By Shereen Siewert

Months in the making, Wausau officials in partnership with Rocket Industrial launched a recycling education app Monday to help residents better understand their recycling options.

The city’s Sustainability, Energy and Environment committee in October brought the measure forward as an effort to educate residents about appropriate recycling. The app is a response to a city waste audit that showed 84 percent of residential recycling carts had some type of material that did not belong there, something that adds expense to the recycling process.

Access the app by searching for in the Apple and Google Play app stores. Choose Wausau as the community.

“When residents don’t put the correct materials in their recycling carts, we
undermine the entire purpose of our local recycling program,” said Mary Anne Groat, City of Wausau Finance Director and Recycling Coordinator. “Those unacceptable materials simply take an expensive extended trip from the home to the recycling facility and then on to a landfill.”

Major shifts in the national recycling ecosystem over the past two years have forced communities to take a much closer look at the environmental goals and economic realities of local recycling programs. The combination of unacceptable materials being disposed of in recycle bins along with domestic end markets for recycled materials contributed to an increase in recycling program costs nationwide.

City officials say educating residents about how to properly recycle helps ensure
the long-term financial viability of Wausau’s recycling program.

Betterbin app founder Michelle Goetsch, who is a passionate sustainable waste management, bases the startup’s operations in Kronenwetter, while Rocket Industrial is the app sponsor.

Rocket Industrial’s mission to Package with Less ™ caught the attention of Goetsch as a perfect partner almost two years ago, according to a city news release.

“Few startups have local access to industry experts who will take the time to support an early stage startup founder and also do good locally while creating innovation in their respective spaces,” Goetsch said, “The Rocket team was eager to provide business mentorship and financial support to make the app a reality for Wausau residents.”