Bilingual Hot Line Makes Recycling Faster, More Accessible

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People across the U.S. use 1-800 CLEANUP every day to find recycling near them while they're on-the-go. Photo: Flickr/Wonderlane

Earth911, host of 1-800 CLEANUP, a toll-free hot line featuring Earth911’s expansive Directory of recycling and proper disposal listings, recently found that its phone system now allows faster access to its information by almost one minute, translating into a significant reduction in the amount of time people need to find convenient recycling near them.

Along with updating the system to be easier to navigate, a new Spanish version of the system was also developed, adding a new level to 1-800 CLEANUP’s ability to assist people across the country as they recycle or find environmentally sound ways to dispose of hundreds of items.

Redesigned in 2009, 1-800 CLEANUP features the same Recycling Directory found on Earth911.com using a simple-to-navigate phone service, enabling recyclers on-the-go and those without regular Internet access to find recycling information near to them.

The phone system was redesigned using the Twilio platform, a telephony platform that utilizes the concept of cloud computing to host phone systems that can manage high volumes of calls.

“Using Twilio’s API [application programming interface] enabled us to quickly and easily redesign 1-800 CLEANUP to increase usability and meet the ever-changing demands of the marketplace,” said Tony Ash, director of operations for Earth911. “Now, after more than a year with the new system in place, we’ve seen our call times drop by almost 60 seconds.”

The Twilio service allows developers to create systems that utilize common  functions, such as like placing calls or playing back a recording, using a  set of simple API commands. Basically, this means that operating a large phone system with high demand, such as 1-800 CLEANUP, is easier to do.

“We’re proud to power an application that touches so many people in a meaningful way through helping recycle millions of consumer products each year,” said Danielle Morrill, director of marketing for Twilio.

Ash also noted that this reduction in call time means users of the system are able to access the information they need 33 percent faster than they were able to one year ago.

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