IDEO’s Circular Design Challenge invited global design-thinkers to create a sustainable design solution for reducing plastic consumption. During our workshop in Palo Alto, we asked the question, "how might we globally reduce plastic use?". Along with expert talks, fellow design-thinkers from IDEO discussed the topic and brainstormed ideas. I presented my concept of smart vending machines to help eliminate the "one-time use" of small plastics, which mostly ends up in the landfill because of the size challenge they present to recycling facilities.
Globally, there were 600 ideas submitted, and my concept of the “smart vending machine" was included as one of the 100 concepts to move on to the next level in the competition.  As a finalist, I got to interview a design strategist from IDEO New York in order to strengthen my concept for the 3rd round of the competition. This would lead to working with a venture capitalist to prepare the chosen design concept so that it could be further developed towards implementation. While my concept did not reach this last step, it was an invaluable learning experience that I’m grateful to have been a part of. I felt privileged and honored to join a community of brilliant minds who believed in possibilities and actively strived to achieve them.
Concept idea in detail:
Monitor user interface and user experience development: Smart Vending Machine will have a digital screen that allows users to see the nutritional information of their purchases with the serving size of their choice.  The machine will give options to the customer to either use their own container or purchase a compostable one. By charging an extra fee for containers, customers are encouraged to find alternatives, such as re-using their own containers. The goal is to bring awareness to their habits of consumption.
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