The Master Builders of Waukee, a middle school robotics team, wants to change the way Waukee residents and the greater Des Moines area deals with garbage.
The seven teammates (four boys and three girls) regularly compete in First Lego League challenges, where teammates practice teamwork, problem-solving, research real-world problems, and practice coming up with solutions and presenting them in front of an audience.
As part of a recent competition, the team came up with an idea for a mobile app called Trash Companion. They designed the app based on feedback from two trash-handling companies and one nonprofit which focuses on litter, hazardous waste, and community organization. All three companies were thrilled to hear about the possibility of a mobile app which will make their jobs easier.
But it’s not just the organizations who are excited about the idea – the residents of Waukee are excited, too. The Builders interviewed 100 adults in the community, all of whom shared their common questions and frustrations around trash and recycling.
The result is the idea for Trash Companion, a simple app designed to simplify the way you deal with waste.
If the app is built, members of the community can easily access pick up dates, find out what to do with hazardous materials, and learn about fees that may be attached to disposing waste. The app will allow users to set reminders, alerting them to their scheduled trash pickup. Users can find out how to dispose of hazardous waste and any fees that might come with it, as well as how to dispose of old electronics. The app will also allow users to schedule curbside and bulk pickup of items and it will include a community calendar with dates for neighborhood-wide waste disposal events.
The Waukee Master Builders need your help to bring this app to life!
In August, they entered the Verizon Innovative Learning app challenge. They won Best in State in the middle school category, and now they’re in the running for Fan Favorite.
If they win, they’ll get $15,000 and a mentorship with MIT experts to make the Trash Companion app happen.
Developing an app is an expensive and timely endeavor, and the Builders could really use your help.
You can contribute by texting the code “ITC” to the following number: 22333. The competition closes on February 14 – time for voting is drawing down.
These kids are doing something that we all wish happened more often in our schools: They are tackling real-world problems and implementing real-world solutions. All it takes is 10 seconds to support them today!