OneTouchRecycle – OAK submission to Apps4Ottawa

There is a need in Ottawa for a mobile app that makes recycling locally super simple, giving you specific details of where you can recycle and exactly what you can recycle. For a G7 capital, Ottawa’s recycling footprint – and to a huge extent our recycling awareness – is frankly quite appalling. To think of it, you can still not easily find recycling in commercial “ready to go premium beverage” shops and other recycling heavy businesses should/has to change. It is our opinion that a mobile application in this domain will offer environmentally conscious citizens greater choice and empower them to drive change/innovation in this domain and it will help convert those who are still on the edge of jumping on to the “Eco-Friendly Recycling Conscious” bandwagon.

Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iTouch, OneTouchRecycle will help Ottawa residents locate the nearest location to recycle. Whether you need to recycle a bottle of juice you just finished enjoying, or an invitation card that has already served its purpose or motor oil that you no longer want to drain down your toilet or rechargeable batteries/paint that you know will cause havoc for generations to come OneTouchRecycle will connect you with real, local options. Local businesses or organizations can opt in through an easy to access web and mobile interface, or an end user can add a location through their mobile device on the go to add to a database that will also be made public to create more possibilities around open data. One of the challenges currently with building such an application is the current lack of open data in this domain. It is our hope that this application would allow us to create a local comprehensive database of recycling and proper disposal locations for multiple products at the touch of a button. Even if you are eco-savvy and you want to recycle, often while you are out and about you find yourself asking, “Am I able to recycle this? If so…who around here will take it it?” It will be kind of cool that your phone will be able to answer that for you. The app will tell you not only what and where, but even the hours of operation of the location/facilities and directions on how to get there.

Mobile phone apps that help consumers make more eco-friendly choices are coming out right and left, but this application will fill a little niche that is currently unaddressed. Not only will it empower the citizens, but it will also provide a platform for local businesses and organizations that are recycling friendly to be profiled and noticed. Businesses that choose to opt in and open their recycling for folks to walk in and use will be prominently featured on the accompanying website, and will also be profiled through the mobile app. And finally, as highlighted above, the app will create another open data source that will be released to the computing fraternity in Ottawa to build better more powerful tools/products to support our city wide recycling efforts. The power of the proposed idea/solution lies in the fact that anyone in Ottawa – an individual, an organization, a business – with any kind of recycling support can open their doors to a noble endeavor. So even if you are not able to recycle at your point of purchase or the point of consumption, your ability to walk down the street and step into a location that welcomes you to recycle would open a box of choices for folks who really do not want to be limited in their recycling choices.

The idea is currently under development at OAK Computing (www.oakcomputing.com), and post its launch in Ottawa the complete solution – in the spirit of open data and open solutions – would be made available for deployment (free of cost) to any other city across the world to borrow/share.

Check out the entry on the Apps4Ottawa website: http://apps4ottawa.ca/en/ideas/108 and yes, do not forget to vote for our idea.

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