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Recycling app could bring about law change


Four wheelie-bins standing in a row, up against a fence.

writer icon Emma Egelund     Davie Bicker   |   Business & Investment     🕐 16. Oct. 2018


Tiptapp, a Swedish recycling app, is involved in a legal conflict with the Stockholm City Council.

The app, which launched in 2015, was banned by the council at the beginning of October. The reason given for the ban was that the recycling app apparently breaks the law.

Waste collection
Tiptapp is designed to help people get rid of household waste. It does this by matching them with other people who would like to earn money by collecting the waste for a fee.

The law in question surrounds the issue of waste collection. According to the environmental code, it is not permitted for waste collection to be carried out by a company that does not have a contract with Stockholm Vatten och Avfall.

The contract is said to be needed to ensure that waste is taken care of in a responsible way. In this specific case, it is only parts of what is posted in one of the three categories in the app that need to be regulated.

Difficult to legislate
It is difficult for Tiptapp to obtain such a contract, as it is private individuals who take care of the waste collection, rather than the company itself. The app simply makes the service possible by connecting people to each other.

Since the ban was announced, nothing physically changed for the approximately 150 000 users of Tiptapp. It is still perfectly legal to use the app. Stockholm City Council did not set a date on which the ban would come into effect. One of the reasons for not setting a ban was that Tiptapp were expected to appeal.

Appeal filed
On the 15th October, the appeal was confirmed as officially filed. The next step in the process will be to take the issue through various boards and courts, until it finally reaches the Superior Court. It is a process that could potentially take many years. In the meantime, it will be business as usual for Tiptapp.

The city council's opposition to the app is not specifically against the Tiptapp concept. Rather, the issue is that the law itself is not ready for this technology.

Gunnar Söderholm, MD of Environmental Management in Stockholm, said to Di Digital

“The waste legislation is not adapted for this and the digital possibilities that Tiptapp has used and created with the best intentions”
.

Positive outcome
The ban is not necessarily a negative thing for Tiptapp, who have taken efforts to inform their users that it is still completely legal to use the app. Perhaps the most positive outcome of the ban is that it gives way to a review of the current laws.

“It is clear that this is a question for legislation”
, Söderholm said.

Tiptapp Co-founder David Höök commented that "It is an outdated legislation that has gotten us into this situation." Höök went on to explain - 

"We do have the same ambition and goals as the city of Stockholm regarding what needs to be done to overcome the environmental challenges we as a society are facing. We are now looking forward to finding a long-term solution to this situation."



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