Author: Alberto Vidal Rodríguez
The way to collaborate in this recycling project based on mobile technology and green incentives is very simple. Just follow the steps below:
- Sign up: The first step is to sign up for an account at Reciclos. This can be done from the mobile phone or from the computer on the Reciclos website: https://www.reciclos.com/es/
- Scan the barcode: With your mobile or computer camera, scan from your Reciclos account the barcode of those cans or plastic bottles of drinks that you want to recycle. These will be added to your virtual cube in the section of the web app Your cube.
- Take your containers to an authorized yellow container: Once you have scanned the barcode of the containers, you can go to the nearest authorized yellow container in your municipality to deposit them. In the web app you can check where the nearest yellow container is. Once in the container, get your RECICLOS points by scanning the QR code on the yellow container with your mobile phone and insert the containers you want to recycle in the container.
In the Reciclos web application we find 5 different sections. Each section can be accessed by clicking on the corresponding button at the bottom of the screen.
• Home: On this home screen we can check the RECICLOS points that we have available, those that we have donated to active projects and check what participations we have pending.
In addition, information regarding the Reciclos recycling system can be consulted through the emerging stories that will appear if we click on the circular icons or through the news carousel at the bottom of the screen.
• Recycle: This section shows the instructions to be followed to recycle plastic cans and bottles.
By clicking on Closest Containers you can access the map showing all the yellow containers present in the different municipalities where Reciclos has been implemented in Spain.
Moreover, Your cube can be accessed. This section shows the containers that have already been correctly scanned from the application and that are ready to be taken to the yellow container.
Finally, in this section appears the option to invite other people to get to know Reciclos and to join this initiative. To do this, just click on the Invite button, which will allow you to send a download link through platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, email, etc. With this option, the user who sends the invitations will be able to earn 20 RECICLOS when the recipients take their first photo up to a maximum of 200.
- Scan: By clicking on the central button at the bottom of the application you will access the section in which you can scan the plastic containers that you want to recycle. To do this, the application must be given permission to access the device's camera.
- Exchange: In this section you can redeem the RECICLOS points accumulated by recycling cans and plastic bottles. As mentioned above, these points can be used for two purposes.
- To participate in Sweepstakes in which you can get products, services and experiences related to the environment and sustainability.
- Donate them to collaborative projects for the benefit of the community and the environment.
- Profile: From this section we can consult our data, see our recent activity in Reciclos and consult the prizes we have won.
To check the correct operation of the recycling system proposed by Ecoembes through the Reciclos initiative, a series of functional tests have been carried out.
These tests have been carried out both on the web application for computer and on a Samsung Galaxy J7 device (Android 9.0) with version 184.108.40.20641 and an iPhone SE (IOS 14.3) with version 2.2.6.
The first step to start using Reciclos is to register. This process is very simple and can be done both from the computer and from a mobile device.
The only data that is required is a phone number and an email, in order to verify the account and guarantee a fluidity in the contact and in the communication of the application improvements.
Once a password has been entered, the municipality in which we live and the type of bins we have at home to separate the waste generated at home, a text message will be sent to our mobile phone. By clicking on the link in the message we will be able to verify our account and start using Recycles normally.
It has been found that the operation of the Reciclos web app is simple and does not initially present errors or serious problems.
A fundamental aspect in the technical verification has been to verify that the scanning of the different containers that can be recycled through Reciclos is correct.
In general, this scan has worked without giving any problems in the tests that have been carried out.
When the barcode that is scanned is from a product that can be recycled through Reciclos, that is, from a can or from a plastic beverage bottle, a green circle will appear around it and that container will be added to Your Cube.
However, when trying to scan the barcode of a product that cannot be recycled using Reciclos, this circle appears in red and that product is not added to the user's virtual cube.
The application allows to have an indefinite number of products in the bucket simultaneously, however, only up to a maximum of 10 RECICLOS points can be obtained per week, with the aim that citizens have a responsible consumption.
The other main aspect that the tests have focused on is checking how the Reciclos system works once the containers have been taken to the yellow bucket.
These technical tests have been carried out in various containers in the municipality of Getafe, in the Community of Madrid, a town where the Reciclos system has been implemented since the end of 2020 and in which there are 445 yellow containers technologically adapted to carry out this recycling.
Tests have found the system to work properly. Once the containers to be recycled are taken, just open the application, select the Empty bucket option and scan the QR code on the front of the bucket. RECICLOS points will be added immediately to our account.
A point is obtained for each container that we have in the virtual cube. However, in the containers there is no way to control how many cans or plastic bottles have actually been put in, which makes this point count subject to the honesty of the person who recycles using this web application.
In this section, different criteria have been applied to assess whether the application can be used regardless of the capabilities of the user.
-Cognitive accessibility: The application is generally easy to use. However, having to carry out different sequential steps to complete the recycling process, including moving to a container, can make the system difficult for people in this group.
-Accessibility for people with reduced or no vision: The application does not present a settings section where you can change the theme or the font or contrast options. Since the font size cannot be changed, depending on the screen dimensions of the device being used, the words may be difficult to read. However, with the accessibility functions that different devices usually offer, the screen can be zoomed and / or the font size increased in general, which greatly facilitates use for people with reduced vision.
One aspect that can make use difficult for people with reduced visibility is contrast. The web app presents a format with white letters on a yellow background. If the negative color mode is activated, this format becomes black letters on a blue background. Both cases present a bad contrast between letters and background and it can be difficult to read the texts.
To complete this section, some tests have been carried out with the screen reader systems available on Android and iOS devices. These tests have focused on checking the correct labeling of the icons and buttons that Reciclos has. In the tests carried out it has been found that most of the buttons are well labeled. However, being a web application, the use of the mobile device is very complicated when using screen readers. That is why the use of this application by blind people can be difficult.
-Accessibility for people with hearing difficulties: People with hearing difficulties can use the application without any problem, as there is no content in the form of video or audio.
-Accessibility for people who use a wheelchair: It has been found that the containers enabled (at least in the municipality of Getafe) are very high. This makes it difficult for a person using a wheelchair to insert the containers into the bucket and scan the QR code on the container, located at the top of it.
The Recycling project, based on a Return and Reward System, can be a very interesting measure to encourage citizens to recycle.
Through the possibility of winning prizes, being able to collaborate with social and environmental causes and having their individual work recognized, the citizens of a municipality can be more committed to recycling and, in this way, it increases.
Even so, the system to redeem the RECICLOS points obtained by recycling, both for collaborative projects and for raffles, is not yet fully implemented and it is not yet possible to participate in them.
Reciclos can in turn be a good tool to implement circular economy models in cities through recycling. In addition, it allows the Urban Agendas of these cities to be aligned with various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Currently, this Reciclos system allows recycling only plastic beverage bottles and cans, since they are the most recyclable waste generated in Spanish homes. Looking ahead and if the result of this project were satisfactory, it could be interesting to broaden the spectrum of products that can be recycled in the yellow container or in other containers.
In general terms, it can be said that the Reciclos system works satisfactorily in those places where its operation has been tested.
- In the municipalities where the system has been implemented, there is a large concentration of containers available in which to deposit the waste to be recycled.
- The interface is simple and easy to use.
- It actively encourages recycling, encouraging citizens to recycle.
- Economic and environmental benefits that increased recycling provides.
- Currently this system is only implemented in some municipalities in Spain. This low implementation means that this system cannot yet be used by a large part of the population in Spain.
- It would be interesting to move the format from a web application to a mobile application that could be downloaded from the different application stores. This greatly facilitates accessibility for users, and they generally perform better than web applications.
- Improved accessibility for people with reduced or no vision and for people who use a wheelchair.