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San Francisco Toughens Recycling Laws, Creates iPhone App

| Written by Brenda Platt | No Comments | Updated on Jun 24, 2009 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/san-francisco-toughens-recycling-laws-creates-iphone-app/

San Francisco recently accepted more responsibility for its waste by increasing recycling requirements.

The Board of Supervisors passed new recycling and mandatory composting rules on Tuesday in a 9-to-2 vote. The city already diverts 72 percent of the 2.1 million tons of waste its residents produce each year away from landfills and into recycling and composting programs. The new ordinance will help the city toward its goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2020, said Jared Blumenfeld, director of the city’s Department of the Environment.

Under the new ordinance, residents will be issued three mandatory garbage bins: a black one for trash, a blue one for recyclables and a green one for compost.

Garbage collectors who spot orange peels or aluminum soda cans in a black trash bin will leave a note reminding the owner how to separate his trash properly. Anyone found repeatedly flouting recycling protocol will be issued fines of $100 for small businesses and single-family homes and up to $1,000 for large businesses and multiunit buildings. The city has put a moratorium on all fines until 2011 while residents learn the ropes.

Anticipating the confusion and difficulties of complying with the new law, the City tapped into its e-nnovative reputation with an iPhone App called “EcoFinder.” The app was already available online but now uses the iPhone location awareness to be more effective.

Residents can now find out where to recycle or properly dispose of materials using our convenient, location-based mobile application. Instead of dumping old electronics or furniture on the sidewalk, the EcoFinder iPhone app tells you where these materials should go, based on your location.

This iPhone app is a great example of San Francisco embracing the emerging philosophy of Government 2.0 — using web and mobile technologies to provide more effective processes for delivering government services. By sharing our EcoFinder database via an XML data feed, we’ve been able to develop the iPhone app with community partners, as well as provide accurate information to Earth911.com’s national recycling database.

About Brenda Platt

Brenda Platt is the Co-Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and heads up its Sustainable Plastics and Composting Makes $en$e projects.

Contact Brenda   |   View all articles by Brenda Platt