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May 31, 2012

IBM, Recology Well on the Way to Zero Waste Goal in San Francisco

By Rory Lidstone, TMCnet Contributing Writer

As going green is a hot trend, IBM (News - Alert) has decided to do its part and collaborate with San Francisco's resource recovery company, Recology, to reduce landfill disposal by improving recycling programs designed to help the city achieve zero waste by 2020.


San Francisco's diversion rate — that is, the amount of waste being diverted from landfill disposal — currently sits at 78 percent, making it the highest in the country. In fact, last year San Francisco was named the Greenest City in North America according to the U.S. and Canada Green City Index due to its advanced recycling programs.

IBM's role in this was documented in a video entitled "IBM, Key Info & Recology Building a Smarter & Greener Planet," the winning video for IBM PartnerWorld's first video contest.

"San Francisco continues to make progress toward our Zero Waste goal and we have achieved the highest diversion rate of any major city in the country,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “Our success stems from a strong partnership with our diverse communities and our commitment to making recycling easy and convenient for everyone."

Recology hopes to increase the city's diversion rate, using IBM's Smarter Computing approach to IT to manage and mine large sets of data to determine types and quantities of materials in San Francisco's waste stream. Furthermore, IBM's Power System allows Recology to pinpoint the location, types and amount of waste that needs to be selected for sorting.

As a result of their collaboration, Recology customers in San Francisco have reduced the garbage they send to the landfill by nearly 50 percent, down from 730,000 tons in 2000 to 367,300 tons in 2011. The program has recycled 1.2 million tons of paper since its inception, saving 20 million trees, as well as 174,000 tons of glass, saving enough energy to power the city's cable car system for almost three years.

Despite progress, however, residents in Ashland, Oregon, have claimed that service hasn't been up to par, since Recology took over in the city three years ago; trash cans and dumpsters behind private property lines or in alleyways are often ignored.

Steve DeFabion, Recology's general manager in Ashland, stated that though policies haven't been changed since the company took over trash collection duties in the city, service routes have been redesigned with efficiency in mind.

“I thank IBM for providing innovative solutions that have contributed to making San Francisco the greenest city in North America,” Lee said.




Edited by Braden Becker



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