Frequently Asked Questions - Recycling


Do I have to scan everything I throw away?

Nope, that would be annoying!  If you don't want to scan something, just throw it away and Garbi works like a regular trash can.  What's the Mitch Hedberg joke, "Escalators can never break, they just become stairs?"

What are Garbi's Shipping, Return, and Warranty Policies? 

Shipping: Typically Garbi ships within 5-7 business days. We currently only ship to the USA (International is coming soon, sign up now to get onto our waitlist!)

Warranty & Return Policy:
We want you to love your Garbi, and if you DON'T, we're happy to take it back, no questions asked! Current users can contact support via their mobile app.

Here are some more specifics about our policies:

Within 90 Days: We'll take it back for a 100% refund, and even pay for shipping if you fill out our Improvement Survey!

After 90 days: You're 100% covered for anything electrical & most mechanical issues. Unfortunately, we don't cover lost or stolen units (but if lost, we would be interested in hearing exactly *how* you lost a kitchen trash can!)

After 5 Years: We are obviously big into recycling, so we offer a discounted price on new units in exchange for returning your old units. Whenever possible, we refurbish units to prevent them from ending up in landfills, so if your Garbi breaks after 5 years, you can return it to us for a discounted price.


Does Garbi have a Subscription Fee?

Nope!  And we're the same price as most traditional luxury trash cans.  😇

We make money from helping CPG's better understand how their products are being discarded.  The data is totally anonymous, and you can opt out if you'd like.


How Does Garbi Work?

Magic! ;)

Just kidding, it's the same computer vision technology they're using in self-driving cars (so, pretty close to magic!). 

When you hold up the item, Garbi's camera takes a picture of the item, crops out the background, and looks for text, logos, colors, shape, etc. It then analyzes this against all the other items it has seen, and even searches the internet for similar images to compare it to.

Once the item has been identified, it searches sustainability databases to determine whether or not the product is recycleable. All of this happens in about 3 seconds, after which Garbi displays the recycleability via the LEDs, and uploads the image to your mobile app.  


How long does it take to scan things?

About 3 seconds.


How Well Does Garbi Recognize Items?

Better every day! Garbi uses Computer Vision, the same technology as self driving cars (unlike self-driving cars, if Garbi messes up nobody gets hurt 😇).  With this technology, every scanned item adds to it's database which increases it's accuracy, so scan away!

If you want to see how Garbi views & recognizes items, check out this video!


Do I need Barcodes? What Items Can't I scan? 

Garbi does not require barcodes, which means it works on everything from socks to sponges to apple cores. 

Garbi doesn't work well on large items that wouldn't fit inside your kitchen trash can anyway, such as lumber, or items with high variety, such as clothing. 


What bags work with Garbi's bins?

This is definitely a personal matter, so use your Garbi as you see fit! But if you're looking for our personal recommendations:

For improved recycling, we recommend not using a bag.  If you're worried that the bin will get dirty, you most likely should not be recycling that particular item (or rinsing it first). 

For trash, we recommend these compostable bags which come in all the right sizes for your bin and are slightly better for the environment, but any standard kitchen trash bag in the 10-14gal range will fit nicely.  

What do the different color lights mean?

Probably our most frequent question!  Each Garbi comes with a cheat sheet magnet, but most users report that they figure it out within the first 2 weeks.

  • White: Scanning
  • Purple: Item Uploaded to App
  • Red: Error, please check the app
  • Yellow: Unknown recycleability
  • Blue: Item is recycleable
  • Pink: Item is not recycleable
  • Green: Item is compostable (can be turned off in the app for regions w/o composting)

Should I be concerned about Privacy?

Heck yes! Privacy is super important, especially in our increasingly connected lives.

Oh, you meant about Garbi? Well, still yes, but we do everything we can to protect your privacy. Garbi doesn't have a microphone, and the camera can only see what's directly in front of it, and only when you've pressed the button on the lid. All your items are securely hashed (whatever that means) separately from your profile, so that even if our database is compromised the hackers can't associate the images with you personally.

How Well Does the Recycling Feature Work?

It's already 2x better than the national average (33% 😢), and it gets better every day! Our dream is to make it work perfectly, but it's super complicated as every county has different recycling abilities, and there's no centralized database for us to pull from.  But with each item you scan, Garbi's software algorithm's get more accurate, so keep scanning!!!