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Calgary company wants to help collect your empties
A group of software developers have gotten together to transform one of the more undesirable chores in the City of Calgary into a relaxing and simple click of a smartphone app.
Skip The Depot uses the same sort of premise that Uber and Skip The Dishes use to take the work out of your hands by returning your bottles, cans and other refundable containers back to the neighbourhood depot for you.
Thomas Gayef, spokesperson for Skip the Depot, says it’s simple to sign up for the service as people can just download the app or register that account on the company’s website.
“You just pick a date you want us to come, put your bags outside somewhere. There’s a comments section that lets you tell the drivers where to pick up and then we e-transfer you the money.”
He says that efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to an app-based business like Skip The Depot. The service is set up so it improves when there are more people signed up.
“As more users sign up, the efficiency of the routes will go up and it’s something that, with our strong programming background, is our strength and how we make this thing work well.”
Of course, while the app download and service itself is offered free of charge, Gayef says they do make a profit.
“We do a little bit of a split. It’s a 70-30 split. The good news is you don’t pay anything. We just revenue share the deposits on the bottles.”
Gayef says that when it’s time to trade the bottles and cans in, they have a group of select partner depots who they work with exclusively.
That’s because there is often a complaint about how accurate some bottle depot locations are, but he says the app also helps test depots for accuracy.
“The app in itself is a little bigger than just bottle collection. There’s quality assurance, there’s checks to make sure that people are getting their counts accurate,” says Gayef. “We run pickups through the system where we know the counts and then we get the counts at the end of the day back and we verify everything.”
It’s not just residences and companies that can take advantage of Skip The Depot either. There are a number of charities and sports teams that have signed up to use the app to moderate their own bottle drives.
There are just over 2,000 customers signed up so far and there are pickups every day of the week throughout the city.
Later this week, Skip The Depot will be available in Okotoks, Airdrie, Chestermere and Cochrane.
For more information, including details on what you need to become a driver with Skip The Depot, go to the company's website.
(With files from Kevin Green)