App tells Ottawa residents what kind of trash to put at the curb

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The city has launched an app to tell people what kind of trash — blue box, black box, green bin and residual waste — is being collected each week.Chris Mikula / The Ottawa Citizen

Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun

Determined to make recycling easier for residents, the City of Ottawa has launched an app that simply tells people what type of trash to put at their curbs each week.

Coun. David Chernushenko, chair of council’s environment and climate protection committee, called it the “one-stop shop” for garbage.

The app, which is called Ottawa Collection Calendar, was produced by ReCollect Systems and is available on Apple and Android devices.

It’s hard to say if an app will boost the city’s waste diversion rate.

The information is already on the city’s website, which includes a calendar that tells people what kind of garbage is being picked up on their collection days. Plus, there’s at least one app already created by a developer using city open data on the collection schedules.

Chernushenko said the city needs to “check off the ‘easy’ box” in helping people navigate the collection schedule.

The city suddenly has a heightened focus on garbage programs, particularly after community group Waste Watch Ottawa discovered the city’s diversion rate was low compared to other Ontario cities and regions.

Just as concerning, only about half of Ottawa residents are using their green bins to divert organic waste.

An app won’t help people figure out when to put out their green bins since the city empties the containers each week. The app will, however, help people figure out when to put out their trash cans, blue boxes and black boxes since those pickups are biweekly.

The city also has an opportunity to push more waste-related messages to residents through the app. For example, a message currently on the app tells people there’s a hazardous waste depot on Saturday at the Barrhaven snow dump on Strandherd at Kennevale drives.

Chernushenko was surprised to learn only about 66,000 people had signed up for a reminder service through the city’s website. He hopes the new app will give people another option to keep tabs on the collection schedule, rather than looking down the street to see what bins neighbours are putting out.

According to the city, there was no additional cost for the app since it was created under an existing service agreement with ReCollect Systems.

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