Ground-breaking phone app set to reduce recycling confusion

A new mobile phone app has been launched nationally to help households and businesses work out which of their waste items can be recycled.

As well as providing localised information on what items can be recycled and where, the Recycle Mate app allows users to photograph an item and check it against a catalogue to see it can be recycled in their local council bin system or elsewhere.

There are already several recycling phone apps available in Australia, including Brisbane Bin and Recycling, Recycle Right (used in Western Australia), and RecycleSmart.

However, according to Recycle Mate’s developer, Adaptation Environmental Support, the new app’s technology is the next step, enabling it to learn what different pieces of waste look like and are called.

Adaptation managing director Lara Barclay said: “Every time you search for a word or take a photo, the app collects the data and we feed that back in.”

She says Recycle Mate has a much bigger scope than other community-driven recycling apps and already has data on more than 4000 waste items.

A 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 product materials get introduced. 

Between 10 and 15 percent of items put in household recycling bins are not actually recyclable, which can contaminate loads of recyclable items and result in more waste going to landfill.

Consumer awareness as to how to best sort each item of used packaging is fundamental to achieving low kerbside contamination rates, and that end, ALGA supports and encourages educational programs that allow and encourage consumers to do the right thing.

Recycle Mate was launched for testing and development in NSW in 2019 – and is an initiative of the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) and financially supported by the federal government’s Environment Restoration Fund and the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Waste Less Recycle More initiative.

To learn more about Recycle Mate and the RM Hub, contact Lara Barclay