Uni(re)cycle: decreasing Waste through Fun Behavioral Change

The Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA) & Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) have the ambition to become the most sustainable universities in terms of resource management and want to adhere to the Amsterdam goal of becoming the frontrunner in the circular economy by 2024.

From their own analysis, the waste management project team found that only 30% of the waste in their bins actually originates inside the universities, which means that 70% of the waste was brought in from outside sources.

We are proud to introduce Uni(re)Cycle, the app that helps you build sustainable habits. The iOS application is designed to motivate the users of UvA and HvA campuses to make sustainable choices about their waste production and overall environmental impact. It works by providing the user with challenges centered around sustainability – for example, packing lunches in reusable containers, rather than purchasing a packaged lunch. Once challenges are completed, users earn points that can be traded for rewards (discounts to products from sustainable partners!). Combined points also contribute to users’ place on the campus leaderboard, allowing users to compete with their friends. This gamification-based system utilizes evidence-based intervention strategies for behavioral change, such as nudges, goal setting, and competition.

Combined, the app’s challenges save an average of 10kg CO2 and 2kg of waste per user, per week. If 10% of the HvA student body used the app and completed 3 challenges, on a weekly basis, around ±400,000 kg of CO2 and ±70,000kg of waste could be saved per academic year.

What makes our project unique is that we were able to partner up with Information and Communication Technology students studying at HvA to develop the iOS application. The back-end developing team will be involved in the project between February and June, 2021. Our aim is to launch the app in September 2021 during the introduction week.

Would you like to partner up? We are always looking for businesses that care about sustainability to feature in our reward system. You will have the opportunity to connect with local businesses and a new group of conscious customers, get exposure for your brand and your products, and work towards making Amsterdam a more sustainable city!

Do you have questions? Contact us at or message us on instagram


This project focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals: