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Recycling Challenge – Tips for Refinement

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Over the last four weeks, OpenIDEO's global community has collaboratively contributed an incredible 205 ideas towards establishing better recycling habits at home. In such a short time the Recycling Challenge is proving to be a standout in thoughtfulness and we've been so inspired – from early prototyping and user-friendly visuals to extensive collaboration between ideas and within teams – community members are diving in wholeheartedly. Nuggets of impact are already tangible, such as this little gem by Ray Alger, hidden in the comment thread of an idea contribution:

“Just this morning, my son ate a yogurt and threw the container into the bin, thinking it could not be recycled. I said: 'Theo, what are you doing, that is a future car part ;)"

As the Ideas phase came to a close, our Challenge Team, Sponsors and Advisors gathered for a synthesis session to identify which ideas best addressed the challenge question in new and innovative ways. We delved into the nits and grits of behavioural change, weighed contributions against a set of evaluation criteria and considered the community’s input throughout the Applause phase. By the end of the session we were excited to identify 25 promising ideas to move forward for further development. 



As we move into the Refinement phase, there are lots of ways for everyone to participate. The OpenIDEO community is a rich mix of designers, entrepreneurs, professionals and anything in between, so let’s take this opportunity to tap into our collective knowledge base to maximise impact. 

Chime in
Collective fresh thinking is what makes OpenIDEO special. Let's all ask ourselves:

What skills do I bring to the mix that might benefit ideas in Refinement. Are there teams that want to collaborate? Are there ideas that might benefit from being tested in my local environment? (We love to hear fresh insights that come out of real life prototyping – it’s an awesome way to gather instant insight and see if the idea has legs.) 

Ask clarifying questions
Whether you have an idea in the Refinement phase or you’re supporting ideas you love, what elements might benefit from further exploration? Request insight from the community or request clarification around an idea. Let’s use collaboration to bring ideas closer to the real lives of people – and ultimately help them establish better recycling habits at home.  

Keep the impact rolling
We dig it when the community continues to explore ideas even when a challenge or phase is over. Impact is a never-ending quest – and one that we are always tracking – so if you love your idea and want to continue to engage your community offline, please keep us in the loop!



  • Does the idea create new habits for the people involved?
  • Can the idea be scaled to work in different countries and with different people?
  • Can the idea be used regardless of local recycling schemes?
  • How easy would it be to test pilot a version of the idea?



The Refinement phase is an opportunity to clarify remaining questions around an idea; the more clear, visual and in-depth we go, the easier the idea will be to test and implement in the real world. As we use these final weeks to develop out our ideas, let’s focus on the following goals:

Let’s make it clear. Describe what your idea does and what makes it unique in terms of improving recycling recycling at home. 

Let’s collaborate. Reach out to those with similar ideas and see if they’re up for joining forces. 

Let’s prototype. Testing early and often means your idea will be stronger further down the road. Find light ways to test your idea in the real world and gather insights on real users’ needs.

Let’s talk about implementation. Explore resources, experts, collaborators and tools available to make the idea a reality. Help us visualise how you would implement this idea to completion.  

Let's seek feedback. Tap into the OpenIDEO community + gather feedback from potential end users along the way. 



A very big reminder to recycle

Positive social pressure messages

‘Taking the Could out of recycling

Recycling Dashboard based on e-receipts

Food Waste Hero 


My Talkin Bin

Reverse Vending Machine

Expand on National Recycling Week 

The Coke Bring Bag

Zero the Recycling Hero

Merchant Influencers

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Recycle Challenge


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