Thursday, 10 July 2008

Muhammad will go to the mountain.

Working on the phrase, "If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad will go to the mountain"; what would you do, other than complaining, when you noticed that people are not recycling as much as they should?

Me? I would ROM, that is, "Research", "Observe" and "Motivate".

First, I do a search and start collecting data from articles I have read and pick up points from members of GreenYes, a forum I am active in. Here are some that I have collected.

From GreenYes members on used beverage containers being trashed at events:
1) Problem observed: Percentage of beverage containers in the trash is directly related to the distance from the trash receptacle to the receptacle (recycling bin) for beverage containers.
Solution: Place containers receptacle (recycling bin) right next to the trash can.

2) People love to set them on either side of a doorway or path.
Solution: Recruiting volunteers to stand by the waste/recycle stations and coach folks in getting their waste into the right receptacle.

3) A useful link posted:
Barrier/Motivation Inventories by Aceti Associates provides influential factors through studies conducted to uncover what would stop or encourage someone to a specific "green" activity.

Here are some observations extracted from Aceti Associates:

1) Sign Strategy: When signs were posted indicating the number of aluminum cans deposited each week in recycling receptacles, can recycling increased by 65% at a Minnesota University.
My take: Place such signs in areas where recyclables are often left behind; either side of a doorway or path.

2) Outreach Volunteer Strategy: When outreach volunteers in Claremont, California personally provided non-recycling neighbors with recycling information, 28% of the non-participants began recycling curbside on a weekly basis. In contrast, when recycling information was simply dropped off to another group of non-recyclers, only 12% recycled every week. Other studies have shown that the outreach volunteer strategy can also be used effectively in drop-off communities.
My Take: Recruiting volunteers earlier mentioned does work.

3) School Recycling Incentive Program: In Cambridge, Massachusetts, monetary and non-monetary incentives, combined with other behavior change tools, led public schools to increase paper recycling by 148% over a period of three years.
My Take: Create ideas that would provide monetary and non-monetary incentives.

4) Commitment Strategy: Residents of Portland, Oregon who signed a commitment to recycle newspaper recycled 253% more than another group that simply had information dropped off at their door. Furthermore, the group that had made a written commitment continued to recycle more than the information-only group even after being informed that their commitment to the project was over.
My take: Brochures or tickets sold at events to include a commitment to recycle form.

5) Waltham Pilot Report: A pilot project conducted in the City of Waltham tested three different strategies that involved distributing a curbside bin decal to residents. The decal displayed photographs of recyclable items.
My Take: Putting trash can and recycling bin together would work better by pasting decal with photograph of recyclable item for each bin.

So, based on these points collected, what can I come up with to motivate Muhammad (recyclables abandoner) to go to the mountain (recycling bins)?

Look out for my write up on CSR Vending; an idea that would provide monetary and non-monetary incentives for recycling beverage cans.

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