebook. They allow locals to gift or trade items to promote the reusage of items, rather than purchasing new ones.

Collection Day Notifications

The app will send you a notification when collection day is coming up so that you don’t have to open the app to check.

Positive Outcomes

What value does this solution bring?

  • It revamps a successful app that already exists, and turns it into something more positive and engaging.

  • It injects that community aspect that is so important in sparking conversation and action amongst people.

  • It’s a tool that will take the confusion out of recycling and can be optionally used as a stepping stone into the Zero Waste community.

How will engagement be generated?

For the older demographic:

Small flyers can be included in the recycling schedule pamphlets Vancouver mails to residents, explaning the features of this app. They can also be displayed in Vancouver community centres above the waste disposal bins.

For the younger demographic:

Social media posts in Zero Waste groups and potentially Instagram advertisements.

How will it evolve?

  • Eventually become focused on more than just recycling and expand into other branches of Zero Waste.

  • Collaboration with local low impact shops and organizations.

  • It will grow with the Vancouver recycling program. As Vancouver releases new programs and initiatives, the app will evolve with it and provide the most up-to-date information for users.

Experience the app through this Invision link:

VanCollect App Invision Prototype