google maps —
bins & recycling feature


Expanding Google Maps with a new feature to easily find and filter bins and recycling points close to the user.

A centralised application/feature for finding recycling points does not exist. It is generally something municipalities cannot financially prioritise. Key information stays on the local websites and on pdf’s, making it a struggle to easily recycle.

To provide unification and ease of use for the digital native generations, having a central location like Google Maps which is already used by over 150million monthly users, could increase the use of recycling bins and have a broader impact.
view case study


80 hours, February 2022


Figma, Google Forms, Maze


Concept project


UX research, UX/UI designer

job to be done

Promote straight forward recycling when in a new location, by creating an easy way to search for local recycling points, provide local guides to recycling and give feedback to user on their environmental impact.

problem validation & market research

Analysing competitors and hearing people's experience at different points in their recycling journey, I scoped all similar features on the market and focused on apps that are dedicated to making recycling easier for users.

The majority of them focus on education about recycling and there is a gap in the market for a recycling point location finder.

key requirements from users

From over 40 results to a qual & quant survey sent out I found key requirements for the feature are:

- knowing the kind of recycling available, where the bins are and the distance from the user
- personalised info would motivate people to recycle
- knowing how the city sorts garbage would improve the recycling ability of people
- participants reported they would use this kind of information every time they travel and around once a month locally
- 90% + of respondents stated they would use this feature

discovery phase & persona

To better understand how the feature could be brought to the users and seamlessly integrated to the existing Google Maps app I analysed and mapped out the current user journey.

I also looked at data gathering and how Google Maps currently gets its information. With all the background information, based on the existing user journey and on provisional personas, I created a final persona which would be the one I would be designing for and that would guide my decisions.

project goals

Key points to be solved:

- In new locations users do not know where and how to recycle
- Not having the information at hand is a big barrier to recycling
- Municipality websites are often hard to navigate and take too many steps
- Distance from current location and how to get to the bins is not provided
- How recycling works in specific location isn’t shown

interaction design

With the project goal defined it was important to identify the features, prioritise them and carefully consider how they would fit the current user flows.

The new features needed to fit seamlessly into the existing app, to make it intuitive and easy to user for new and old Google Maps user alike.

After analysing the architecture of the app I created task and user flows.

icon design

To complement the Google Maps design and make it visually intuitive for the user I designed an icon set to symbolise the different types of recycling, following as closely as possible the Material Design guidelines.

high fidelity screens & prototype

High fidelity designs were made based on the Material Design guidelines, which I analysed through atomic design framework.

The design of the pages with the new features was integrated into the Google Maps design to make it as seamless as possible.

The different screens were then prototyped together into clear user flows.

validating design & implementing feedback

From the usability testing I gained an understanding of key points that needed work.

I looked at potential solutions and mocked up directly some screens to see how the pain points could be tackled.

next steps

Once the changes are implemented and optimised, further testing would be done to keep developing the features and implementing revisions to make it as easy and second nature as possible.

Further research could be done IRL to see people’s habits with recycling. Work with municipalities and Google could be done to input info and start piloting this feature in key cities.