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Take the guesswork out of garbage with new Winston-Salem app

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Winston-Salem officials have a new app meant to take the guesswork out of garbage collections, with features that allow residents to set reminders for putting out their garbage, yard waste and recycling bins.

Residents can use the app to see how to dispose of particular types of items, and the app will take into account changes that occur because of holidays.

“All the collection days are already adjusted for the entire year,” said Helen Peplowski, the city’s sustainability director, as she introduced the computer application to the city’s Public Works Committee during a recent meeting. “So if anybody wanted to go through to see the Thanksgiving changes and the Christmas changes, it is already in there and all in one place specific to the address.”

Iphone users can download the app at Apple’s App Store, and Android users can find the app at Google play, city officials said. The app also sits on the city’s recycling page, which allows users to print out a hard copy of the collection calendar, or add the collection dates to Google, Outlook or iCal calendars.

When cellphone users open the app for the first time, they will be guided to type in an address so that the app can render address-specific information about garbage, yard waste and recycling collections.

The app then notifies the user about upcoming collection days. In addition to setting forth the collection days, the app shows the requirements for bagging or otherwise preparing the disposables.

Another feature of the app allows the user to look up how to dispose of various items. The app automatically brings up the four most popular items that people are searching for, but users can also type in the name of an item to find out how to dispose of it.

And just in case the item is not on the list, the app gives the user a chance to suggest an item to add to the list.

Winston-Salem residents get weekly garbage collection. The collection of recycling takes place every two weeks, with “red week” and “blue week” areas of the city alternating for recycling pickups. With the introduction of the app, officials said, they will no longer have to publicize red- and blue-week pickups in city mailings, although the city’s CityLink service will still be able to tell a caller when recycling is picked up in the caller’s street.

Another feature of the app allows users to sign up for service alerts. Peplowski said that can come in handy for unexpected events:

“If there is an inclement weather issue, or other route delays, we can proactively inform residents who have signed up for service alerts,” she said. “They will get a notification ... with whatever information we are sending out to them.”

App users who select notifications will get an alert letting them know when their bulky item collections are taking place.

Brush collections work a little differently: They’re done by neighborhood on a rotation. But app users can still get a link to a map that shows where collections are currently taking place.



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