UWTSD Computing student is finalist in UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards 2021


09.07.2021

UWTSD Computing (Software Engineering) student Daniel Algie has been shortlisted as a UK and Ireland Green Gown finalist in the Research with Impact -Student category – for a project he undertook to help students recycle and limit the amount of unnecessary waste going to landfill.

UWTSD Computing (Software Engineering) student Daniel Algie has been shortlisted as a UK and Ireland Green Gown finalist in the Research with Impact -Student category – for a project he undertook to help students recycle and limit the amount of unnecessary waste going to landfill.

Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards, administered by EAUC, recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. With sustainability moving up the agenda, the Awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector.

Daniel’s project was devised after he noticed that some students appeared unsure as to which bin to place recyclable waste into.

He said: “I recognised that their "best guess" scenario unfortunately resulted in accidental contamination of individual waste streams.

“My project aimed to provide a scanner on a waste bin, allowing students to scan a product's barcode which returned relevant information to an interface screen above the bin, thus informing the user which section of the bin to use.”

Daniel’s project involved attaching a barcode scanner to a Raspberry Pi. This was linked to a web-based platform which interfaced with both the hardware and a public Application Programming Interface (API) to retrieve product details.

“When I used this in conjunction with a local (Swansea) recycling database application, I was able to accurately obtain and show on screen information about the correct recycling bin for products,” added Daniel.

Despite the challenges of COVID restrictions, Daniel successfully created and tested a working prototype within the limitations of lockdown and social distancing regulations.

“I know that students want to recycle but their understanding of what is recyclable and what is not can sometimes be confused - with so many plastics and other materials that companies use for packaging and it is not easy to understand which bin they should go into,” he said.

“The concept of this application is a smart bin where the user scans a product's barcode, and the application returns information about that product, and, if the product is recyclable, how to recycle the product, clearly stating into which bin to dispose of the waste.”

Daniel was supported by the University’s School of Applied Computing, to develop the project.

“The Learning Support team at UWTSD also worked closely with me and were involved in the initial stages,” he said.

“It was the intention to have the prototype of the application installed in the Learning Support area at UWTSD in the first instance. This area holds about 25 staff and around 100 students would have been able to use the application: I intended to get feedback about the application from these users. But due to Covid this wasn’t achieved this academic year, but it will be implemented in the future. However, the application was successfully tested with friends and family.”

Daniel added: “So many applications and technology are used now to make our lives easier with the main goal of making a lot of money for a company. Not all companies have this plan, but most do. This application was created solely for the purpose to improve recycling rates and to help improve the environment.”

UWTSD Senior Lecturer Gaynor Thomas said : “I am delighted that Dan has been shortlisted for this award. He has worked very hard on the software behind his recycling system, despite the challenges of lockdown and being off-campus. It is a great idea that will help to improve recycling rates on campus. Congratulations Dan!"

Professor Ian Walsh, Swansea Provost and Head of INSPIRE commented: “Daniel has demonstrated the kind of innovative and sustainable thinking that is vital if all members of society are to be empowered to make informed decisions about recycling and to improve the quality of waste materials in the supply chain.”

Reflecting on this year's submissions, Iain Patton, CEO, EAUC said: “It is clear from the number and quality of applications, that sustainability and the now irreversible sustainability movement is not only resilient but profoundly energised, opportunistic and dynamic!  UK and Irish universities and colleges have turned Covid 19 challenges into opportunities and ensured that every change is a change for sustainability.

“A reset of our economic and social foundations is happening, and the Green Gown Awards are all the more important to inspire and scale change for sustainability. Congratulations to all our Finalists.”

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

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Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

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Corporate Communications and PR

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Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk