No Waste Planet !

Banana Split Bandits: Jun Yu, Sunny Lee, Ermian Wei, Adrian Dinh

Problem and Solution Overview

Design Research Goals, Stakeholders, and Participants

Design Research Results and Themes

Another result of our research was that quite a number of participants reported that a big portion of their food waste came from food they had forgotten they had. For instance, they would buy a certain item, then forget about it when they put it away to store. They ended up not being able to use food ingredients before they went bad, either because they were unclear about the expiration date or totally forgot about their existence. Participants wished there could be technology to help them track their food and its freshness and to remind them to use it up before the expiration date.

Finally, we found that according to the survey, 61.1% of participants were willing to put in some work to reduce their household food waste. A smaller number of participants, 13.5%, were willing to pay some money for others to address the problem. On the other hand, we also noticed that time was the most significant barrier for participants in preventing food waste. Most people were aware of the shortcomings of food wasting and in favor of stopping. However, they lack time set aside for dealing with the food they have, which makes them unable to cook as planned and the food waste inevitable. As a result, we realized that an appropriate design that is intuitive and could help users keep on top of expiration dates is critical in this case.

As we explored options for the design of our product, themes of convenience, accessibility, and safety emerged. Our target audience for our product was people who lived alone or cooked for themselves. The bulk of our research group was made up of young adults who were in college or starting out in a job, and therefore renting a living space. Thus, affordability or accessibility in this case was crucial to reaching our audience. We knew that our design would have to make sense for people who were in a temporary living space to consider. Additionally, it would have to be convenient, as most of these people had very busy schedules and noted that time was one of the biggest barriers to eliminating food waste. When we dove deeper into the actual logistics of our design safety was also a crucial point to consider. One of the ideas to reduce food waste was to exchange excess ingredients with another person or organization. In order to do this, a safety aspect for users had to be considered.

Proposed Design

First, users are asked to input their food items and their expiration dates, which can be done manually or automatically by scanning receipts and the expiration dates printed on the product. Preservation tips are suggested as well, helping users to keep foods for as long as possible.

Then, about five to seven days before a recorded food item expires, the app will send a mobile device notification. If they do not already have a clear plan to use up this food item, tapping the notification will present two options to the user:

  1. Recipe ideas, taking into account user preferences and available ingredients
  2. App users in the area willing to take your food, including registered nonprofit organizations and ordinary users

Donation recipients will be suggested to the user based on their profiles, which includes the foods they’re looking for and the distance they’re willing to travel to pick up the user’s food. The user can accept one of the recipients if they approve of their profile’s reputation and trustworthiness, features that we intend to address safety concerns that the user might have.

Our leftovers app has been shaped by all our research participants’ constructive feedback and thoughts. From here on, we hope that we can continue to collaborate with our users to make a food-waste-free future.

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CSE 440 Staff

University of Washington Computer Science, Intro to Human Computer Interaction