Reconnai Co., Ltd. started as a project under Suzume K.K. and eventually spun off from it as a separate startup. Having noticed more and more climate change and pollution related catastrophes in the last few years, we felt that we had to do something and couldn’t just stay still any longer. Even though we were new to the subject, we thought that everyone could (and should!) contribute towards a cleaner planet in their own way, so we set out to see how we can help by using our own skills and expertise. A long journey of talking to experts in the field ensued as we sought a way to make good use of our engineering background, until we found out about the plastic incineration problem.
We were baffled to find out that most plastics that are collected for recycling, actually end up being burned or sent to landfill! When diving deeper into the problem we found that an underlying problem is that our waste streams are too contaminated, so that recyclables are hard to pick out from non-recyclables, so they end up being burned together or sent to landfill. Burning releases harmful toxins into the atmosphere and landfill allows plastics to easily enter our oceans because they are lightweight materials that are easily blown away.
So that made us think, surely there must be a better way of doing things? Why are recyclables and non-recyclables mixed up? Are we not correctly separating at home? And surely, when asking ourselves, we weren’t even sure we were separating correctly ourselves! There are many different rules, and it’s hard to verify whether you are following them correctly. That’s when we thought, wouldn’t it be great if there’s an app that tells you how to separate your waste correctly, and tells you how well you did, and even rewards you for doing well? We proceeded developing this project and participated in the WDCD: No Waste Challenge to obtain feedback from the jury, which consisted of experts from all over the world. Although we didn’t win, we were nominated as one of 85 out of 1409 to move on to the final round, which was an indication to us that we were trying to tackle a relevant and identifiable problem. Today, we continue developing and improving our solution to improve the way we handle waste at home.