Recycling is a generous act by consumers. Yet municipalities are often not so giving with the resources they offer to help end users follow recycling rules and regulations.
“There are not sufficient recycling tools or good enough information for consumers,” said Todor Petkov, co-founder of Giunko. The Bologna, Italy-based technology start-up was launched in 2014 for the purpose of releasing Junker, an app designed to streamline the recycling process for Italian consumers.
Released as an app for iOS and Android in March 2015, Junker allows consumers to scan barcodes on both products and packaging to obtain all relevant information on how and where to recycle them. Since initial launch, Junker has used Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK to provide the app’s scanning capability.
Watch an informational video about how the Junker app works:
“We did some testing before launch with freeware scanning solutions,” recalled Petkov. “We were not satisfied. There were false readings and scanning was very slow. Also, freeware solutions did not properly scan out-of-focus, blurred or distorted barcodes.”
In contrast, since launch, Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK has always accurately and instantly scanned all types of barcode images.
“Our users are in a hurry,” said Petkov. “Recycling is already a bit of a pain. If we offer a slow, cumbersome tool, they won’t accept it.”
Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK has tested well since initial prelaunch research. “Consumer feedback is that the scanning is very fast and precise,” commented Petkov.
Junker is free to consumers. Once an item’s barcode is scanned, the information is compared to a proprietary database of more than 1 million items. If the item is not recognized, consumers can send a photo and brief description. Giunko can then add the product via an automated system. The company designed the database with about 20,000 products. The rest have been added as a result of consumer activity.
Junker’s business model relies on municipalities. While the app will provide basic local recycling information free of charge, municipalities must pay a fee to have specific details included in the app. This can include mapping a specific product to a specific recycling bin, or to a third-party location such as a pharmacy or shopping mall.
The app currently has about 78,000 users who have scanned at least one item for recycling since January 2017. User growth averages about 10,000 to 15,000 per year, with an average of 6,000 to 7,000 scans per day. Looking ahead, Giunko has an expanded business model in mind.
“For the future, we are considering retail,” said Petkov. “Customers could scan product packaging to obtain a ‘green score.’ If the packaging is not environmentally sound, the app would recommend a similar item with greener packaging.”
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Download the Junker app for Android here.
Download the Junker app for iOS here.