iPhone App Helps San Franciscans Meet Stringent Recycling Laws

By June 24, 2009

Yesterday, the city of San Francisco passed the nation’s first mandatory composting law, “the most comprehensive recycling and composting legislation in the country,” according to mayor Gavin Newsom. The measure is part of a longstanding city goal to reach zero waste by 2020. While the city’s measures are laudable, recycling in San Francisco is still not as easy as it could be. In order to address that need, Newsome recently announced the EcoFinder iPhone app, which helps people find out where to recycle and dispose of many materials. The app is part of the city’s growing Government 2.0 initiative. “This iPhone app is a great example of San Francisco embracing the emerging philosophy of Government 2.0 — using web and mobile technologies to provide more effective processes for delivering government services,” Newsom wrote in CleanTechnica.

“By sharing our EcoFinder database via an XML data feed, we've been able to develop the iPhone app with community partners, as well as provide accurate information to Earth911.com's national recycling database,” Newsom added.

Developed by Haku Wale and San Francisco’s environment department, SF Environment, EcoFinder uses government data to help citizens find real-time information on recycling and disposal services.

"Bringing the EcoFinder information to an anytime, anywhere platform like the iPhone will make it easier for local residents to recycle and dispose of their waste properly" said Haku Wale founder Alan Wells.

Since announcing his candidature for governor in April (on Twitter), Newsom has stepped up the city’s Gov 2.0 measures. At the same time as EcoFinder's release, San Francisco also integrated Twitter into its 311 non-emergency response system.

Newsom has always been a good student of Gov 2.0 (especially the Obama version), and clearly knows that California’s fundraising power now lies in dot.com democrats, so expect a plethora of Gov 2.0 initiatives to roll out soon.

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