Why We Invested In Rubbish

Love Where You Live

Why do people litter? We’re often told about the billions of dollars spent to clean it up, or even how a majority of it ends up in our oceans, impacting wildlife and ultimately, contributing to climate change. Like most things in life, maybe it’s because we’re not fully aware of our actions’ repercussions in our environment or our communities.

Despite many educational campaigns calling for proper disposal of litter, 75% of people admit they have littered in the past five years. While many communities have put forth efforts to clean up, we understand the idea of picking up someone else’s trash sounds like a disgusting and mundane activity. But what if we said it doesn’t have to be? What if we said we could make litter pick up fun?

We first met Rubbish at a networking event (pre-pandemic)where they were working to minimize the litter footprint. As we got to know each other and understand their mission, we also saw their unique position in approaching community cleanup. They are using hardware and technology to gamify litter pickup. Based on specific goals through an app-based process, users can earn rewards simply by cleaning up their communities. You can see how aside from the fun gaming experience, the data collected is extremely valuable and scalable for other applications.

For us, it was easy to support Rubbish’s mission fully. Rubbish’s ultimate goal is to invoke a sense of community empowerment while positively impacting our neighborhoods, and we believe this is needed now more than ever. No matter how big or small, our actions affect our environment’s well-being, and we wanted to play a part in contributing to positive change.

Rubbish’s engineering team has worked tirelessly to improve the user experience for their current pilot system, the Rubbish beam; however, they hope to redesign it for better ergonomics and have it mass-producible for commercialization. Currently, in the market, traditional picker-uppers are sold between $10 and $25 but have no electronics or “smart capabilities.” With product functions such as Bluetooth pairing, registering photos via their smartphone app, and categorizing litter trends upon pickup, we believe in their commitment to create cleaner streets and bring technology to cities in an innovative way. Based on city and lifestyle data, they have significant potential to drive revenue in markets beyond litter. Wouldn’t it be great to know the cleanest park you can take your child to or the best street to open your small business? The Rubbish beam’s patented software and hardware automatically collect litter data while in use. Still, it needs an extra push in design aesthetics and user experience to reach its full potential.

This is where we come in. Through brand-focused design and engineering, we are in the process of redesigning Rubbish’s current beam to prepare it for scaling the brand. We hope to emphasize Rubbish’s fun and playful nature and encourage others to clean up their communities.

We are excited to partner with Elena, Emin, and Felipe of Rubbish and join them in their mission to increase awareness of litter pickup. We believe in keeping our communities clean and bringing a sense of empowerment to everyone around us. It’s time to clean up our communities in style.

Along with this fun partnership, we are documenting our design process as we work with the Rubbish team in bringing the world’s first smart litter picker-upper to life! Episode one of “Hatch-22: Designing During A Pandemic” is now up on our YouTube channel and featured above. Enjoy!

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