Smarter Discards

Smarter Discards logo The City of Dubuque partnered with IBM Research in 2013 and 2014 on a project called Smarter Discards to track changes in residential waste diversion. The “actionable data” collected through this pilot is being used in the City’s decision-making related to policies, staffing, and equipment related to improving discard (trash/recycling) management and diversion to beneficial use.

A goal of this project was to assist and incentivize curbside collection customers to improve diversion toward curbside recycling and composting to help achieve Dubuque’s sustainability commitments.
More than 300 Dubuque households volunteered to participate in the project by allowing their weekly trash, recycling, and food scraps/yard debris setout weights to be collected in anonymized form. IBM Research developed a website portal available to the volunteers to provide functionalities that included diversion tips for beneficial use, household goal challenges, available incentives, visualization of data over a period of time, insights into household discard patterns, and analytics that compare discard generation with other households with similar profiles. Access to the portal was provided for 9 months. 

For additional details on study findings, CLICK HERE to read the final report on the Smarter Discards Pilot Study.

Smarter Sustainable Dubuque is part of the Sustainable Dubuque initiative to make our community more sustainable through a three-part approach addressing economic prosperity, environmental and ecological integrity, and social and cultural vibrancy.
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