Toasted Earth

2B0: Steve Peer

July 14, 2021 Michelle Cunningham Season 1 Episode 7
Toasted Earth
2B0: Steve Peer
Show Notes Transcript

This episode features Steve Peer, the co-founder and CTO of 2B0. 2B0 has developed a recycling robot that uses artificial intelligence to automatically recognize what material it has been given, sort it and process it all within a machine that can fit in a home, office or store.

Making it easier for consumers to recycle correctly will reduce the amount of recyclables ending up in landfill and aide in the fight against climate change. The 2B0 robot will also have features to help and incentivize consumers to make sustainable choices.

Relevant Links:
2B0 Website: https://2b0.io/

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/toastedearth)

Michelle Cunningham:

Hello, and welcome to the Toasted Earth podcast a show about founders, visionaries, and environmentalists pursuing novel ideas in sustainability to ultimately save the Earth. I'm your host, Michelle Cunningham. And for today's episode, we have Steve Peer, the Co-Founder and CTO of 2B0. 2B0 has developed a recycling robot that uses artificial intelligence to automatically recognize what material it has been given, sort it and process it all within a machine that can fit in a home, office, or store. Steve got into technology and coding when he was young, and has a background in marketing, branding and promotion as well. He's passionate about climate change and the circular economy, the intersection of all of these interests inspired him to co-found 2B0.

Steve Peer:

Kind of growing up, like I was very young in the 70s. And at that point, there was a very strong environmental movement, but it was mostly against things like pollution in general, you know, it was like, let's think about the, the environment, let's think about the planet as a whole. But at that point, even though we knew that things could get really bad, especially with things like toxic waste, and industrial pollution, we never thought that the planet itself or even our survivability, you know, was in question. And now today with climate change, there was real questions about what's going to happen over the long term to humanity as a whole. In the short term. We're seeing horrific changes already. I'm in Louisiana right now, which is a big oil and gas state. And ironically, the people here tend to vote against their own interests, when it comes to things like climate change, Louisiana is sinking underwater because of the rising sea levels. And also, because the storms that are coming, the hurricanes in particular, are getting stronger and more frequent. And so I'm at the epicenter, like literally living in the epicenter, right now an American situation, where you have the oil and gas industry on one side providing jobs, but also they're they're very active in Canvas, and governments to keep oil and gas production going to keep plastics going, in particular, to prevent any legislation that would restrict the use of plastics. And at the same time, you know, these are things that that are affecting not only the state, but but the world as a whole. So hopefully, you know, people can become more aware as to what the best choices are moving forward, I'm not saying quit your job in oil and gas, you know, because if there's nothing else to take, then I understand why you would have, you know, not a lot of options. But hopefully, the state can see Oh, like maybe we can start migrating away from the types of fossil fuels the type of carbon fuels that are facilitating climate change and making it worse, and it's in it is getting worse over time. I'm a father as well, I want to leave the world a better place for my children. And yeah, I'm just very concerned as a whole because we're fighting against really, really big money, very powerful interests, they're making so much money from polluting the earth from increasing carbon footprints instead of decreasing that, it seems like it's it's almost impossible to get an impossible challenge to fight against the the propaganda, you know, that's out there right now that climate change is not manmade, or climate change is not real. I've spoken to people here in this state that are educated, university educated, very intelligent people. And yet, they'll very frankly say I don't think climate change is man made. Although we know for a fact it is manmade, simply because of the isotopes that are there in the carbon in the atmosphere, we can compare natural carbon dioxide versus the manmade carbon dioxide, there's no question the science is undeniable. So in the case of recycling, one of the things that, you know, we're debating internally as plastic plastic comes from oil and gas in it, although you may see something that has a recyclable logo on it, chances are that it's not. And as a company, we need to decide Are we going to try to recycle plastic if it is recyclable? Or do are we going to in doing so? Would we be telling consumers, hey, just keep consuming. Keep your habits up the same way that you're doing it without making any changes to your lifestyle. So what I'll do is I'll talk about the to be zero recycling robot just kind of as a whole, because you did say in your introduction. So this is something that we want to look amazing. We want the user experience to be addictive. We want it to be fun, like gamified. So you have an Illumina Can you walk over to the unit, the door opens automatically you put the aluminum cannon, it recognizes the fact that it's an aluminum cannon right away, and then it processes it accordingly. So it'll in the case of aluminum, it will actually grind it up and you can watch it being ground up on a touchpad screen that's there on the outside of the robot and that experience is really cool. So people are like, Oh my god, can I grant another one? Can I grant another one. So that's with aluminum recycling is different in every region as well. So depending on where you are, maybe it will only take aluminum or maybe it will only take paper and cardboard. In certain cases in with glass, it may want to keep the glass containers intact, or in other cases, it may want to grind the glass up. So it has to know where it is, what the material is, and what to do with it.

Michelle Cunningham:

How does it know what is required in that area? Like how is it going to learn that? For me, even figuri g out what I could recycle a d couldn't recycle, and like y u mentioned plastic, it took yea s before I realized I can t recycle any of these plast c bags. Like I was supposed to e throwing them in landfill. I thought they were going to, ou know, turn into something el e. And they're not. How are yo even getting that data?

Steve Peer:

Absolutely. And that's a fantastic question. So we're going to start off region by region, and we're trying to look at, we're actually talking to different companies that actually specialize in just doing that providing information about local recycling. So if it's a coffee cup, if it has a plastic liner, it goes in the trash, it can't be recycled. If it's a Pringles can, it can never be recycled. If it's paper and cardboard in that region, or municipality has a paper cardboard recycling program, it will accept it in the robot, and then from there, process it depending on the way that it needs to be processed. So that that in itself is very data intensive. Because if you think about all the different regions that are there, the way they do recycling, who would they've partnered with, as far as taking the recyclable material, it can be very, very complicated. So from the point of view of the to be zero.io recycling robot, we want to keep that experience the opposite. We want to make it as simple as possible. Putting material in in the robot will tell you, Hey, this is aluminum, I can recycle it or no, this is something that can't be recycled, you've put in plastic or something that you may think can be recycled, but it actually can't. And that actually hits on something very, very important, which is that like myself, you know, for many years, I thought, Oh, if I see a recycling logo on a product, and that container must be recyclable, so I can buy as many as I want. You know, I'll buy bottled water because on the outside that says of the recyclable logo. That's what we term greenwashing. greenwashing just means that we're providing consumers with the illusion that something is sustainable, that it's circular, and can be reused over and over again, when in fact, it actually ends up in landfills. So part of the challenge here is to provide feedback. Every time someone uses the robot, they have a mobile app, and it will actually tell them, hey, you're actually decreasing your carbon footprint, they get rewarded, by the way for recycling as well. So we're thinking in terms of cash incentive, special coupon discounts, special promotions, I had this this great idea this morning, about like a gambling concept where every you know, 1,000th person gets like a $5, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. And then, you know, because we want, even though I trust people want to do the right thing, I think most people are not going to do the right thing. They're not going to recycle as much as they could, unless they feel that there's also a reward in there as well for them. So as far as the recycling in general, I think that again, people think that when they see the recyclable logo or the recycle logo, that the product is going to be recycled. And what happens is it gets picked up by waste management for the various municipalities. It gets sorted, and then it just ends up in landfills. And in nefarious cases, whoever is processing that may even just take it and dump it straight in the ocean as well.

Michelle Cunningham:

Why does it end up in landfill? Is it because people are recycling things that aren't actually recyclable? Or is it something to do with the sorting process?

Steve Peer:

It's it's twofold. So one of them is that the material that we assume can be recycled can't be and that can be because of things like contamination. So a great example is where are you still live in Waterloo, if they were taking flimsy plastic, so things like grocery bags, plastic wrapping that was flimsy, no problem at all, they would take it and recycle it unless it had touched. And I'm not joking meat or cheese. If that plastic had touched meat or cheese, it was considered to be contaminated and therefore couldn't be recycled. And so people that work in the municipalities that actually manually process this stuff, they sort through it manually, and they see something and they realize No, this can't be recycled, because it's been contaminated. contamination lowers the value of the material or makes it completely have no value whatsoever. So part of the great thing that we're doing with the recycling robot is to increase the value of the recyclable material as well. So whatever we're gathering, and let's use aluminum As another example, we're grinding the cans up, and in doing so we're reducing the volume of cans. So we've actually been able to reduce it to 15 to one ratio. So 15 blue bins have been reduced down to one blue bin. And by doing that, cities can do a pickup once a month instead of every single week. So it's more economical for them, and when they do pick it up, the material has a lot higher value because it's already been ground up as well. We're also educating consumers, if you have like a soup cans that's made out of steel and tin, if your municipality recycles them great, but they want to pick it up with no label and they want them rinsed out. Yeah, so you're increasing the value of that material quite a bit, and you're increasing the chances of it being recycled tremendously. Does the robot actually handle that part of it? Or does it like maybe tell the user like, okay, you need to go rinse this out and take off the label. The current incarnation that we have right now from our design specs is that we want the consumer to take the label off and do the rinsing themselves. But we can see down the line, that would be like a valuable part of what the robot could do, we could hook it up to a plumbing system very similar to the way that a refrigerator gets hooked up to a water supply. And then you can get ice and get water from the refrigerator, that the unit itself could do that. I think it would be even great. If once a week that thing could open up your garage door using a garage door opener and march itself out to the curb. So I wouldn't have to take the garbage out if you know whatever. But that's probably way too far. This will be like far into the future when we have flying cars, dogs wearing spacesuits, one of the things that your machine will hopefully do is the grinding it and like making everything smaller. I think that actually could have some really cool impacts just for like the person who actually has the machine like the consumer. Because I know with us like we have a recycling bin just like a blue bin. Yeah, yeah, you have to every few days or something, go take it to the Big Ben and deal with it there. Someone might not have to deal with it at all for maybe a month. Yeah, exactly. So you're just doing it once a month instead of like, every single week. And then like the like the process as a whole, we expect it to be so seamless that people actually look forward to using it. It's like, wow, I have something else I can put in this thing. And they can watch what happens when they put it in? Do I get another reward they can watch it being processed? Is it going to be ground up? This is a video that I can share on social media, you know, the experience we think is going to be vital, it has to be as simple to use as possible, we want a quiet operation. And certainly safety goes along with that as well.

Michelle Cunningham:

So where are you at in the development? Is this more idea design phase? Is it a step beyond that?

Steve Peer:

We have we have our PLC our proof of concept, where we've actually been doing the material processing part of it. And so now we're working with various engineering firms who actually do the MVP, the minimum viable product. And so part of you know, as I mentioned earlier, my job right now is to get the funding so we can get that MVP up and running. But yeah, we're very, very excited. We think it has to be modular, too. So if you're if the region where you're living doesn't do glass recycling, for whatever reason, then you just want to have the glass module in there. And that keeps the cost lower as well for the consumer.

Michelle Cunningham:

Yeah, that's cool. I'm guessing cutting up glass is like a different process than cutting up aluminum.

Steve Peer:

Absolutely, very much so and there'd be different types of grinding and processing depending on where you live as well.

Michelle Cunningham:

Yeah, cuz you were mentioning before we started recording for this episode, we were talking a bit about the different recycling systems in Louisiana. They're like quite different. And I imagine that's the case all over the country.

Steve Peer:

It is very much so you're like going back and forth between Canada and the US living in Toronto that recycling there is very aggressive and also in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, like our Silicon Valley, north, very, very aggressive recycling up there. I when I was living in Waterloo, I had five different receptacles in the kitchen, I had five different receptacles upstairs for different types of materials. So flimsy plastic was one paper cardboard was another aluminum cans was another. And it became like a very intense process on a weekly basis. And even with all of that I would still have to refer to a guide that the city had provided over and over again, it's like, what do I do with this? I have a I have a cup, you know, from Starbucks, which I kind of feel guilty about now, like all those different cups that I that I can went through I consumed. Now I make espresso at home. But yeah, I had to keep referring to like this guide over and over again to figure out what went where. And then you realize certain things that you assume would be recyclable are not recyclable at all things like plastic straws. It's like, well, it's plastic. Why can't it be recycled? And the short answer is most plastic can't be recycled. Or if it can be it can only go through like once or twice. And that's about it. It's so crazy how much stuff must go to landfill. And we just like don't even realize it or it's just so abstracted from us, like separate, where we're not like all that conscious of a day to day. But when you really think about it, it's kind of a scary thing that we're just like, we throw out tons of stuff every week full Ben full Ben, and that's just going in a pile somewhere. And there's like billions of people doing it. Absolutely. It's it's not getting better, it's getting worse. So we're actually consuming more and we're creating more waste. We're not, we're not utilizing less waste, we're creating less waste. We're creating more waste all the time. And part of the reason for that is because of the forces that are driving it companies and individuals, oligarchs, kleptocrats are making far too much money from oil and gas from creating additional packaging. So I try to think in terms of when I purchase something, the first question I ask is, do I need this? Do I really need this? Do I need this new article of clothing? Do I actually need this thing on Amazon? or wherever I'm going to get it from? Lots of times the answer is no. And then I don't get it. And then I'm saving money, which is right. The second thing is if I'm going to purchase something, is it available with something that has less packaging, or even no packaging, a lot of a lot of places now you can actually walk in and get things in bulk, you can go in with your own containers. And you can purchase everything from shampoo conditioner to like olive oil, you can buy like all kinds of different greens and things like that food soap, but without packaging. And just by getting rid of the packaging alone can be a huge savings as far as the amount of waste that gets created. And then the third thing is if I do purchase something, is it part of the circular economy. So in the case of aluminum, any kind of aluminum can assuming that it's it's been rinsed out is 100% recyclable, always Okay, and there's never enough aluminum like no matter how much aluminum we recycle, the demand is always very, very high for more aluminum. And again, depending on where you live steel tin cans that that's like the vegetable soup, the cans of beans, cans of vegetables, they can be recycled, the label comes off, the cans get rinsed out, they can be recycled paper and cardboard. Absolutely. That can be recycled plastic, it depends on the type of plastic. And I don't want to be in a situation where we're letting consumers kind of continue to believe this imaginary scenario where they can just keep buying endless amounts of plastic and it's going to be recycled because it's not. And then you have different types of glass. In certain cases, the the municipal municipalities actually want to pick the bottles up on hold like that they don't want them ground up. They don't want them smashed up. They want to pick up the bottles intact, so they can be actually refilled which is great. It's a refillable container. And refillable containers go a long way in making the earth full of less waste as well.

Michelle Cunningham:

You mentioned before in regards to climate change how like that's really important to you. How does, I guess what's going on right now with waste and recycling contribute to the climate crisis? And how can your machine hopefully make that better?

Steve Peer:

One of the most important things that we're doing with the to be zero recycling robot is of course making recycling simpler, easier. But we're also increasing the amount of material that's being recycled and not ending up in landfills. And this is absolutely critical to what's happening right now with climate change. landfills are actually a major producer of methane gas, and methane can be up to 80 times more powerful in facilitating climate change, like creating like global warming and climate change in general, more than carbon like 80 times more powerful than carbon. So the more material we keep out of landfills, whether it be organic, inorganic or a combination, the less methane that gets produced in these landfills. And in doing so by reducing that methane emission, we can also impact climate change very positively, we can reduce that footprint, also a big part of what we're doing, if we can reduce our footprint, in particular, by using less carbon based fuels. So let's not keep pumping oil and gas out of the ground endlessly, and then having it converted into fuel and having it converted into plastic. Let's find alternatives. Let's find out different like electric cars, electric buses, electric trucks, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be able to fly using like electric jets, you know, or some kind of some type of fuel that's not polluting. Because the footprint from one trip, you know, is going from North America to Europe is absolutely massive, like you create more carbon in the atmosphere with that than you probably do for everything else you do for the rest of the year. It has a huge impact, a huge negative impact, unfortunately, and I like to travel, you know, so there's like, oh, what am I going to do? Am I going to buy carbon offsets, you know, when I fly to Europe? Yeah, no, I mean, it's like it doesn't it doesn't my carbon offsets don't physically remove the carbon, you know, they do things that are that they they support practices that are more sustainable, but they don't reverse the carbon that I just put into the atmosphere from flying to Europe. So So again, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, that we'll have other forms of transportation, I suppose I could be on a ship. You know, we could go on electric boats and go across the ocean like we did years and years ago. It's gonna be a different world. It has to be a different world because it's, it's, as I said, it's it's getting worse and worse right now. Part of the challenge, though, is to fight against the forces that are that are making money from destroying the planet, you know, like, what do we do, we need to put pressure on our politicians, we need to put pressure on our governments, we need to keep each other educated and informed and not believe the propaganda that's being spread. And these campaigns are very sophisticated, that climate change is not real, or climate change is not manmade, we need to push back against all of this. And we need to push back against consumerism as it is today, when I walk into a store, there's been a huge amount of carbon expended in creating these products, putting them on shelves, transporting them from all different countries, even all over the world. Whereas if I buy something locally, if I buy if I purchase something with almost little or no packaging, then that carbon footprint is greatly reduced. So when the in the case of recycling and waste, again, we can we can handle the material, we can put it back in the circular economy. But that doesn't do anything if our system does not also help to get people to change their consumption habits. And we want to make it fun. And as I mentioned earlier, too, we want to actually reward people for making those changes as well.

Michelle Cunningham:

So that's where like the gamification comes in is in helping I guess, educate people and know what, what's actually happening with all the products and packaging and stuff that they're buying and where it goes after. You know, they've used it.

Steve Peer:

Yeah, at the same time that Michelle, I'm also a realist, you know, I don't want to get too preachy, if you get too preachy, it turns people off, you know, it's like, Hey, what are you doing? Although, maybe that will actually work really? Well. Put that into the experience the apple wake you up in the middle of the night, you bought four plastic bottles, man, I don't know. It just annoy people to the point where they're like, Oh, my God, I don't I never want to hear that voice. Again.

Michelle Cunningham:

I'm imagining your like, your screen on your robot having this like nagging mascot character is just there to be like, No, don't do it.

Steve Peer:

I know. But it would have to be like so nagging that would actually irritate people. And I think I just demonstrated that with my own voice. But I think different people, different people respond to different, you know, types of feedback, you know, so if they get if they get rewarded, if they're told, hey, you're doing a great job, things like that. People will respond positively to that. If there's a financial incentive, if there's, you know, games, prizes, whatever it happens to be coupons, discounts, promotions, people will respond positively to that as well. We're very interested in learning kind of like what drives people. I've already seen pushback, even just from, you know, like, the good recycling programs that are out there, the cities will say, when you put an aluminum cannon, please rinse it out first. And I see on Twitter, people are like, are you gonna pay my water bill? It's like, Dude, this is not about you know, a couple of dollars a month extra in your water bill, this is about the planet like needs you to make changes, like it's it's not an option anymore, it has to happen. But that that same person, you know, would probably if they got a tax incentive, even from the city for using the to be zero recycling robot, and be like, Oh, yeah, this robots, you know, actually saving me money on my property tax every single year. I'm saving 12 $100. I think I better you know, rinse that can out and it would be just become second nature at that point.

Michelle Cunningham:

I know, the robot is still under development. But yeah, Who is it for? Like who would be your customer?

Steve Peer:

We can see all, this is like where I get really excited. We see a global application. Residential, certainly. So you could have one in your kitchen, you can have one in your garage, have one upstairs, depending on the size

Michelle Cunningham:

The coffee idea makes me realize, like, if of the unit and the types of modules that are there. Certainly offices would be ideal, because there's a lot of consumption that happens in office environments, people are bringing fast food in, which is another huge creator of waste. Yeah, don't buy plastic forks and things like that. If anyone you know, just try to use things that are reusable, like metal implements and metal straws even. But offices are a big market, there's no question that it would be even something that companies would love to have. Because you could attract talent of people that are interested in sustainability in the circular economy and would also help companies to retain that talent once they have them as well. And then retailers, we think if they were to include the robot in that retail experience, so if you go into a coffee shop, and you get your coffee, and then when you're done, you can go inside the unit because I'm assuming that cup has been manufactured in such a way that it can be reused properly, or recycled properly, then that would be a big draw to get customers into your retail locations. We think that large residential multi unit like apartments, we'd have a larger version of the robot that would be there. So there's all different types of applications that are just waiting to happen with us we see a global market and all different levels before the pandemic. We are going to try this out in offices first. But then since most people are actually working from home right now, we've actually switched tracks and we're going to do our tests in residential units first, and then expand into offices afterwards. you had one of these in a coffee shop, it really incentivizes the coffee shop to make sure whatever cups they're providing are recyclable.

Steve Peer:

Absolutely, yeah.

Michelle Cunningham:

Then they can show like, hey, like, Oh, this will actually be recycled. Oh, you can look and see how it's being shredded down into whatever happens with it. Yeah.

Steve Peer:

Exactly. I think it would be so cool. And they could share it on social media, hey, look, what I just did. I went and had a coffee. But afterwards, I made sure that whatever I purchased, it would actually went back into the circular economy. So please press the like button on my social media post, because I'm awesome. You know, stuff like that. I think it would create like a great experience. And again, we want to be careful that we're not greenwashing. Like, if we when we say we're going to have something that's recyclable, we want to ensure that it is recyclable. As you say, Michelle, if it's a container that goes into the unit, it has to be determined beforehand that it can actually be recycled properly, we actually see a huge revenue stream from that as well. So we can co brand with various product manufacturers that they're actually using packaging or reducing that packaging, putting the to be zero logo on the outside of the of the product, then that would be that we've already determined beforehand that this is something that can go into the robot and actually be recycled. And that would be another incentive for consumers to purchase that product.

Michelle Cunningham:

Yeah, very, very cool. It is, how do you get from where you're at now to running these tests? I guess you mentioned they would probably be in in homes.

Steve Peer:

Yeah, definitely. So I'm doing these pitch contests right now, going out. And we're looking at getting venture capital, we're actually thinking now that maybe even crowdfunding is the way to go. Because we've seen a couple of initiatives from a crowdfunding perspective, just take off like crazy. And we like we ran a survey on Twitter saying, Hey, would you be definitely interested or maybe interested in purchasing this unit like our to be zero.io? robot? and 60% of the respondents on the Twitter survey said either definitely, or maybe it was like, split between like, 30%, definitely 30%, maybe. And then another 30% said, definitely not. But I get very excited over that. 60%. Yeah, so we think that if we take the route as far as crowdfunding is concerned, then we would have the funding that we need to go ahead with the engineering firms that we're partnering with, and then move ahead and develop that, that MVP, the minimum viable product to get it out there, test it in various areas, pick some very specific markets to launch it in first, because every market is gonna have a different type of recycling program. Hopefully, we can partner with that municipality as well to get anyone that's using the robot a tax incentive. And then something we haven't talked about yet is the data part of it too. So there's a ton of data that will be coming back from the robot. So this can allow us to understand certain things as far as different trends are we seeing, once the robot goes into a home, maybe there's a high amount of usage of plastic water bottles, maybe we can see that trending downwards, you know, the data itself, we think has got a huge market as well. But we want to be very careful, because we're also very privacy conscious, we don't want to start selling this data wholesale to data brokers, and then have that data abused in any way, shape, or form. And this is a very personal thing for me as well. I'm a very privacy oriented individual. I think that our data that's being collected right now through various social media platforms, etc. We're not even aware of what we're what they're collecting. But I can tell you, I'm aware. So if I put my face on a Facebook platform, any any Facebook platform, a photo of my face, it's going to analyze it, and it's going to extract a ton of metadata, what's my intent, how was My health, all of this information that they can analyze, because they can compare it to a ton of other baseline factors, I may be getting sick, and they're not even going to tell me but they will tell them, you know, insurance companies and so forth, or not Facebook directly, of course, they won't share that. But the partners that are on the board of directors, and I won't name names, they, they they'll take the data and that data will be used and correlated against you the websites, you go to everything that you do or say, Facebook actually patented, a technology where when you take a photo of yourself in your home, it recognizes all of the objects behind you and it can source them, oh, you bought that from IKEA or you got that from Sears. You paid this from that, and it becomes more data points that they correlate. So I've seen cases where big data is being used to prevent people from renting houses from getting healthcare. And in the case of to be zero. I don't want anyone to suffer or have any negative consequences from the data that we're collecting. The data that we're collecting has value. And it's part of our business model. But in no way shape or form. Should that ever be used in a negative way against people that are providing that data and privacy 100% has got to be respected.

Michelle Cunningham:

Wow. But that's kind of wild. Some of the things going on behind the scenes. I mean, I knew that, you know, they're using a ton of our data, like, for example, I have kids and Facebook knew I was trying to get pregnant before I told, you know, before we told anyone. It starts showing you those ads, and you're like, Okay, well, they've somehow figured this out by, I don't know, whatever they're doing behind the scenes, it's totally wild. So yeah, definitely get that point that want that data to, to like, I guess not be used in the wrong way?

Steve Peer:

Absolutely.

Michelle Cunningham:

But there are some really, really cool things you could do with it. Because even just the your example, like if you're, someone's recycling a ton of plastic bottles, now we could you knowing that as a company could like suggest even Hey, like, here's an alternative to using plastic bottles. Like other ways to, I guess, get them to change their habits or provide information that might help them change their habits?

Steve Peer:

Yeah, I agree. 100%, you know, and if I mean, you could even argue that, like, there's no one that's really kind of collecting, like, like big data when it comes to like, like our, like our waste part of it, when we're there. They're, they're collecting it now, when we're making our purchases all over the place they're collecting when we're buying, what we're buying, how much we're paying for things is how is this trending? How does this affect our overall profiles, but they're not collecting it on the other side, when we're disposing of whatever we've consumed? Right, that in itself is a huge, huge market for that data. But I want that data, you know, to be using in a positive way. So if someone is going through, you know, like medicines or something, we don't want that to be, like available for someone to exploit, you know, maybe there's even opportunities to help people, if you're going through like a lot of wine bottles on a daily basis or something, it's like a better slowdown little or, you know, or can I come to your parties, because, you know, something like that. But but I think you understand, I mean, I make I make jokes about whatever. But you know, like, our data is out there. And it can be used in so many positive ways to help people but it's not it's it's kind of like, well, wherever the money the Fast Money is, you know, it's and that's generally by exploiting people as opposed to helping them.

Michelle Cunningham:

Which is too bad. Yeah, I'm sure there could be a lot of good that comes from it. And this definitely seems like an opportunity to get data that is, must be incredibly difficult, if not impossible to get with the current recycling system. Because by the time even if the recycling centers collecting data on what's going in there, it's already all mixed. So you can't individually help anyone. That's where it's at that way everything's just been aggregated. So totals.

Steve Peer:

Yep, exactly. And totals, and of course, the correlations that go along with that as well. So it's like any, any kind of data point that they can get, they'll they'll collect at time of day, like any kind of metadata, even a photo that you put up, they'll grab what's called the Exif information from that the type of camera, the device, the aperture, or in the case of your of your phone, it knows all the different device information about your phone, as well as geo location, which is also something that gets abused tremendously. So I want to make sure that our robot is ethical. We want to make sure that we're being transparent as a company, we're not going to make promises that are not true. If we say we're going to recycle plastic. It's because that type of plastic in particular, that very specific type of plastic can actually be recycled and doesn't end up in as a kind of a greenwash where it gets collected by the city and then ends up in landfill anyway. Because then we're not doing consumers a favor, we're not doing the world a favor, we're allowing them to kind of continue on thinking that they don't have to change any of their consumption habits, right.

Michelle Cunningham:

So as you as a team are trying to raise money to continue your development, what are you looking for in investors? It's it seems like you care a lot about certain things in terms of making ethical robot and whatnot. Is that something that you're considering with the investors you choose?

Steve Peer:

100%. Great, great question to Michelle. So the VCs, the venture capital firms that we would like to partner with are ones that put first of all understand like sustainability, clean tech, ESG, environmental stewardship, that they're these are critical investments, where we are with to be zero is a higher risk investment. And part of my job is to lower that risk by saying things like, Hey, we're doing research, we're showing that there's a huge demand for this product. We're seeing competitors starting to emerge globally with kind of like similar concepts and similar ideas, that shows that there's a market for this and it lowers the risk. The the VCs we want to work with, we want to partner with over the long term, we understand at some point, you know, some of them want to have an exit. And and that's normal. I mean, that's what investments are all about. I want to put money into something I want to make an increase in investment, capital increase, and then I want to be able to exit either partially or 100%. But we don't want companies to get in there and say, oh, wow, you're collecting all of this data, you know, from consumers that we don't have from the waste part. Have it and we think that we can exploit this and make a huge amount of money and make people's lives worse in the process that that's not the kind of company we want to work with. And I think that that's very doable as well. I think that they're especially right now there's a lot more emphasis not only on awareness of sustainability and climate change, but also privacy issues as well. It's happened over in Europe, it's happened over in Canada, and it's starting to happen here in the US, starting off in California as well. So privacy controls are, are coming whether, you know, companies agree with it or not, or whether it affects their bottom line. And then in terms of again, like the bigger powers that are out there, people have made billions and billions and billions of dollars by polluting by drilling oil and gas. And at one point, that's all we had, you know, if you wanted to get in a car, or if you wanted to get on a truck, or a ship or something, all we had were these fossil fuels. But today, there are so many other options, we realize we can heat our homes differently, we can use very, very clean sources of energy. So let's make sure that these are competitive, they can't they can't compete. If we're subsidizing oil and gas, billions and billions of dollars in tax dollars, mind you, okay, like on a monthly basis, people will say that they don't want their tax dollars spent on you know, things like social programs and everything else. And yet, it doesn't even occur to them that billions of dollars of their taxes are being given away wholesale to the oil and gas industry. Big farm big farm companies as well, with things like corn. That's why corn syrup got so cheap, and it got you know, because that's why when you see soft drinks now, which is one of the worst polluters in the world, by far, you know, as far as plastic containers, and I'm looking at you Coke and Pepsi.

Michelle Cunningham:

The two liter bottles like those plastic containers?

Steve Peer:

Oh, yeah, any any kind of plastic container that you're getting from Coke, you know, like, it's, it's gonna almost certainly end up in a landfill, it's not going to be recycled, it just doesn't. There's just various that the percentage that actually gets recycled is so small, it's like it's barely a rounding error. Yeah, wild, it is wild. It's crazy. It's the Wild West. And that makes it exciting. And it makes it challenging. And, and it also makes it something that we have to be very aware we need to be passionate about, we need to harness that energy that we have. And we need to move forward. And as soon as you and I finish this podcast, you know, we're going to go back to our daily lives, whatever it is that we were doing beforehand, thinking about things in terms of what what's for dinner, what are we doing tomorrow? What work do I still have to get done? But hopefully we can also, if we have something in our homes that provide us with a little bit of positive feedback, saying, hey, you did this really well, you did that really? Well. You recycled this, you recycle that, that that behavior that we have on a daily basis where we're not just kind of like going on autopilot, we're actually making some positive changes that have positive impact. Totally, because I think I've said this before in other episodes that I feel like people want to do what's right for the environment. But convenience is like a huge thing that gets in the way, just like the way our society runs isn't built to be environmentally sustainable. And so we need to give people simplicity and like ease in doing that and reminders. And I think a product like yours sounds like it would really do that it both helps educate you and remind you of like the right things to do and also makes it really easy to do them. Just drop a cannon and it'll get sorted. And we will tell you if it is not the right thing to put in here. And that will educate you for maybe not buying that thing next time. Exactly. Or even here some alternatives. Yeah, it's like, oh, this thing that you bought, you can actually buy it over here at a different retailer. And the and the container is actually refillable, as opposed to not being refillable. Yeah, or, you know, you maybe you weren't aware of this, but in your town, there's actually three stores that do zero packaging, they're like bulk stores, you can go in and actually make purchases and not have to purchase any packaging that you even have to think about recycling. And that will be part of the system as well, you would go back and say, Hey, I bought something with no packaging and ding ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, you get rewarded for that too.

Michelle Cunningham:

Totally. So there's still a ways to go for the 2B0 robot to come to market, what do you think are the challenges that you'll have to overcome to get there?

Steve Peer:

So in the case of engineering, we're going to need to develop something which is modular, which is specific to each region where the unit is actually being utilized. And so we'll need to pick like a kind of a target first that maybe the city of Waterloo just because I'm familiar with it personally, I know the recycling, I know what can be recycled, but can't be I've got contacts with a region of Waterloo that work in waste management. So we may start off in an area where we're kind of like we're mature Running Start, and then develop the system saying, Okay, if we're going to be in Waterloo, what do we want this robot to use? What do you want it to take in? How is it going to be processed? Once it gets processed? What happens to it after that? Are we actually increasing the value of the material in in doing what we're doing with the robot? What type of experience are we creating? So we want to focus on again, that addictive game to find user experience, that's, that's rewarding. And then look at other types of incentives. So tax incentives from the city, financial intensive sort from from partner companies that basically promote with us, giving them discounts, giving them even financial rewards as well. The system has to be quiet, it has to be very, very safe, it has to follow all the local rules and regulations as far as, like everything from electric to Hey, what happens if the cat climbs in the unit, you know, like, the system should know immediately? don't recycle the cat, you know? Yeah. And we have a cat and I can see her going in there. You know, she'll try to get in in a heartbeat. She'll be like, what's this all about? Oh, is that a door, can I get inside this door, and then she'll wait behind me as I'm putting a cannon and then she'll jump in ahead of me. So we need the thing to recognize this as a cat don't recycle the cat. I'm kind of making a bit of a joke. But I mean, you've got you know, children as well, different different types of people in the household that consider, and we want to make sure the unit is 100% safe. From a business perspective, it has to be affordable from the consumer side, either it's affordable, because we're selling it at a price point that it's like a no brainer. Or they're getting a tax incentive, that makes it a no brainer that they would go ahead and make that purchase. But it has to be profitable for us as well. We're a profit oriented company. And we can see additional margins coming in from things like servers and supplies for the unit. And also the data part of it. And then as I mentioned earlier, the cobranding partnerships as well, we can see a revenue stream coming in from that. So we do have our work cut out for us, once we get the funding, it's probably going to be at about a year, you know, before we have that first MVP, and we'll almost certainly start off with aluminum only. So we want it to there's a there's a whole bunch of different sensors, by the way, Michelle, when you put the unit in are those are the recyclable material in the unit. It has visual sensors or optical sensors. But it also has spec telegraphy, as well, it's got mass measurements, it has even acoustical measurements as well. And then once it recognizes that, then it can process it if for whatever reason it doesn't recognize it, we do have a barcode scanner on the outside of the robot, that you can actually scan the consumer barcode. So it's like 100%, we know for sure. And if all things fail than the touchscreen, just touch on the touchscreen. This is the material This is the product. And then the robot will know from there. And it's going to have to learn to so this is actually part of the question, you'd ask me what has to be done, we're developing Training Center sets for the the artificial intelligence engine, the training sets to be able to recognize this material as it goes in. It's not going to happen overnight, it's going to be trial and error at first. But the more the system takes in the smarter it gets to the point where when we have a few 100, you know, households, we're going to have a huge amount of data coming in and being able to recognize the material a lot better.

Michelle Cunningham:

Yeah, that's interesting that as more people use it, it will get smarter, which totally makes sense. Yeah, well, going forward, and then trying to get through all those different things and bring it to market is there anything that our listeners can do to help?

Steve Peer:

We always want feedback. So we're on Twitter, we have a website, which is to be zero, the number two, the letter B, the number zero.io. And you're more than welcome to contact us on via our website on social media. So Twitter on Instagram, we do have a Facebook page. But we're not really utilizing that Facebook page for, again, the moral reasons that I mentioned earlier. And we're also on LinkedIn, we're on crunchbase, we're on Angel. And we're also on product line. So these are a number of different avenues that we can, you know, elicit feedback, we want to hear from people because we have our own ideas. But we want to make sure those ideas are in line with expectations of what consumers want to see as well. And we're funding I mean, if any VCs are listening, please make contact with us please reach out we're reaching out as well. We just haven't hit the right VCs yet. And as I said earlier, we probably are going to take the route of crowdfunding and when we do go that route, which seems very likely, then anyone listening contribute you know put put your put your money in into something that is actually going to benefit not only yourselves but the planet as a whole. And I can't put it better than that I don't think be selfish. Help yourself first, but then help the planet.

Michelle Cunningham:

Well, before we sign off, we'd like to end every episode with the toast to the earth. What do you hope for our planet's future?

Steve Peer:

I have a I have a glass of water. It's not in a plastic cup. And I'm going to drink a toast and say that I would like to see our world have less pollution, less carbon, let's reverse the carbon that that's getting into the atmosphere. let's reverse our lifestyles that are facilitating that carbon, carbon going into the atmosphere. And let's think in terms of what's better for democracy, what are the sources of truth that I should be listening to and an echo chamber is not a source of truth. And just because you read it somewhere on Facebook doesn't mean that it's true. I would like to see us thinking more in terms of not only how can I benefit myself and my family, but I will benefit and my family will benefit if the people around me are also benefiting as well. And because we are a global society, we have one little tiny blue.is Carl Sagan, a tiny, tiny, tiny little blue.in, an inconceivably large universe. It's our little tiny blue.is immensely small speck. And yet, we get caught up in our daily lives, we get caught up in this family issue or that work issue and it's stressful, but then we realize they're they're bigger and better things that are out there that we could all be working towards. So is it am I talking about utopia? Sure, I'm talking about topia, utopia can never be achieved, but we can certainly work towards it. You know, there's always going to be issues. But let's do things that are going to benefit all of us in in not continue the way that we're doing things because the technologies and tools that are out there right now, they're making too much money for making things worse, let's kind of reverse that. Not even kind of, let's definitely reverse that.

Michelle Cunningham:

Thanks for listening to the show today. If you love the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen to podcasts. You can learn more about 2B0 by visiting 2B0.io. That's the number 2, B, number 0 dot i-o or visit our show notes at toastedearth.com for more links and details about this episode. If you're currently working on an idea, company, nonprofit or movement benefit the environment send us an email at hello@toastedearth.com. We would love to hear from you. Raise a glass to the earth everyone. It's the only one we've got.