The vision of Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council (SWRC) is to create a waste-free Saskatchewan. In order to achieve this vision, different tools and solutions are needed. One of the most important tools is the Waste Reduction Hub, a database of every location in the province that provides options to recycle, repair, donate, or compost any material.
Territorial has been involved with SWRC since 2013 when we redid their website and integrated into their legacy database. In 2021, we had the opportunity to rebuild the database to better meet the needs of users through an improved data model and frontend usability upgrades.
A Map App on Mobile / Desktop
The previous database existed as a searchable list of materials and locations that integrated into the website. Over time, the data entry needs and data model were no longer serving the staff of SWRC. Rebuilding the database provided a welcome opportunity to focus on the current needs of users. Interestingly, the database has a large following of both mobile and desktop users, and addressing the experience of both users was key to providing a product solution.
The previous database was built using CakePHP and we decided it was time to upgrade it to use Laravel and React. Using the React framework has allowed an easy integration into the Google Maps API, providing a visual and intuitive experience for both users and content administrators. Laravel has proven to be a robust backend for the product, serving results quickly using a GraphQL API.
Recycle, repair, donate, or compost?
An important part of waste reduction is to find the right process for the right material. The previous database didn’t explicitly feature alternate ways of reducing waste and this became an important constraint for the new database. We needed to present multiple ways of processing materials. Perhaps most importantly, instructions on how to process materials was required in addition to instructions on what not to do. The end result of the constraints guiding creation of the Waste Reduction Hub as a product to provide an incredible resource for the people of Saskatchewan to figure out how to reduce their waste.