An application that helps reduce waste
María José Longo
It was a Saturday morning, in the Central Park of Quetzaltenango there was a lot of garbage, a young woman looked at the scene and dreamed of an application that would help people to separate waste properly. At that time the city collected 130 tons of garbage daily, now, four years later, the figure has doubled to more than 200.
The young woman passed on her desire to three friends, the four of them decided to give their time to use technology for the benefit of the population and the environment, they wanted to create a virtual tool that would collaborate in the reduction of garbage, whose current final destination is municipal dumps, clandestine dumps, streets, rivers and the sea.
After surveys, training processes, knowledge acquisition and many tests, the group launched the Bit Planeta Verde application. The tool provides two useful services to the city of Quetzaltenango: a guide that helps to know how to sort garbage for recycling and an option that makes it easier to have sorted waste collected at home. In return, neighbors who use the app do not receive cash, nor do they have to pay for transportation for collection. But they do accumulate virtual money, which they can redeem for discounts at businesses in the future.
The application has short 30-second educational videos and even memes about garbage, downloading it is simple and can be done through the Playstore, so far at least 800 people use it. The creators have established zone 3 of the city of Quetzaltenango as a model area with 25 families that adopted the habit of separating waste. They also work with local companies that once a week deliver the sorted waste to them.
What do you do with the garbage?
After collection, Bit Planeta Verde takes the waste to an allied recycler in Quetzaltenango. When the containers are filled, the material is sent to Guatemala for proper treatment. The dream of the volunteers (Allan Ríos, Rudy de León, Ismael Villatoro and Maríajosé Juanta) is to have their warehouse, to achieve this they work on the development of the application on weekends and holidays.
Another purpose of Bit Planeta Verde is to create sources of employment, people who receive payment for collecting the garbage of the app’s users; for now two people are working in this area. One of them is a cab driver who takes advantage of his free time to earn extra income. In the future, collection centers will be set up.
Green Directory of Guatemala
This is another initiative of the group of creators of Bit Planeta Verde, it consists of a website of entrepreneurship with 100% green products and volunteering options in the departments of Guatemala. It arose because the young people realized that there are people with a desire to change and adopt new habits for the benefit of the environment. For example, sometimes they want to use a shampoo bar, but do not know how or where to buy it.