QKONs is a digital platform that integrates waste into a circular economy and allows Qatar’s residents to benefit economically while reducing environmental impacts.
A digital waste exchange platform that companies and people can benefit from when they recycle waste, QKONs connects the producer of waste to a potential end-user of this waste. QKONs came into existence as the result of four passionate researchers coming together with a strong desire to promote sustainable development.
The novel digital initiative is being showcased in the Qatar Foundation (QF) tent at Darb Al Saai, taking place from December 12-20, with experts on hand to explain more about how the initiative works. The QKONs app will soon be available to download from the App Store and Google Play.
QKONs is a solution to the “obvious issues in sorting, collecting, and creating a value of waste in the market” according to Dr. Tareq Al-Ansari, an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development at the College of Science and Engineering (CSE), Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) – a member of QF – who is one of the founders of the project.
“This platform was developed to facilitate the transactions of waste between producers and end-users, and the exchange of a digital currency called QKONs,” Dr. Al-Ansari says.
The way the app will work from a seller’s perspective is that users can enter the type of waste they are offering – paper, plastic, or plastic bottles; and then specify the size of their waste bag – small, medium, large, extra-large. Next, they stick and scan the QR code provided by QKONs which will help buyers verify the bag’s contents, as well as give a more precise weight value.
Sellers can then register the waste’s location – QKONs will help compute the closest bin where sellers can deposit their bags. After this, sellers can submit their offer, and once the submission is successful, the app will show the location of the closest bin and the process will be noted as complete.
Buyers, on the other hand, will get a notification to collect a bag when a given bin is full. At the buyer’s factory or location, buyers can verify each bag by scanning the QR tag and verifying the type and size of the waste.
If verification is successful, buyers can confirm the transaction and the seller will receive the corresponding reward in QKONs.
“At the moment, QKONs are in the form of tokens which will be used to rank users at first. At a later stage, users may exchange their QKONs against gifts that will be provided by our partners,” Dr. Younss Aitmou, Software Engineer at CSE, and one of the founders of the project, says.
The app is expected to be available online by the beginning of 2020. And although it hasn’t been rolled out to the larger community yet, it has been receiving a positive response in its test phase.
“We have benchmarked our app by exposing it to various conferences and meetings. We have received significant attention, and the community is looking forward to use our solution,” Dr. Aitmou says.
“We have attracted the interest of a large community including, but not limited to, schools, small and large waste producers, households, and waste management and recycling companies.”
The QKONs team brings together expertise in sustainability, business, and information technology, who through unified scientific knowledge have responded to one of the world’s most pressing issues: waste.