Urban Waste H2020’s gamification proposal for waste management and prevention. Earn points reading the QR Codes on the Urban Waste Consortium’s cities and exchange them for awesome prizes

Source: Android description / Image: pxhere

Useful information

Download: Android 4.1 (1.18MB) / iOS 9.0 (4.3MB)

Price: free

Language: English / Spanish / Portuguese / Greek

Runs offline: no

Last update: Android 21/01/2018 (v. 1.2.4) – iOS 10/02/2018 (v. 1.2.4)

Website of the developer: Technological Centre for Innovation in Communications (IDeTIC-ULPGC)


WasteApp is an application that, through gamification, seeks to raise awareness about the correct disposal of inorganic and organic waste by users. Its creation is part of the European URBAN-WASTE project, an initiative to promote sustainability in the generation of waste from tourist destinations.

This project involves 11 European cities that each year attract thousands of visitors: Florence (Italy), Nice (France), Lisbon (Portugal), Syracuse (Italy), Copenhagen (Denmark), Kavala (Grecee), Santander (Spain), Nicosia (Cyprus), Ponta Delgada (Portugal), Dubrovnik-Neretva county (Croatia) and Tenerife (Spain).


Its operation is based on the interaction of tourists and inhabitants with the QR codes installed in waste containers and the social networks. In return, users accumulate points that they can redeem for prizes at partner entities.

First of all, you need to register as a user with a nickname and password. During the procedure, you can fill in a short anonymous questionnaire for statistical purposes (age, gender, duration of the visit, etc.). The only mandatory field to select is the participating city you are in. This requirement is due to the specific strategy that each city has established in relation to waste management, which implies that the information collected is analysed locally.

The application has 8 options represented by icons:

  • QR, which incorporates a QR code reader with which to focus the label placed on each container.
  • Position, section that shows a map with the location of the user and the containers. The containers appear as clustered, distinguishing themselves by color as you zoom in. Sponsoring entities are also indicated, as well as water sources.
  • Cup, where you can check what prizes or discounts are available. In the case of Santander, you can opt for an umbrella, reusable bottles, backpacks or books, for example.
  • Book, section where you can check how many points you accumulate and what you can get in return.
  • Settings, where you can select the city and language.
  • Tutorial, to learn how to use the app.
  • Incidents, section from which you can alert of problems with the container or QR code.
  • Logout

Getting points

Users have two ways to get points: thanks to QR codes attached to containers or by interacting on social networks with a hashtag. In the first case, the points are only added when the reading is done in the established timetable for waste disposal. Reading QR codes can only be done twice a day. In the case of interaction with social networks, you can accumulate points by tweeting with #UrbanWasteUE, also twice a day.

Image gallery

The screenshots correspond to the Android version of the application.

Images: screenshots 27/02/2018. © IDeTIC-ULPGC


The video is recorded using the Android version of the application.

More information

Project website of WasteApp

WasteApp user manual (*.pdf, 766kb)

WasteApp FAQ (*.pdf, 205kb)



Waste management in tourist destinations creates a serious problem. Infrastructures and services for this purpose are sized for a more or less stable contingent of people and are often unable to meet the needs of a multiplying population during the holiday season. This situation often leads to an accumulation of waste, which invade sidewalks and attract rodents and insects. In addition, this waste can be washed away by rain to the sea. But it should also be pointed out that part of the problem is generated by the uncivil behaviour of some tourists and inhabitants of these cities, who do not throw waste in the established schedules, making it difficult to clean the streets and the normal functioning of the services.

WasteApp aims to alleviate this situation through gamification, rewarding civic behavior through redeemable points for prizes and discounts. Although the idea is a good one, it is clear that it requires the commitment of citizens. There is no mechanism to prevent getting points at the same time you do not separate waste properly or you throw them into the containers at times other than the fixed hours. The operation of the app is simple (perhaps it would be interesting to include in the tutorial some image of the QR codes so that users can easily identify them), although there are some aspects that should be improved, such as navigation on the map. Thus, for example, the legend displayed in the tutorial is blocked and cannot be viewed in its entirety. It would also be interesting to improve the interaction mechanism between the user and the available social networks. In the case of Twitter, for example, it has been found that the simple fact of loading the hashtag #UrbanWasteUE from the application allows to get points, not even needing to publish the tweet. So and to avoid an incorrect use of the app, it might be interesting to consider valid only the tweets sent from the cities included in the project (the user should activate the option of geolocation in the Twitter account) or to count only those actually published.

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Técnico de medio ambiente, community manager y content curator especializada en temas de medioambiente - Environmental technician, community manager and content curator specialised in environmental issues