Replastic is a service design we did to encourage NYC citizens to improve plastic waste management and meets the city's sustainability goals for Zero Waste.
Plastic Recycling Challenges in NYC
  • New Yorkers recycled about 30% of rigid plastic containers and packaging, which means that a larger amount of plastic waste is not recycled in the city.

  • Sims Municipal Recycling is the processor of 100% of the plastic collected by the NYC Department of Sanitation throughout the five boroughs. However, the city doesn't currently reuse the recycled materials, therefore, SMR can only export recycled plastics to countries like China. 

Knowing that things aren't necessarily working in NYC, we interviewed Professor Dave Marin who runs the Precious Plastic ( Workshop at Parsons on plastic recycling and reuse.

Here are some insights from our interview:​​

  • Cannot mix different types of plastics.

  • Cleaning is the biggest problem: need to clean inside containers and remove labels.

  • Make sure to reuse the water so that it won’t cause pollution or waste.

  • Need to follow exact steps to reprocess plastic recyclables for safety reasons.

Design Solution

Knowing that the sorting and cleaning are the biggest challenges for plastic recycle, we wish to design a system that enables NYC residences to engage more in the recycling process and making sure that plastics recyclables are sorted and cleaned for repurposing.

We also wish to enable reprocessed plastic materials to be utilized and consumed locally instead of transporting to other countries.


We came up with the Replastic Idea and designed a service map to indicate how the system works. Plastic wastes are recycled and turned into new products that NYC citizens can consume locally:


We illustrated how Lydia interacts with Replastic and become incentivized to recycle plastics and collect points.

User Journey Map

I created the user journey map to illustrate the different scenarios that Lydia interact with Replastic.

LinkNYC Replastic Interface Design

For the LinkNYC Replastic interface design, I wish to make the designs as intuitive as possible, I also look into the interface designs that people used to see in NYC public services such as the MTA, there are usually big call to action buttons and simple wording for people to follow easily.

Replastic Machine

For the machine design, we wished to make it as easy to operate as possible: ​

1. After scanning the plastic item, the users need to remove the label.

2. Then users need to throw the lid. 

3. Place the plastic item on the washer machine.


After washing, the machine will use a conveyor belt to throw each item in the bin it belongs.​ Once the bin is full, it will notify Replastic factory to send trucks to collect the recyclables.

Mobile App Interface Design

For the mobile app interfaces, I wish to convey a vibrant and positive brand image to the users, here user can find out different Replastic recycle or pickup locations, redeem or donate products, and check how many Recredit earned.


For the onboarding screens, I created motion designs to showcase how the Replastic system works. 

1. Recycle to earn credits.
2. Use the credits to redeem products.
3. Pick up products in a selected location.

© 2020 by Queena Wang.