July 2020 / Transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle


Zilch is a platform created to reduce food waste, facilitate composting, and encourage sustainability management through achievements, rewards, and accessibility to resources.
Skills Involved

User Research
UI Design

Softwares used

Adobe XD
Invision Studio

Problem Definition

There are 11 zip codes in Fort Worth, TX that lie within an identified U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food desert. Social organizations such as CoAct, Grow South East Fort Worth, and Material Management of Fort Worth are addressing food and economic insecurity through Urban Farming. However, urban farms lack proper soil for crops year round.

Another problem in the U.S. is food waste. U.S. restaurants generate an estimated 22 to 33 billion pounds of food waste each year. Approximately 4 to 10 percent of food purchased by restaurants is wasted before reaching the consumer. Drivers of food waste at restaurants include oversized portions , inflexibility of chain store management, and extensive menu choices. Kitchen culture and staff behavior such as over-preparation of food, improper ingredient storage and failure to use food scraps and trimmings can also contribute to food loss.

The Target Market

The market section that Zilch aims towards are restaurants and grocery store managers.

These businesses produce a lot of food waste that do not reach consumers. Users would benefit from helping their community and gaining positive marketing recognition with their customers for their efforts towards sustainability.

Our Team

Our team consists of six designers from Texas Christian University. Design and Business student Lindsay Browne, Design students Courtney Shaw, Becca Lang, and Elizabeth Ireland, and Design and Computer Science students Derek Bowers, and myself, Jesse Pham.

Our initiative towards a Compost Application started with Dialexa, a Dallas Technology Research, Design, & Creation Firm, where we participated in their Education Program. After Dialexa EDU, I lead our team's continued research to better solve food waste and urban farming's struggle to prosper.


We start tackling the problem at hand by investing a hefty amount of time into conducting interviews and looking at pre-existing resources for sustainable programs as well as food waste reduction programs provided by both the government sector and the private sector.


We conducted interviews with individuals that were knowledgeable of the problem and are actively addressing solutions.

We interviewed Jesse Herrera, founder & chief visionary of CoAct, a social impact organization in North Texas. Jesse has a career in architecture, construction, and public real estate. He proactively works to solve complex problems to implement scalable social impact. We discussed problems that farmers face, food deserts, current urban farming in South East Fort Worth, and was put in contact with local farmers.

We also interviewed Brittany Rosenberg, sustainability and program coordinator that works for the city of Fort Worth with a history in government administration, project management, and grant application. She is also a leader in the Keep Fort Worth Beautiful Project. We primarily talked through a current running a pilot program with the city involving restaurants and coffee shops.

Empathy Mapping

After conducting research and interviews, we created empathy maps, user personas, wireframes, and high-fidelity prototype.

User Persona

We created a persona based off of our empathy map. We discovered pain points, goals, and needs after we went through this process. We learned that we need to incentivize and educate our users about composting.

Design Solution


After learning of our user's needs, we mapped out product flow and features that address out user's pain points, needs, and goals.


Screen Designs



  • Our application prototype was well-received by government officials and received the comment, "This would make our city better".
  • Our application also addresses current pain points in Fort Worth's Community composting pilot such as: recording data for compost collectioin, gaining government funding and donations, and incentivizing more local businesses.

Meet The Team