Need a Trash Pick-Up? There Could (Soon) Be an App for That

A California company aims to be the Uber of garbage collection, by developing an on-demand service. Here's how it could help you, and the planet.

Need a Trash Pick-Up? There Could (Soon) Be an App for That Photo (cc) by striatic

It seems everything these days is on-demand, from watching your favorite TV show to food delivery to transportation. Now Rubicon Global wants to expand on-demand services to include garbage collection.

Atlanta-based Rubicon is developing an app for residential waste that would allow people “to schedule a garbage pickup the same way they might hail an Uber,” according to Wired,

If you’re happy with your once a week garbage pickup, which requires no more forethought than setting your cans on the curb, the idea of having to schedule someone to pick up your trash may not sound appealing.

But this might: “[Rubicon’s] entire business is structured around reducing the cost of garbage collection and finding new ways to recycle materials that would otherwise get dumped in a landfill,” Wired explains.

Similar to Uber, Rubicon doesn’t have its own dump trucks, nor does it own a landfill. Rubicon would provide the app that connects people with garbage to local waste haulers. Rubicon’s pay is dependent on how much money it saves clients and how many recyclable items it can sell.

“If you own a landfill, and you own trucks, your primary financial driver is to pick up garbage and fill that landfill,” Nate Morris, Rubicon’s CEO and co-founder, told CityLab. “But we have no dog in that fight.”

The cost to consumers would depend on the volume of trash and how easy it is for the garbage hauler to reach their residence. A trash pickup would take place in a few hours, or even a day, when the service first begins, though half-hour pickups are the end goal.

“We believe that we can provide a service to households and businesses at the same or better cost than their current service,” Morris said.

“By realigning the revenue model around how much trash it can divert from landfills, Rubicon is building a valuable trash business that doesn’t trash the planet,” Wired said.

Morris said the service will launch publicly “in the coming months.”

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