When it comes to local recycling data, San Francisco takes the cake – as far as cities are concerned. Hosting its own recycling database, EcoFindeRRR, the city lists hundreds of recyclable items for the Bay Area, from aluminum cans and composting to mannequins (oh yes!) and varnish.
Earth911.com and EcoFindeRRR recently linked up to boost availability for the Bay Area’s recycling locations on Earth911′s database. To learn more about how this played out and what it means for other cities around the country, we talked with Lawrence Grodeska, Internet communications coordinator for EcoFindeRRR and Dave Benjamin, systems architect for Earth911.com.
Using what Grodeska calls an “open government, open data” philosophy, nightly XML data feeds (basically a simpler way to update and add listings) from EcoFindeRRR are received by Earth911.com to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information is available.
“That was the key to kick-start our collaboration to another level,” says Grodeska.
“They have a very good set of data and structure. The quality is excellent,” says Benjamin. “That was inspiring because it was the first time I’ve admired an import [...] No other city, county or state has done something like this.”
With this joint effort, Earth911.com now supports recycling information for 50 new materials for the Bay Area.
Now, San Francisco’s data is available in two locations instead of one, broadening its reach. It’s a concept that both organizations are hoping will become a growing trend in other states across the country.
“We’d like to do this with other cities, and we’re prepared to do it,” says Benjamin. “It’s a good model for others.”
“It’s a great example of what happens when you open up the data for anyone to have access to it,” says Grodeska. As far as he is concerned, the data is the “true” importance, not necessarily where it’s hosted.
A Growing Trend
San Francisco is no stranger to environmental initiatives. “The other piece in the local landscape is that San Francisco just passed the nation’s most comprehensive recycling law that requires all residents and businesses to have blue and green cart [blue for traditional recyclables and green for composting] services,” says Grodeska, adding that the city is moving towards mandatory recycling.
Additionally, both Earth911.com and EcoFindeRRR recently released their databases via iPhone applications. Earth911.com’s app hosts recycling information for the entire U.S., and EcoFindeRRR’s tailors its focus to the San Francisco area and was developed along with Haku Wale as a key part of the city’s “Recycling Changes Everything” campaign. In fact, Mayor Newsome carries the EcoFindeRRR app with him wherever he goes.
If you’re a developer and are interested in EcoFindeRRR’s XML feed, check out their documentation. If you’re a city or state that has recycling data that you’d like to share with Earth911.com for inclusion in our Recycling Search, contact us!