Dawn Latincsics, the recycling coordinator for Sussex County, talked about a new app for residents called “Recycle Coach,” at the recent Vernon Township Council meeting. Latincsics was speaking on behalf of Kim Stuart who is the New Jersey representative for Recycle Coach. Latincsics explained that the Recycle Coach app is being implemented in some towns across Sussex County. Recycle Coach is a free app that can be downloaded on phones or on the internet that helps residents recycle correctly. The app is available for apple and android phones.
There are various things the residents can do on the app, which will save them from having to call when they have questions regarding recycling. Latincsics explained that if a resident is not sure whether an item is recyclable, they can go right to the app and find out.
Some other Recycle Coach features include “What Goes Where,” which tells people what they do with tires, batteries, etc.; it includes over 15,000 search terms. The app also includes a calendar feature that lets users enter their personalized collection schedule, pick-up reminders, and street-sweeping details. Once you tell the app where you live, the calendar also auto-populates with information the town provides, such as shredding days, electronics pickup, or hazardous waste drop-off events. Information regarding drop off locations and hours of operation of local recycling centers can also be found.
Latincsics said, in addition to typing in a question regarding how to recycle an item, the resident can take a photo of the item and put it on the app, which then uses image recognition to give the correct answer on how to recycle the item.
Some of the app’s information is location-specific, based on your township, which customizes recycling information to be based on what your town recycling center allows. If there are some differences in what the recycling center accepts, the town can add this information onto the app as well.
Recycle Coach also lets municipalities add their own contact information so that residents can ask questions to the town directly. This feature can be used when residents have questions regarding missed collections, wrong information, damaged/missing containers, and other issues such as street lights being out, reporting dead animals, potholes, and any other things that people might need help with.
Latincsics explained to the council that, as a client, the township “would be able to gather very valuable information such as how many people are using the app, what are the people searching for, and what do people have the most questions on, and this is helpful when we train or put education information out there.”
Recycle Coach’s Kim Stuart will work directly with the township to help the town decide where on the website to put the app. Stuart can match the color scheme of the Vernon Township website that has been recently updated.
Some towns that have already been using Recycle Coach include Sparta, Andover, and Hampton townships.
“We’re excited that we are able to offer the essential package with no cost,” said Latincsics, adding, “Kim has been totally dedicated to New Jersey and has been wonderful over this past year to get the towns up and running.”
The Department of Environmental Protection is doing this statewide for any towns that want to sign up for the app. The state is paying for this service and there is no cost to the town.
Mayor Howard Burrell liked the new app and said there was no resolution necessary for incorporating this new app onto the town website. Burrell asked if there were any objections and everyone on the Vernon Council was on board with the idea. Burrell said they will be moving forward to have this app added to the website. Council President Patrick Ruzzuto stated that he feels like this is a very positive feature to put on the website and would be great for the town to have.