Scan your garbage’s barcode, and this smart code will tell you to recycle or trash it

Tom Cassady
Scan your garbage’s barcode, and this smart code will tell you to recycle or trash it
The Eugene smart trash can by Uzer scans your waste's UPC, and tells you which parts of the packaging can be recycled and which cannot, companion app tracks products and adds them to shopping list for you.

You might think that deciding what can and cannot be recycled is a pretty straightforward affair, but not all plastics are recycled equally. The plastic tray in a microwave dinner can be recycled, as can the cardboard box, but what about that plastic film over the top? Can the top of a plastic bottle be recycled along with the bottle? Eugene, a smart trash can from French company Uzer, sets out to answer all these ambiguities.

The Eugene works by scanning the UPC on the packaging you’re about to toss. A small screen on the front of the can tells you what packaging can go into the recycling, and what can’t. Take the plastic bottle example: It will tell you that the bottle portion can be recycled and that the cap should be thrown away.

Related: Save space, improve aesthetics with the Intelligent Waste trash can solution

These days, nothing can claim to be truly “smart” unless it has a corresponding smartphone app, and Eugene doesn’t disappoint. The app works on both Android and iOS and will help you track your impact on the environment based on what you successfully recycled. It also keeps tabs on what you are disposing of, and automatically adds them to a shopping list for your next visit to the store, or even curates an online order so the replacements can be delivered to you. If you’re watching what you eat, it will even keep tabs on the nutritional information for you, so you can see what your body took in as well as your garbage can. Uzer CEO Clément Castelli also thinks that brands may want to incentivize the use of the system with discounts based on how much of their products you recycle, according to Engadget.

The Eugene is currently in the crowdfunding stage on France’s equivalent of Kickstarter, the delightfully named KissKissBankBank. As with any crowdfunding campaign, it’s backer beware. Uzer has plans to be at CES in January to show the can off in the U.S., and the company already plans to have a second product on display come showtime.