RecycleBot: Machine Learning Based Automated Waste detection and Classification wins Rep. Susan Wild’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Pennsylvania’s Seventh District

Rep. Susan Wild has named Tushar Mehta, a Ninth Grader at Parkland High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Pennsylvania’s Seventh District.



When asked what inspired the creation of RecycleBot: Machine Learning Based Automated Waste detection and Classification, the student said, ”Recycling is an important mechanism to improve the sustainability of our ecosystem and despite increased awareness, only 13% of the trash is currently recycled on the global level. Besides preventing the pollution, recycling helps in conserving natural resources, save energy, and preserve the balance in the environment leading to greener planet, for example, it takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials. As a leader, Sweden only puts 1% of its waste in the landfill and recycles rest into reuse and generating energy. Rest of the world is lagging and everyday millions of recyclable items are thrown in the trash because of lack of clarity if they are recyclable or not. If something is recyclable, that material can be reused instead of going in the trash, resulting in smaller landfills. The challenge is not new, however I got excited about the idea of using emerging technologies to improve the recycle fraction of the trash. I developed this web application to guide the user if a specific item should be thrown in the recycle bin instead of putting in the trash.”



The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent. 

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.