There are many reasons household items end up on the curb - recycling day, a bad breakup, evictions or for some it's the farthest they can drag that gently used chair that no longer has a place. Counting on the old saying that "one man's trash is another man's treasure," Canadian based app Trashswag is helping connect people to these discarded but potentially reusable items.
Currently based in Toronto, the iOS and Android compatible app relies on crowdsourcing. Users submit reports of items they see on the street, map the location, the description, and if possible the condition of the item. Anyone using the app can then do a drive by and asses the item without ever having to interact with the previous owner, and if it passes muster (and the sniff test) the item can go on to a second life.
They can even rate the credibility of the original report, and set the app to alert them of potential salvageables within a certain radius. It's fully hooked into to social media as well - with users being able to report or receive the alerts via email, Twitter (#trashswag) or text messages.
It's a lot like a high-tech Craigslist without the sometimes creepy personal interaction bit. Plus if you are submitting reports just based on your daily travels you could be helping the environment by getting items lamps, scrap metal, TVs and couches off the street and back into use.
Founder Doug Firr explains that Trashswag developed out of his work in architectural salvage. He told Wired.co.uk he tended to keep an eye out for valuables that people throw out:
"I was working on a project with some artists in Toronto and we would text each other picture messages of found materials along with the address or intersection, and it got tricky because once you start paying attention you become aware of how much stuff is actually left on the curb. The streets are paved with gold!"
While the app is currently only available in Canada, Firr reports interest from around the globe and he is considering how to expand the high-tech recycling tool that connects the right person with that right piece of reusable swag.