Recycling Plastics Just Got Easier, Courtesy of Municipal Mobile Apps

Recycling Plastics Just Got Easier, Courtesy of Municipal Mobile Apps

One day consumers shall have products free from harmful single-use plastic, but until that day arrives, we can do our part to reduce and reuse where we can. Plastic pollution is a global issue that affects each of us, and thankfully local communities are adjusting to meet the demand for solutions.

The future is green

Oscar the recycling robot at YVR airport is a fantastic glimpse into the future of recycling because it’s coupled with smart technology. The AI powered camera can distinguish trash from recyclables and direct people which bin to use. This makes YVR the first airport in the world to deploy this tech to sort recycling, and pushes one giant step closer to zero waste.

There’s an app for that

Until we can convince Oscar to move into our homes, we’ve got mobile apps that can help sort everyday items. Recycling codes can be confusing or difficult to read, and there are plenty of household items that many of us aren’t sure what to do with. Can an empty squeeze tube of toothpaste be recycled in the blue bin? What about a jar of face cream? Apps like Port Coquitlam’s Sort & Report makes finding the answers to these questions convenient and kinda fun, especially for kids. Sort & Report makes recycling more like a scavenger hunt than a chore, and in many households it’s the responsibility kids and teens love to claim.

Sort & Report

As PoCo residents, we love the Sort & Report as a one-stop oracle that offers practical answers for the random recyclables most of us have at home. Come with us, we’ll show you how easy it is to figure out what you can put in your blue bin or what needs to be brought to a special recycle station. 

First off, the app is a dream for keeping organized because of the awesome calendar tab that reminds us of holidays and even lets us know which bins to put out on the curb.

sort & report

Toggling to the recycling wizard tab is where we can search for each item we’re looking to recycle. The categories are practical and the search is powerful.

sort & reportsort & report

As you can see, Ziplocs don’t get curbside pickup at home, they have to go to a separate plastic recycling center. The map inside the app makes it really simple to locate the depot near you.

Food containers can be some of the most confusing items for people to recycle at home, and that’s one of the reasons we love this app so much. It helps make recycling convenient by offering quick answers to questions many of us have when clearing the table after dinner or when we’re in a rush. 

sort & report

One of our favorite parts of PoCo’s Sort & Report app is the waste sorting game. Challenge yourself to see if you’ve mastered the art of how to sort recycling into each bin and let us know your score!

sort & report

Local municipal apps to check out

Don’t live in PoCo? Don’t worry. There are plenty of mobile apps we can download to make recycling convenient:

  • Recycle BC has a broad reach since it includes the Kootenays and the Okanagan in addition to the Lower Mainland. 
  • If you’re on the North Shore, download North Vancouver CityCollect to stay in the loop about recycling, green can and garbage schedules. 
  • Folks in the City of Vancouver should check out VanCollect’s waste wizard search engine and sign up for collection reminders.
  • Next time you’re out and in search of a recycling bin, pull up iRecycle and locate the closest recycling/garbage bins near you

Let us know what mobile apps you use to manage your recycling at home or when you’re out and about. 

In the meantime, come see what’s new at Fulfill Shoppe!

Read more:

3 Ways to go Plastic Free this July

How Consumers Win Convenience and Quality in the Circular Economy

Why Consumers Can Let Themselves Off the Hook for their Carbon Footprint