Trash team helping keep San Francisco streets clean with app

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Streets strewn with trash, needles and worse. It's a fact of life for many people who live and work in San Francisco. But for two friends-- they have had enough and they are working to clean up their community and build a better bay area with a new app.

Elena Guberman and Emin Israfil created Rubbish. They launched the site and app last summer.

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The duo wanted a way to categorize, quantify, pick up, and change the trash scene in the city.

Israfil said, "When we go out picking up litter we call it a rubbish run-- so it's like a sport."

The rubbish runs got a lot simpler once they created a so-called "beam" which picks up trash while taking a cell phone picture which uploads to the site.

Then a series of categories automatically pop up on to the screen.

Felipe Melivilu is Rubbish's lead mechanical engineer and showed us how the beam works. He said," This would be considered other so I press the button, the photo, the location, the time of day, is all recorded and put into our database."

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Thanks to the app 8,000 cigarette butts over two months.

The next step is to reach out to San Francisco's Department of Public Works to possibly partner up.

A spokesperson said she likes the idea and, "it may not be your trash, but it is your City, and we need to work together."
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