research – tech

Some statistics!




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I wanted to learn what social networks are the most relevant ones.



Number of people interested in environmental problems is increasing. There are many apps/tools/websites online dedicated to raising awareness of different issues and what can we do to decrease and deal with the the harmful consequences we’re facing.

Since I’m focusing on the waste reduction side, specifically in zero-waste lifestyle.

What is zero-waste lifestyle?

Zero-waste lifestyle followers (or simply zero-wasters) attempt to reduce the amount of waste they produce in every possible way by using own reusable containers wherever they go, by avoiding pre-packaged things and choosing recyclable, reusable and sustainably made materials. Term ‘zero-waste’ represents an idea, an ultimate goal for anyone following this lifestyle.

The movement is less than 10 years old, but already have attracted many people from different parts of the world.
There are three Facebook groups of respectable size:

  • Journey to Zero-Waste – 11,104 members.
  • Zero-Waste Heroes!  – 5,111 members.
  • Zero-Waste Youth – 4,425 members. (All as of 8/12/16.)

Most famous representers are:

  • Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home.
  • Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers.
  • Kathryn Kellogg of Going Zero Waste, and some others.

List of zero-waste bloggers from different nations can be found here and here. Lots of good names and organisations here as well.

Based on my online research, hardest part about following this lifestyle is undoubtedly:

  • Finding places that sell package-free food/kitchen/bathroom products.
  • Finding/understanding zero-waste alternatives for everyday products (e.g. understanding what products are recyclable, compostable and eco-friendly).

As can be seen above, zero-wasters are present on different Social Medias, including: Blogger, Facebook, Instagram. Some of the Instagrammers are:

  • Zerowastehome
  • trashisfortossers
  • _wastelandrebel_
  • lifewithoutplastic
  • livingwastefree
  • plasticfreetuesday
  • bezerowastegirl
  • zerowastechef
  • zerowastenerd

— work in progress —




Cool stuff:

**Tom Szaky’s book, CEO of TerraCycle.


Ways to start zero waste:

  1. TOTE BAG instead of plastic (from organic cotton)
  2. don’t take receipt when checking balance at your Atm (or check your abank statement online/on the phone)
  3. REUSABLE WATERBOTTLE, Instead of plastic bottles
  4. Get a COFFEE CUP/thermos for coffee/tea, instead of takeaway cups.
  5. Sign up for electronic statements instead of mail ones:P
  6. Bamboo brush (instead of plastic) not better than electronic tho(?)
  7. Lush unpackages soap/ teeth things / without packaging
  8. Stainless razor, instead of plastic.
  9. Farmers’ market instead of shops.
  11. No to reusable straws or cutlery
  12. REUSABLE PADS or MENSTRUAL cup instead of 😛
  13. KITCHEN stuff
    1. Washable and compostable rag
    2. dish brush with a wooden handle
    3. EITHER compostable wooden pott brush with coconut fibers
    4. OR recycleble copper pot scrub
  14. compostable DENTAL FLOSS
  15. INK for REUSABLE pen
  16. Notebook from STONE
  17. Bea Johnson: Zero Waste Food supplies

^Change your everyday products for sustainable ones.

Research – Environmental

UK statistics on Waste (2010-2014)
by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (link)

‘Total waste’ stats:

  • The UK generated 200.0 million tonnes of total waste in 2012. Half of this (50 per cent) was generated by Construction. Commercial & Industrial activities generated almost a quarter (24 per cent), with households responsible for a further 14 per cent.
  • Almost half (50.0 per cent) of the 186.2 million tonnes of total waste that entered final treatment in the UK in 2012 was recovered. The proportion that went to landfill was 26.1 per cent (of 186.2m tonnes).

Waste from households:

  • UK Waste from Households generation increased by 3.3% in 2014 compared to 2013, following year on year falls 2010-13.
  • Despite that, amount of waste that was recycled has been constantly increasing with each year. => people / government more environmentally conscious 
  • The UK achieved a recycling rate of 44.9 per cent in 2014 compared to 40.4 per cent in 2010. There is an EU target for the UK to recycle at least 50 per cent of household waste by 2020. => target good for my app

Biodegradable municipal waste (BMW):

  • UK BMW sent to landfill in 2014 was 8.7 million tonnes (!). = 8,700,000, 000 kg 
  • UK tonnage of BMW to Landfill has reduced each year between 2010 and 2014 and levels have fallen considerably since 1995.

Recovery rate from non-hazardous construction & demolition waste:

  • UK generated 44.8 million tonnes of non- hazardous C&D waste, of which 38.8 million tonnes was recovered. This represents a recovery rate of 86.5%.


Zero Waste Europe response to Eurostat data for 2014 (link)

  • In general terms, the countries which are performing well in waste treatment seem to be unable to reduce their waste generation, while the most efficient ones in terms of waste generation tend to be unable to reintroduce materials into the economy through recycling and composting.



Consequences that come with landfilling and incineration:

  • Production of (extremely flammable) methane gas, that contributed to greenhouse effect.
  • Attraction of vermin.
  • Production of dioxin.
  • Air pollution.
  • Acid rain.
  • Water pollution
  • Soil contamination -> Negative impact on animals’ and people’s health.
  • Municipal wellbring suffering / recycling revenue declining.
  • Hazardous substances entering surface water, groundwater or soil.


Planning how to plan a project

This is probably one of the hardest things during the life cycle of the project – deciding time frames and how should I go about making this project a reality. So far I’ve only had 1 good experience with delivering a group project, where although we had a small time frame (3 weeks), we were able to make everything look and function amazing, with our mark being around 90%.

But last time I had good developers, who made everything I tell them to make, a reality. This time I’m on my own. And so far, thinking about the project timeline has been rather frustrating. I don’t know how long each thing will take me and I don’t know what the-right-thing-to-start-with is.

Luckily, as part of my ‘First report’, I need to make Gantt’s chart and after seeing a few examples online, I think it may tremendously ease my planning. Here are a few good examples.

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Based on the slides by company called Inflectica Technologies (link to slides), they describe such approach in Application Development.

  1. Business (“Background”) Analysis
    1. Develop understanding of a business problem and discuss business objectives / goals / achievements.
  2. Requirement gathering
    1. Software features, functionalities and integration requirements.
    2. Project Plan is drafted.
    3. Time estimated revised.
  3. Architecting & Design
    1. Definition of all logical sequences, processes and operations expected in the software.
    2. Diagrams explaining all data parameters, features and functionality.
    3. development of UI.
    4. Deliverables:
      1. Work Flow and Business Process Diagram(?)
      2. Topology Diagram(?)
      3. UML Diagram
      4. UI screens/wireframes
      5. Database schemas (relationship, tables, objects)
      6. User cases (for all operations in the software)
      7. Test cases for all events that will be qualified and tested during QA
      8. revised project plan including milestone deliveries
  4. Development
    1. Development on the basis of scope doc (made in stage 1)
  5. Testing and evaluation
    1. functional testing (?)
    2. boundary testing (?)
    3. compatibility testing (?)
    4. deliverables:
      1. unit / case / compatibility / stress / unit tests
    5. ** more on that here (jeroen’s slides)
  6. Deployment
    1. Upload to app store
    2. Deliverables:
      1. Source Code
      2. Full software documentation
      3. User guide / manual
  7. Support & Maintenance


Final Report Structure

  1. Title Page
    1. Include the project title and the name of the author of the report. You can also include the name of your supervisor.
  2. Originality avowal
    1. First page of the report after the Title page  should contain the following statement certifying the work as your own: “I verify that I am the sole author of this report, except where explicitly stated to the contrary.” Your signature and the date should follow this statement.
  3. Abstract
    1. IT IS a very brief summary of the report’s contents (half a page long). Somebody unfamiliar with your project should have a good idea of what your work is about by reading the abstract alone.
    2. It is usual to thank those individuals who have provided particularly useful assistance, technical or otherwise, during your project (your supervisor).
  4. Contents page
    1. List the main chapters and (sub)sections of your report (Choose self-explanatory chapter and section titles.)
    2. Should include page numbers indicating where each chapter and section begins.
    3. Avoid too many levels of subheading. In particular, stick to sections and subsections (sub-subsections are usually avoidable).
  5. Introduction
    1. Begin with a clear statement of what the project is about so that the nature and scope of the project can be understood by a lay reader.
    2. Summarise everything that you set out to achieve, provide a clear summary of the project’s background and relevance to other work.
    3. Give pointers to the remaining sections of the report, which will contain the bulk of the technical material.
  6. Background
    1. Set the project into context by motivating the subject matter and relating it to existing published work.
    2. Background will include a critical evaluation of the existing literature in the area in which your project work is based and should lead the reader to understand how your work is motivated by and related to existing work.
  7. Body of Report
    1. Usually consists of three or four chapters detailing the technical work undertaken during the project.
    2. Can reflect the chronological development of the project, e.g. design, implementation, experimentation, optimisation, evaluation, etc (although this is not always the best approach).
    3. However you choose to structure this report, make it clear how you arrived at your chosen approach in preference to other alternatives.
    4. In terms of the software that you produce, you should describe and justify the design of your programs at some high level, e.g. using OMT, Z, VDL, etc. (?), and you should document any interesting problems with, or features of, your implementation.
    5. Integration and testing are also important to discuss in some cases.
    6. May include fragments of your source code in the main body of the report to illustrate points; the full source code is included in an appendix to your written report.
  8. Evaluation
    1. Be aware: many projects fall down through poor evaluation. Simply building a system and documenting its design and functionality is not enough to gain a good mark.
    2. It is extremely important that you evaluate what you have done both in absolute terms and in comparison with existing techniques, software, hardware, etc.
    3. This might involve quantitative evaluation, for example based on performance measures, or something more qualitative, such as functionality or ease-of-use.
    4. ** Usability questionnaire for users? 
    5. May also involve a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of your work.
    6. You are expected to provide a proper critical appraisal of what you have done. Your assessors are bound to spot the limitations of your work and you are expected to be able to do the same.
  9. Professional issues
    1. Either in a separate section or throughout the report demonstrate that you are aware of the Code of Conduct & Code of Good Practice issued by the British Computer Society and have applied their principles, where appropriate, as you carried out your project.
  10. Conclusions and Future Work
    1. List the key things that have been learnt as a consequence of engaging in your project work. Avoid tedious personal reflections like “I learned a lot about C++ programming…”.
    2. It is common to finish the report by listing ways in which the project can be taken further. This might, for example, be a plan for turning a piece of software or hardware into a marketable product.
  11. Bibliography.
    1. Consists of a list of all the books, articles, manuals, etc. that are referred to in the report. Provide enough information to allow the reader to find the source.
  12. Appendix
    1. The appendices contain information that is peripheral to the main body of the report. Information typically included in the Appendix are things like tables, proofs, graphs, test cases or any other material that would break up the theme of the text if it appeared in the body of the report. It is necessary to include your source code listings in an appendix that is separate from the body of your written report (see the information on Program Listings below).
    2. ** Add to report paper wireframes (low fidelity) and good designs made using software (high fidelity).
  13. User Guide
    1. Provide an adequate user guide for your software. Provide easily understood instructions on how to use your software.
    2. Treat the user guide as a walk-through of a typical session, or set of sessions, which collectively display all of the features of your package.
    3. Keep the guide concise and simple.
    4. Use of diagrams, illustrating the package in action, can often be particularly helpful.
    5. The user guide is sometimes included as a chapter in the main body of the report, but is often better included in an appendix to the main report.
  14. Program Listings
    1. Complete source code listings must be submitted as an appendix to the report.
    2. The project source codes are usually spread out over several files/units.
    3. You should try to help the reader to navigate through your source code by providing a “table of contents’‘ (titles of these files/units and one line descriptions).
    4. The first page of the program listings folder must contain the following statement certifying the work as your own: “I verify that I am the sole author of the programs contained in this folder, except where explicitly stated to the contrary”. Your (typed) signature and the date should follow this statement.
    5. All work on programs must stop once the code is submitted. You are required to keep safely several copies of this version of the program. Your examiners may ask to see the last-modified dates of your program files, and may ask you to demonstrate that the program files you use in the project examination are identical to the program files you have  submitted. Any attempt to demonstrate code that is not included in your submitted source listings is an attempt to cheat.


Personal Timetable & To-Do’s

Personal Timeline:

23/10    –     First report (to Luca)
28/10    –     Ethical Approval Form (on REMUS website)
13/11     –    Second Report (to Luca)
02/12    –     Background and Specification Form (to Luca)
05/02    –    Third Report (to Luca)
12/03     –    Fourth Report (to Luca)
11/04     –    Final Report (to Luca)

XX/11 – Swift tutorial done.
13/03 – Read last year’s reports (@Keats) + Look at LaTeX.
18/03 – App ready.


Academic Timeline & Report Details

Academic timeline:

28/10     –     First progress report (4pm)
(28/10    –     Ethical Approval Form)
18/11      –    Second progress report (4pm)
09/12     –     Research/Theory/Background and Specification progress report (4pm)
10/02     –     Third progress report (4pm)
(24/02    –     Poster deadline)
17/03      –     Fourth progress report (4pm)
18/04      –     FINAL project report (11.55pm)
(24/04    –     28/04 – Oral examination)

First progress report To-Do’s:

  • Demonstrate that you have clearly defined the problem space for your project.
  • Discuss the motivation / scope / aims / objectives of the project.
  • Include a short annotated bibliography.
  • State what software platform (programming language(s), software packages, software environment(s)), hardware platform and operating system(s) you will be using.
  • Include a detailed plan (personal timeline) of progress for the remainder of your project (until April).
  • Must consist of a Gantt chart AND a list of deliverables (unless your supervisor requires otherwise).
  • Need to state if ethical approval is needed for your project (more info here).

Second, Third, Fourth progress report To-Do’s:

  • Describe progress and any changes that have been made as a result of unanticipated problems.

Background and Specification report To-Do’s and Tips: (10 pages)

*Background and context for the project.
*Review of any relevant literature, including web-sites.

  • Set the project into context by motivating the project and relating it to existing published work (which you will have read at the start of the project when your approach and methods were being considered).
  • Don’t just pick one approach, describe and evaluate as many alternative approaches as is reasonable.
  • The published work considered in the report may be in the form of research papers, articles, text books, technical manuals, or even existing software or hardware of which you have had hands-on experience.
  • Acknowledge the sources of your inspiration – you are expected to have seen and thought about other people’s ideas (your contribution might be to apply existing ideas in novel ways).
  • When referring to other pieces of work, cite the sources at the point where you refer to or use them, rather than just listing them at the end.
  • Where appropriate, report should give a detailed, complete specification of any code to be implemented for the project (may be based on material in the first progress report but should extend it).
  • Specification should be as low-level and detailed as you can manage at the time you submit the report.
  • Should use standard software engineering methods for specification, such as: requirement lists, use cases, state machines, entity relationship diagrams, and UML notations!

FINAL report To-Do’s: 

  • Demonstrate that:
    • you understand the wider context of computing by relating your choice of project, and the approach you take, to existing products or research.
    • You can apply the theoretical and practical techniques taught in your degree programme to produce a significant piece of written work and a substantial piece of software that addresses a particular problem in computer science.
    • You are capable of objectively criticising your own work, discussing its implications, and making constructive suggestions for improvements or further work based on your experiences so far.
    • As a computing professional, you can explain your thinking and working processes clearly and concisely to third parties who may not be experts in the field in which you are working.
    • you have considered, addressed and critically assessed ethical, economic, cultural, legal and environmental issues of relevance to their project work.
    • you have given sufficient attention to ethical codes and ethical principles, taken account of safety, security and privacy requirements, appreciated human and personal rights, respected relevant laws and standards, exhibited an understanding of the effects of project decisions on communities, the environment and individuals.
  • Should be tidy, well laid out and consistently formatted (qualities should be: conciseness, clarity and elegance)
  • Should be made in LaTeX (download guide from @Keats).
  • More here.


Important notions:
* Possibility to book an iPad for iOS development (@Keats).

Other important points from “BSc Project Guide to Deliverables 2016-2017”:

  • The final year project should involve some or all of the following: research, specification, design, implementation, validation, and critical analysis.
  • The final year project is a substantial exercise in the application of computer science principles, and should involve some or all of the following: research, specification, design, implementation, validation, and critical analysis.

Introduction and Motivation


I’m Liza, nice to meet you! As part of my Computer Science degree I need to deliver a project in order to be able to graduate. So here is me starting it!

I decided to document my progress/journey (or at least try to document it), because this is going to be my first independent software project ever, and the biggest I’ve had throughout my university life, for that matter.

For my project I will be building an iOS app that will (hopefully) encourage people to recycle more and reduce waste they’re producing.

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My motivation behind this project is rather simple. Some time ago I’ve discovered such thing as ‘zero-waste’ lifestyle. And it resonated with me.

After seeing how I live my life, what I buy and how many things I throw away, it was apparent that there are things I can change about my behaviour to eliminate unnecessary waste I produce. Living in a borough that is a clear advocate of recycling is rather helpful, too. But recycling and preventing production of waste are very different things. I see recycling as a baby step towards being completely zero-waste. So… here my journey begins. Let’s see where it will end.

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As you can imagine, I face many challenges such as learning new programming language, learning lots of psychological factors behind people’s behaviour and building and designing an app from scratch. But I am excited and I can’t wait to see where my project will end up!

I will try to document as much as I can here with updates, timelines, ideas etc. I’m always opened to suggestions so feel free to comment.

Thanks! 🙂