- Washington, D.C.-based Zerocycle announced this week that Buffalo, NY is its first client for a new analytics tool, called "the Recycling Analytics Dashboard," or "RAD" for short. Zerocycle hosts the dashboard, but can also work with cities to incorporate the platform on other websites.
- The dashboard takes open data, provided by the city, runs it through Zerocycle's algorithms, and produces a visual map of neighborhood-specific information and metrics. Hunter Hayes, CEO of Zerocycle, told Waste Dive the method takes data, which might not be useful if they just "dump it on the city," and instead presents it in an "easy executive overview."
- Buffalo was chosen as the first city to use the dashboard partially because the city was already working with Zerocycle's Neighborhood Waste Reports (NWR), according to Hayes. He said the company would be announcing more client cities in the coming weeks.
Zerocycle launched with the idea of using "friendly competition" to drive up diversion by distributing the NWR to residents on behalf of the city. The reports "gamify" waste diversion, giving participants a concrete way to measure their success. A pilot program in California showed an increase of 13% in residential diversion, for example.
The RAD could enhance that experience in cities where it's active, giving residents a more immediate way to compare their activity to others. The visualized data could help local officials decide, for example, where to target education programs (like direct mailers or "oops" tags). Hayes has said before people need to have access to information in order to be made to care about their recycling efforts.
According to Zerocycle's data, Buffalo has an average neighborhood diversion rate of only 16%, with the highest-performing neighborhood at 28.7%. By weight, however, Buffalo has been able to increase its recycling by about 12% in 5 years.
The city, which contracts with Modern Disposal for curbside collection, has a stated goal of surpassing a diversion rate of 34%, which it is pursuing through food waste and textile initiatives, among others. On its website, Buffalo says it uses Zerocycle's dashboard to "boost" neighborhoods that need the most work in increasing recycling.