The free Recycle Mate app, designed to help reduce contamination in kerbside recycling, was launched recently to help Bundaberg Region residents understand what can and can’t be recycled.
The app gives users the ability to photograph an item or search an extensive product catalogue to find out where or how to recycle or dispose of different types of recyclable and waste materials.
Waste and Recycling portfolio spokesperson Cr Tanya McLoughlin encouraged residents to download the app to receive quick and convenient access to local recycling information.
“Residents have a proven desire to recycle correctly and reduce what goes to landfill, but often feel unsure if they are always getting it right,” she said.
“This innovative app uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology to detect hundreds of different items to find the best local disposal option.
“Simply take a photo with your device’s camera or type the item name and Recycle Mate will provide disposal options specific to our region.”
Utilising modern image recognition technology, the app is continually learning as community use provides feedback about what people want to know is recyclable.
“The app can currently search from over 4000 items in its comprehensive directory, which grows with community use and feedback.”
Recycle Mate works as a dynamic platform that allows council, recyclers and the whole community to work together to gather and share recycling information.
“When we face a tricky recycling question at home, chances are there are other people with the same concern,” she said.
“Every photo taken using the Recycle Mate app and every question asked helps the app grow and better serve the community.
“Many councils across Australia have different recycling systems and away-from-home recycling options, such as container refund schemes, are increasing which can cause confusion.”
The Recycle Mate National Data Hub has also been developed to assist recycling stakeholders to check and modify their recycling information in real-time, as both new recycling capabilities and new products and materials are introduced.
A prototype app was successfully launched in November 2019 for New South Wales residents for testing and feedback.
During 2020/21 extensive work was undertaken to develop an advanced version of the app which has now been rolled out nationally.
Recycle Mate is an initiative of the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) with funding support from the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund program and the NSW Government’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Waste Less Recycle More initiative. Adaptation Environmental Support is the Recycle Mate delivery partner.