My-Waste App, North Shore Recycling Program's Innovative approach to waste reduction

Monday, April 23, 2012

As online communications and social media platforms increase in prevalence and cultural significance, we are now entering what the founder of the Webby Awards, Tiffany Shlian , aptly describes as a new stage of evolution as a ‘hyper-connected’ society. In particular, our ‘global village’ is rapidly relying more heavily on communication through Smartphones, i.e., mobile phones with computer-like features, and, in the last year, this type of mobile phone has become the fastest growing category of phone purchases . The implications of this increased usage of Smartphones are that humans are experiencing, exploring and understanding the world more and more with the use of a mobile computer interface.

How does this new method of navigating our world relate to how we address climate change as a global society? With the development of portable computer-like devices, we now have the technology to create interactive programs that can follow people wherever they go. These programs, referred to as ‘apps’, can be developed to inform and guide behaviour in a manner that contributes to mitigation of climate change. In reference to an MC3 case, the City of North Vancouver now has an app that informs residents how to properly recycle and dispose of waste. Developed by the North Shore Recycling Program, My-waste App provides information on waste pick-up schedules (with options of auto-reminders), how to prepare waste for pick-up and options for recycling.

My-Waste App provides people with at-their-fingertip guidance on how to most efficiently dispose of waste. Waste reduction leads to decreases in methane producing decomposition in landfills and a reduction in mining and producing of new resources, both of these processes being large contributors to Green House Gases. In this manner, a relatively simple computer program in our hyper-connected society can become a tool for guiding behavioural changes that address a very complex global issue.

Rob Newell