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An app could help you support your local economy and decide what can be recycled

KRONENWETTER, Wis. (WAOW) — A new app is almost ready to help you decide where you should dispose certain items; the trash can or the recycling bin.

The “ERbin” app’s concept was created by Kronenwetter resident Michelle Goetsch. She said it started with not knowing if she was recycling correctly, and now the proper way to recycle is a passion of hers. Soon area residents will get to enjoy the shared passion by having the app, which is extremely easy to use.

“Everyone has their smart phone in their kitchen with them all the time,” ERbin Co-Founder Michelle Goetsch said. “Why can’t you just scan the UPC barcode of any product in your pantry or refrigerator and know if it’s recyclable in your local community.”

All it requires is you to press a button to scan an item’s barcode. After the scan is completed the app will tell you if it’s recyclable and how to recycle it. Michelle said the app is extremely important to area economies.

“It directly impacts the financial viability of local recycling programs,” Goetsch said.

Officials with the Marathon County Solid Waste Department said the app is helping local businesses that rely on recyclables, as well as helping them fulfill part of their mission to get people to dispose of trash and recyclables the correct way.

“I think what the urban app will do will help make it easier for people to understand what goes where,” Meleesa Johnson, Director at the Marathon County Waste Department said. “We really want to see things go to recycling and we want to see people reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. You’re actually helping those businesses meet their business goals and have a reduced cost to the inbound feed stock, so you’re actually helping those businesses do better, employ people locally and boost Wisconsin’s economy.”

On Tuesday, Wausau voted to move forward with an audit version of the app for 125 selected residents. Selected residents in the Village of Weston are also using the app for beta testing before the app becomes fully launched.

“They’re scanning products, searching products, telling us about their user experience, what they like about the app, and what they don’t like about the app,” Goetsch said.

Goetsch also mentioned around 10,000 products are already listed within the app, but there are tens of thousands of more products that need to be included before the app is fully ready to go.

The app is expected to fully launch for all area residents within the next six months.

Curtis Aderholdt

A WAOW photo journalist since December 2014.

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