East Devon District Council implements new method for increasing recycling

District households who have an Amazon virtual assistant can now ask Alexa about recycling thousands of domestic items and seek guidance on everything from checking when collections are, reporting missed collections and asking for new recycling containers with the answers being personalized to the residents’ address.

People who want to use this new initiative must live in the East Devon District Council catchment area and begin their question with the message ‘Alexa, ask East Devon District Council...’ followed by the question regarding recycling or waste.

This new method breaks new ground in the way that the council keeps its residents in the loop about the important service of recycling, and it’s believed the council is the first in the country to use the virtual assistant device to help its residents to recycle more.

The vast majority of these products are found in the kitchen which, according to experts is the best place to be when recycling items such as tins, paper, glass and plastic bottles. All you have to do is ask the device how to recycle a particular item and it will provide you with a ready answer.

Last month the council won a national ‘best new idea’ award for creating the Alexa recycling skill and for its popular East Devon mobile app which has more than 20,000 subscribers and is the most used citizen app in the country. The accolade was awarded by the national Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee.

Councillor Geoff Jung, East Devon’s portfolio holder for the environment said: “As more people use devices such as smart phones and Alexa’s, it makes sense that we use digital technology to give our residents as much information, in as many ways that are accessible to them, as possible.

We need to use all the innovative methods at our disposal and we hope that the ‘Ask East Devon District Council’ Alexa skill is a good example of such an approach.”


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