Zerocycle launches software in four pilot cities

Software uses analytics to gauge and influence recycling participation and behavioral changes.


Washington-based Zerocycle, a provider of software analytics for the waste and recycling industry, has announced the launch of its Resident Engagement Platform in four pilot cities.

The cities of Buffalo, New York; Cincinnati; Fremont, California; and Salt Lake City are participating in Zerocycle’s pilot program, which the firm says “is positioned to fundamentally change the industry’s analytics and outreach practices.”

“We are very excited about being part of Zerocycle’s pilot program which will be an integral part of our ‘34 and More Buffalo Recycles’ initiative, which we launched in 2015,” says Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown. “This data analysis will allow the city to target the neighborhoods that need additional education on the city’s recycling programs and help us reach our diversion goal of 34 percent.”

Zerocycle’s product and service involves employing algorithms along with city-retained waste, recycling and compost data to produce a Neighborhood Waste Report. By using the data and reacting to it, Zerocycle says it is able to “quickly and economically launch [an education] program within weeks, not months or years.”

“Our goal is to engage with environmentally conscious local governments and provide a breakthrough technology that will significantly assist them in achieving their recycling and diversion rate goals,” says Zerocycle CEO Hunter Hayes. “We know that the national recycling rate of about 34 percent has been flat over the last four to five years, as the effectiveness of educational-only campaigns have leveled off. That’s where Zerocycle separates itself from the pack.”

Zerocycle also says large city contracted haulers, such as Rumpke Waste & Recycling in Cincinnati, traditionally provide marketing support to local governments, and Rumpke is doing that in part by sponsoring the Zerocycle program in that city.

“As a leader in the waste and recycling industry, we are always looking for ways to grow recycling participation,” says Molly Yeager, corporate communications supervisor with Rumpke. “We are interested in seeing the results of this pilot program to see if it may be a valuable tool in other parts of our service region.”

In addition to the current four pilot projects, the company will be inviting four additional “launch partners” to participate in the program, to be announced later in 2016.

Zerocycle’s service was inspired by Wesley Schultz, one of the company’s founders and a professor of psychology at California State University in San Marcos. “Zerocycle is using well-established principles from behavioral science to motivate residents to recycle. It’s clear that people want to recycle, but communications with just the facts aren’t enough,” says Schultz. “Our research has shown that providing residents with comparisons to their neighbors, or to other parts of their city, can result in long-lasting changes in recycling behavior.”