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Humans, especially Americans, are kind of slobs. We mess up the Earth by throwing out about 4.5 pounds of garbage per person on average every day. Two-thirds of that waste could be composted, but isn’t. And half of the rest of it could be recycled, according to research from the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment, corroborated by studies from the Global Footprint Network and others.

Now, the city of Santa Fe wants to do something about it. Santa Fe has enlisted tech startup Rubicon Global to figure out what its residents toss in the trash, recycle or send to compost. Using data gathered by garbage collectors and trucks on their normal routes, Rubicon helps municipalities to quantify their trash, and pinpoint neighborhoods for improvement when they clearly need more education or different waste management services.

Funded by Nima Capital and a number of high-profile angel investors including actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, Rubicon Global first generated a buzz as the “Uber of garbage.” It promised to make garbage pick-ups available on-demand not just at pre-scheduled times.

In its early days, Rubicon generated revenue by helping businesses like restaurant chains or hospitals to divert waste from landfills and instead send it to be recycled or used elsewhere. Doing that, businesses avoid “tipping fees” charged by landfills. They also get to ballyhoo their efforts in sustainability for positive PR.

Rubicon’s long-term goal in Santa Fe is to enable garbage hauling on-demand, or just when and where it’s needed. But before making any changes to the way it hauls waste, the city wants to get a handle on its own hot mess. Head of public policy at Rubicon, Michael Allegretti, said the company’s app asks garbage collectors to submit notes about anything unusual on a given job.

If a collector can’t complete a weekly pick-up because there’s simply no garbage at an abandoned and boarded up house, the city learns where flight…

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