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We’re asking the OpenIDEO community to help us find creative ways to encourage people to recycle at home.

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With the acceleration of climate change and increased pressure on our planet’s natural resources, the issue of environmental sustainability has never been more urgent. To help tackle the issue, we’re hoping to find new ways to encourage us all to improve our recycling at home, enhance our current recycling habits and create new recycling routines that are more sustainable.


When we recycle we conserve precious natural resources that are often in finite supply. Recycling allows used materials to be converted into new products without  any extra raw materials being used. It can also allow us to reuse materials again and again.

Many organisations – including governments, NGOs and companies – are contributing by making packaging 100% recyclable, by using renewable and recycled materials and by taking a look at the entire product lifecycle, from production to reuse. There’s a part in that cycle where we all have a role to play – and that’s when we decide what happens to the waste in our homes. How might we encourage ourselves and others to turn our good intentions into action? Can we find new ways to recycle more at home, enhance our current recycling habits and help complete that all-important closed loop cycle?

Setting the stage

Last year, CCE partnered with the University of Exeter  to conduct a study to explore the role that recycling plays in everyday life. Through in depth research and conversations with families in Great Britain and France, they uncovered a series of insights on how we behave at home. They found that:

  • Recycling is rarely a conscious decision: we just go about our busy daily lives and recycling may or may not feature in our routines
  • There are often tensions in the home between recycling champions and those who opt for the simplest route to disposing of waste – and aesthetics win out over environmental concerns
  • There is often confusion and scepticism among householders about recycling, which can often lead to apathy

In this challenge, we’re really interested in what motivates us to create new habits and how we might build communities of dedicated home-recyclers. We’re excited to learn from all of you – the habit-breakers and the change-makers. We’ve invited a group of experts who will give us feedback throughout the challenge and you might see some of them around on the platform. 


To help point our efforts in the right direction we’ve written up some Guiding Principles for this challenge.


Parlez Vous Francais?

In this challenge we’re excited to be prototyping better language inclusivity. Coca-Cola Enterprises operates in a number of French-speaking geographies and we want to create an inclusive environment  so folks there can participate more easily. Check out our brand new translation page for information about how to interact with a more global community and stay tuned for our further experiments in this space.


What will it mean to ‘win’ this challenge?

As with all OpenIDEO challenges, there are many reasons to participate and many things you’ll gain by participating in our Recycling Challenge – regardless of whether your idea gets shortlisted. That said, the winning ideas will represent submissions that best answer our central question, that excite and energise our communitya nd that address our  goals.

In particular we’re looking for ideas that will help create new habits at home, that can be scaled to work in different countries and with different people – and that work regardless of the local recovery and recycling scheme. As the challenge unfolds we’ll share more about these goals so you know where we’re headed.


No matter the end result, we encourage everyone to take your ideas forward on your own or to collaborate with your network to implement them. On OpenIDEO we strive to be a place where good ideas gain momentum – both from the community and from our sponsors and partners. For more information, visit our About Us or How It Works pages.


About our sponsor

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is a marketer, producer and distributor of non-alcoholic beverages in Western Europe. It operates with a local focus and manufactures nearly 90 percent of its products in the markets in which they are consumed. Corporate responsibility and sustainability are core to CCE’s business and it is constantly working to reduce water use, carbon footprints and support recycling initiatives. For more information, visit and follow @CokeCCE on Twitter.



  Meena Kadri


   Sarah Fathallah  


  Karoline K      



Do you want to get involved in this challenge?

We follow a process with phases. Currently we are in the Impact phase. You can participate by adding stories on the impact of this challenge.
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203 ideas
203 final ideas
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Photo of Riddhi Patel

Recycling for us began with getting educated as a family. With young kids at home, it can be challenging at times to ensure that the right things get put in the recycle bin. So what we did was talked about the impact that recycling can have on environment generally. For each of the kids, we knew what they really cared about and then associated importance of recycling to that one thing that they are passionate about and it worked. Basically from this example, I believe that the basics have to start at home and adults have to be the ones to follow. Also educate the members of the family by relating the impact to the subject or things that they are passionate about and it really helps drive the point. Creating a recycling corner - where everyone puts their materials - also helps. not everyone is willing to make an effort to work to the bin which maybe outside the home but they are definitely willing to walk it to a dedicated space within the home from where its collected and taken out to the appropriate bins.

Photo of Peter Greensmith

I feel one of the keys is agreeing to some standards for recycling. If I am at home I can recycle some things, if I am at my parents home I can't recycle some but can others, at my in laws again a different set of rules.

With standardisation the first step of acceptance and knowledge will com. This would also allow for the packaging and products to be marked with symbols to show what can be recycled and how.

A campaign to increase understanding would also help. Knowing what products can be made from recycled materials will surprise people, so is a good way to get people to increase their recycling.

Also being able to say if x Tonnes of this material a year were recycled, we could make x of this product which would mean that we hadn't used x amount of these raw materials

Photo of Kevin Owens


In order for people to recycle more of their items the key is to make easy and provide incentive. In the US many cities have installed large recycling bins for apartments and condos, along with providing homes with recycling bins. This is a good start, but ultimately it is missing the incentive portion. If a start-up or established business could provide in-home recycling bins that would be picked up weekly and each week the homeowner would get a portion of the amount collected, people would be incentivized to collect their recycling. They would see an immediate financial benefit for their efforts and it would be easy and efficient for the business and homeowner.

If you further combined this with gamification and local rewards, it could help to fuel use of program and the collection of recycling. These rewards could be tax incentives, coupons or other items that are low cost to the city, but useful to the homeowner.


Photo of Alper Yaglioglu

Hi Kevin,

As you said, installing recycling bins is a good start but it does not help establish better recycling habits. That's why there's been quite a bit of ideas around gamification and social pressure throughout the Recycling Challange. Check out how Sky's idea uses social pressure in household and neighbourhood level:

Feel free to check out other ideas here:

And if you are interested in renewable energy, please come and join the conversation. Ideas phase has just started and we'd love to hear some exciting ideas on renewables. You can check out Opportunity Areas here:

Great to have you on board!

Photo of Grace Guo

i agree, if this was somehow tax incentive from Uncle Sam's pocket, then we will see a lot more recycling from large corporation, homes, and school. Another good way is to promote "sole work potential" for those who are homeless to collect bottles, recycle papers and they can in return get pay. Create jobs and keep environment health!

Photo of maria ceci rodriguez turano

i was thinking about the game idea. I´m from Argentina and here the challenge is even harder. I think that a game is a good idea but you must not only propose the game on the social media or by tv. I think that children are the target. you must propose or present the challenge first at schools, giving a gift to the school that reaches the challenge. after that, once the young children knows the game and are trapped with it, you propose a similar game with families.
but during the first part, when the game is for schools I think is importanto to have a "Coca-cola enviromental school" (or a more creative name) that will go to schools and explain why its important and what we can do with recycling the materials, show them a video... you must find the way to create a "Show" to capture the childrens attention and in that way start creating this awareness with the future generations that will helps us teach the old ones.

Photo of Rong Jun Li

how about let us build a system , which can help people collect aluminium cans and take them to recycling outlets for pocket money. if people can get money from recycling, i suppose they will learn to start recycling.

Photo of Cathy Wu

Hi all,
I just thinked out a 'money incentive plan' that may help to cultivate individuals current recycling habits. In China, there are some specialized rubbish collectors live around the uptown, and they are responsible for recycle the newspapers, plastic bottles, cans, wastebasket, and even the old plastic medicine bottles. Residents who live around are often bring their life wastes to the rubbish collector and get a small amount of fees in return. For example, old newspapers are worth 20 cents per kilo, and each plastic bottle is worth 5 cents. After that, the rubbish collectors will classify the type of waste they collected and send them to the rubbish recycle centre. The rebbish recycle centre is controled by the governemnt, and it will pay some money to to the rubbish collector in return. Usually, the rubbish collectors are made up of the less skilled people or the disabled. By doing so, both residents and the rubbsih collectors are gained benefit from rubbish recycle as well as cultivate a kind of good habit in recycle the wastes.

Photo of Martin Schafter

I think that one of the good ideas is the german one.
In germany people pays more for the products that have that package so the people get them back in order to take the money back. But at the other hand would be to much package to control all that money.
Maybe with the creativity you have you could invent a game where every member of the families plays. There is a winner, and the winner gets something.
If you do a game and you give it with cokes and is a game that is innovative and there is one winner that gets something (maybe the loosers have to pay something to the winner, I mean, If I would win that play mum and dad should give me something). I think that could be cool to make a game like that in order to get more people to recicle!

Photo of Lim Xiong


2 forms of motivation exist - intrisic and extrinsic. For most people, recycling requires extrinsic motivation as it is a taught behavior that requires additional, concious effort as compared to trashing. Extrinsic motivation can be in the form of rewards, gamification of the recycling process ( or reducing the barriers to recycling, just to name a few.

To be truly sustainable, people will have to be intrinsically motivated to recycle i.e. recognising and identifying with the purpose of recycling. For example those who had lived through a resource crisis will appreciate the need for recycling as a means to ensure the judacious use of resources.

In sum, incorporating extrinsic motivation factors into the recycling process may be a good starting point to build up awareness and interest for recycling. To nurture an intrinsic motivation for recycling will require a paradigm shift in thinking from "how will I benefit from the extra effort of sorting my waste" to "how can I play my part in preserving our limited resources." The latter would require long term efforts from both top-down and bottom-up to create a socio-cultural change.


Photo of James Robertson

Hi All,

Great to see another challenge relating to the theme of recycling. A couple of years ago I really enjoyed taking part in the NEA communities challenge originating from Singapore, and saw some amazing proposals put forward. I think many of the ones that reached refinement stage could provide great builds/inspiration for those that are being further developed on this challenge.

Here is the link:

Would love to get involved in helping some of these suggestions see new life breathed into them by this new challenge!

Photo of Paul Reader

Go for it James we have over a week left.

Some of the ideas from our E-Waste challenge are applicable too

Photo of Giustina Diana

one of the most exciting challenges we have engaged in...really looking forward to reading the ideas that come through!

Photo of manu bansal

I struggle at my household with recycling. My husband did not recylce before i moved in. He actually did not know what could be recycled. The decal that NYC sanitation department gave was too "busy" to understand and decide if the item i am holding in my hand can be recylced and which one of the twi recycling container it goes to. Throwing things into garbage is such an impulsive act. There needs to be a cultural shift to put that circuit in peoples' "garbage-reflex" to think about recycling. I read all the posts above and i agree with most of them. I think recycling campaign are still in the "awareness" stage of their life cycles. Recycling is not very glamorous for people to just start using it, like they did with taking "Selfies". it has to be glamorous and social media friendly.

What worked with my household is - I created a decal that went above my regular trash that said - "recylce if glass, metal, paper or plastic". which made everyone think before they threw it in. right above my recycle containers i clearly marked what material goes into which container. Constant nagging about recycling worked too.

At my work, i created a dedicated printer woth recycled paper that was just going to waste. We receive so many fax-marketing junk, people accidentlly printing extra copies, fax confirmation sheets with the other side of paper blank. I just reverse the papers and feed it to the "recycle printer", 3 years now, i have barely used one ream of new paper.

Photo of Damon

I'm a UTS student--leo, I think every product needs to have a removable functional design like the Coco Cola bottle, company can design the bottle, We can use the empty bottle to assemble stool or shoe cabinet. it's so cool to have a colourful shoe cabinet that made by ourself. It can solve the recycling problem. How do you think my idea, this is my fist time here send message, could you give me some suggestion?

Photo of Eva Juwita

Sometimes people do not know which one that can be recycled which one is not. Other than plastic and cans. I think the best way is to show them correctly, and explain them what is going to happen if they ignore this. In example in Jakarta, Indonesia there is 4,500 tons of rubbish (which is 4,081,500 Kg) every single day, it caused flood everywhere. So, you could imagine if one family change and throw the rubbish on the right place, it will bring the impact for their children and also their neighbour.

Photo of Paul Reader

Welcome Giustina Diana, manu bansal, Damon and Eva Juwita.
For those of you unfamiliar with the challenge process head over to the How it Works ( ) link then join us in the Refinement phase ( ) to help develop the 25 short-listed ideas.

Manu, I applaud your efforts to reuse paper from your workplace.
From your opening comments you might like to contribute thoughts to Priyanka Kodikal's ( ) concept.

Damon, you seem to be interested in re-using items too. Check out ( ) from Kenneth Walton and add some input.

Eva, you are right it is often difficult to know about what can or can't be recycled and that once you do setting a good example can motivate others. You might like to join the conversation on Jes Simson's app ( ) or add your opinion to Michael Iyanro's ( ) concept.

If you have any questions - just ask: you will usually get a friendly response from someone who has been here a bit longer.

Finally, just have fun exploring and interacting on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Nicole Walter

Our family has two small separate trashes for recyclable and non-recyclable. Outdoor, there are three big that red one is non-recyclable, recyclable yellow one, green one plants. We do good recycle job at home. However, it is hard to keep the good habit outside. There is no separate trash for us outside. Can we have recycling collection machines or trashes in the train strain, on the road, in school, in shopping center? Especially the school library, the abandoned food or drinks contaminate the recyclable papers in one trash.

Photo of My Hanh Tran

Have you ever thought that children might help us to solve this problem?
I remembered when I was a child living in Vietnam, part of my everyday fun was to gather some used items surrounding my house such as plastic bags, bottles, newspapers, etc and sell them for some pocket money. I then used that money to buy ice cream or even save some for the beggars coming to our village. My Mum was very happy and supportive on what I was doing :) Fun, with small incentives always help!

Photo of Trish Rossiter

My brothers and I did the same thing, collecting aluminium cans and cashing them in for pocket money when we were young!

Photo of Walter Mangini

I just noticed that if I don't a have an appropriate basket at home, in which I can dump my rubbish (as at the end of the video the speaker does), I'm not lead to separate my wastes.

The idea could be a massive production of well designed baskets, both in aesthetic and in functional meaning: something to expose at home for its beauty and for its utility. These baskets could be given to people in occasion of special offerings, at the same time coca-cola bottles are bought at the supermarket.

People are strongly affected by brands: I would be happy of having at home something pretty, customized by my favorite trademark, for the wellness of the world.

Photo of Nick Carson

I myself am an active recycler and live in NSW Australia and have always wondered why in South Australia they offer a 10 cents per bottle recycling incentive for bottles. I remeber being young and collecting aluminium cans and taking them to recycling outlets for pocket money. It was an interesting read attached

Photo of chang liu

I lived in China when I was young and I did the same thing like you do. That's really some good memories. I don't know whether the children now do the stuff. But this is not only good for the children to foster a sense of recycling and finance, it is also good for our environment and society. I assume maybe we can build a system that encourage children to continue do the things what we did when we were young.

Photo of Zach Dierberg

I've lived in cities where bottles and cans have a value and therefore collected. Unfortunately, I think plastic is the biggest volume of trash we have and doesn't have the same raw material value that aluminum and reusable bottles have. Have either of you seen a situation where plastic was recycled for $?


I am really surprising as to how the OpenIDEO is able to catch the topics and themes, no one could think of. The recycling of Waste leads not only to the Income Generation, but also for healthy living.

In India, buyers of the used items/waste are in existence since a long time. Used Newspapers, Used Bottles of Glass/Plaste, Used Plastic Carrybags and even used clothes/dresses are resaleable in India, but at very negligible prices.

Photo of Pâmella Brum

A problem that currently affects proper recycling would be that a lot of people unfortunately don't worry or care much about recycling and thus will just go about their day and throw the food scraps, paper, plastic bags, and all that in the bin and that's it. Perhaps a way of getting people to recycle and dispose of things in a more environmentally friendly way would be to encourage people to change their habits and to actually pay attention to how they are disposing of things and how they are recycling. To motivate people government organisations can do campaigns that educate people on how to do that and that also shows how easy it can be. Campaigns can be developed which show how easy it can be to recycle things and how we can create new products and add them to our daily life by recycling something. Nowadays social media is widely used to spread all kinds of news, and information so why not make use of this platform so widely known and promote those campaigns and any kind of information on proper garbage disposal as well as recycling ideas.

Photo of Congmin Liang

To do the recycling at home is kind hard compare with doing it outside the door. Because there are a lot of trashcans on the streets or on the roads that we could clearly understand which one is for bottles and which one is for paper only. But when we at home, we might have only one trashcan in the kitchen, and we usually forget to do the recycling when we throw the trash. And in some neighborhood, there is not any recycling at the trash station so that they might not do it easy as some communities that has the recycling at the trash station. So it is kind hard to do the recycling at home, and we should all do it if we can.

Photo of chang liu

I totally agree with you, as you said, it's really not easy for us to throw our daily trash by recycling and not recycling. We should do something about that.

Photo of Chris Fussner

Something that comes to mind is that many of us forget that a piece of waste, in this case a bottle or a can continues to design even after it's intended use. What I mean by this is that the bottle passes through various systems after it's initial use, man-made systems like garbage disposal and non-human systems like the ocean. The bottle continues to impact and design the space around it.

For example a bottle might enter an ocean, the bottle might perform a number of different actions in the ocean such as floating, sticking with other agents, interacting with living creatures or even breaking down and manifesting itself beyond a singular existence of just being a bottle. Sometimes bottles change form back into something more of a polymer structure break itself down to hundreds of millions of little bits and starts to design on a micro level. Can you imagine a coca-cola bottle designing on the micro level?! Not many things have the ability to change form and operate on different scales but plastic bottles do.

The bottle starts interacting at the base of the chain and ecosystem. However it's design impact is plentiful and efficient harnessing ocean currents these polymers are able to spread and diffuse where ever the power of the ocean takes them. In many cases these polymers diffuse within the ocean food chain. However we don't know what that will mean for us humans who may not see the effects of bio magnification till our children are born. We do reside at the very top of the foodchain despite our inclination towards other top predators. Since we are at the top of the food chain the magnification of the polymers/petrochemicals in a diet that consist of more seafood could be disastrous.

I think understanding the implications of a bottle's journey and its ability to continue designing and impacting spaces even after it has finished it's initial task that we designed it for could be a story that may change a persons perspective after they've seen the systemic impact of just one bottle, let alone hundreds of millions of plastic bottles.

Photo of DeletedUser


Soda Stream will do for soda sustainability what 3D printing did for assault rifles.

Photo of Pâmella Brum

I suppose an issue that disables people from recycling properly and turning good intentions into actions is their lack of knowledge of how to recycle and which materials and food scraps should be put where, and which bins. In some households different people have different ideas of how to dispose of materials and food. Specially as different countries have different ways of recycling. Therefore instructing people on how to dispose of garbage properly and how to recycle may assist in more effective recycling. Such instructions can be given by specialists in their communities and during events in the communities and offered for free for everyone in order to assist everyone in understanding how to do it and hopefully after having the proper knowledge people will change their habits and commence proper recycling.

Photo of DeletedUser


I think a part of it could be that people do not know what can and cannot be recycled other than the obvious aluminum cans and bottles. Show people what exactly will happen to the environment if it is not taken care of. Scare them with the truth. For people who have families show them how they can make it a learning game for their children to create good habits for them now.

Photo of chang liu

Love your ideas and agree with you.

Photo of DeletedUser


I find the thing holding the everyday user from holding back is the lack of simplicity. Although recycling is as easy as throwing it in the trash to requires a separate container and sometimes separate collection days. These can deter the average or below average (environmentally conscious) users from getting their recyclable goods to where they need to be.

Photo of chang liu

I agree with you, it surely needs everyone to have patience and good manner to contribute to the recycling stuff. And the government or community may help to offer some training about how to separate the trash we are going to throw.

Photo of Fei Xin

First I am agree with recycling can protect our environment. The Company needs to design more convenient packaging, and more easier to recycling at home. Recycling can turn waste into treasure. For example, people can make bottles can be turned into flower bottles, or can be turned into storage boxes and so on. Recycling not only protects our environment, but also can make our life more interesting. We become a part of the planet , so we need to promote recycling such behavior to protect our life environment. Besides, with global climate changed, we must protect the environment to make our lives better.

Photo of chang liu

I agree with you, waste things also can be useful when be put in the proper situation. There's a show on TV aims at teaching people how to take an advantage of useless stuff. I like the show very much and I have made some recycling by following that. That not only protects our environment and make my life more interesting as you mentioned, but also help me to save a lot of money.

Photo of Rosalyn Kwan

I think people really need to learn to start recycling. There's no excuse. The amount of waste in dump sites is unbelievable! I believe part of the problem is on corporates though, manufacturing so many things and pushing to sell them all.

Although waste has increased at an exponential rate in the last few decades especially, companies are now becoming more 'greener' and sustainable through paper packaging e.g. paper shopping bags, cardboard pizza boxes, shoe boxes etc. It is so easy to place these into the recycle bin yet people are lazy. Laziness will definitely have a snowball effect on generations down. Think of our grandchildren having to living next to rubbish! As well as all the animals and endangered species that will suffer from this.

If it helps, get a red bin and a yellow bin so it matches the larger bins outside your place. Red for unrecyclable waste and yellow for recyclable waste. Even uses coloured tape around the bins or ribbons to catch your attention.

Awareness needs to be raised and people need to face the truth of the amount of rubbish we have created. Pictures of dump sites needs to be spread.

Photo of chang liu

I have read a book about recycling at home in Japan written by a famous Chinese journalist. In the book, he introduced a serious of measurements that Japanese housewives do when they tackle the home recycling problem as it mentioned above. The measures are very very useful and considerate and covered almost every aspect of everyday life. And even some times I think they will bother a normal life. But that's also what impressed me the most- why they can do like that. From the analysis in the book done by the reporter, it is mainly because the sense of crisis in Japanese mind which was taught when they were kids that the resource on the earth, especially in Japan is very limit and they must precious everything. So here comes to my conclusion, when we want to encourage people to do something, we have to give them a reason, or even some times pressure.

Photo of chang liu

Something I want to mention is that we can invent some environment-friendly materials that after use people can handle it without worrying

Photo of chang liu

My funny experience: when I was child, I live with my grand parents in the town of city-side. There were kind of people called "recycling person" riding a bike on the street around and around with singing: "recycling" They would buy all kind of trash except food. people care about waste at that time because they got good paid by the "recycling person" they would steal your $$ if you left the trash out side of the door. I loved the business because 3 days trash for a single family worth a big ice-cream, However, it is not worth even a piece of napkin today!! I can see less that kind of people and exchanging today, so sad.

Photo of chang liu

Here is one thing I just forget to say, the apartment I am living in right now has different functions of trash bin at the front of the mail box area which is good I think, that people can just recycle the newspaper or advertisement cards that they do not want to read.

Photo of Angshuman Mishra

Apart living can promote stricter recycling habits if apartments are intelligently designed to dispose and recycle waste generated by the inhabitants.. of course we have energy saving and water recycling technologies installed in apartments.

Photo of chang liu

yes, like in the recently modern buildings, the recycling systems are more intelligence, and even with a worker who are responsible for the recycling work. Truly, not all citizens are affordable for the payment of the recycle-worker, but we can do his work in our apartment by ourselves.

Photo of DeletedUser


Before establishing recycling habits it is important to educate people how their community collects recyclying and more importantly what can be recycled.
In majority of communities;
Acceptable Materials for Recycling include;
Newspaper (with inserts)
Junk mail (remove free samples; plastic envelope window is ok)
White & colored paper/brown bags
Telephone books
Flattened food boxes
Paperback books
Milk and juice cartons
Juice/soy milk boxes
Flattened cardboard boxes
Pizza boxes (empty)
Glass bottles/jars. (lids and labels ok)
Tin and aluminum cans, foil, and pie plates (lids and labels ok)
All plastic containers (caps & lid may stay. No motor oil or chemical containers)
NEW! cardboard/spiral cans (potato chip, coffee, nut cans, etc)
NEW! rigid plastics (laundry baskets, buckets, toys, etc)

Unacceptable Materials for Recycling include;
plastic bags
motor oil containers
chemical containers
ceramics or dishes
light bulbs
window glass, mirrors
yard waste
food waste
computer monitors

Other then the $.05 per can that is rewarded for recyclying at local exchanges there are other ways to recyle that can result in a profit for the person performing the deed. An example of this would be the recycling of electronics..Many electronics have parts that are harmful to the environment, so recycling them responsibly is very important. Stores such as Best Buy will recycle your old electronics for free. You can even try to get cash for your old electronics depending on the quality and type of gadgets they are on a site like Gazelle. If your gadget isn’t worth any money, they will still recycle it in an environmentally safe way for you.

Textiles and clothing can be recycled in a number of ways that can help keep these items out of landfills. Instead of throwing out old clothes into the trash, consider donating your clothes that are still wearable to an organization such as the Salvation Army so they can get them to people who can use them. Another great program in partnership with the New York City Housing Works, is a textile and clothing recycling program called re-fashioNYC. The program is free to the building and taxpayers and places bins right within housing apartments with 10 or more units, making it extremely easy for people to responsibly recycle and donate their clothing and textiles. The program picks up clothes, shoes, handbags, towels, blankets, curtains, belts, and other textiles, and tax receipts are available to donors. Tenants, landlords or businesses that are interested in getting these bins placed in their buildings for free should inquire using the online form, and can find more information out on the website. Although recycling clothing does not necessarily provide a monetary reward to the person doing the recycling, it can yeidl a form of moral satisfaction knowing that by recycling your old unused or worn clothing will help others in need.


Photo of Angshuman Mishra

Thank You Julie!

Photo of Angshuman Mishra

That we are all responsible consumers and that nothing is waste is the basic idea that needs to be cultivated to bring about a behavioral change in people when it comes to waste management and recycling. A simple step which can be taken in this regard might be to rename the dustbin as a recycle bin and add minor goals on recycle bins to attain after a period of time.

Photo of chang liu

Love your idea.

Photo of Angshuman Mishra

Thank You Chang!

Photo of DeletedUser


Recycling especially packaging wastes is about securing the burden of bringing back of the container is kept and made by the end customer.
If no cost incentive is organised/allowed for this return, at least some fun/reputational rewards should be planned for. Something like a LOTERY (prize $$$), a hall of fame could be organised based on analysis of people wastes (a national contest with rules and TV display).

Elder people do not care/understand the challenge and often believe that the tax they pay for wastes would just have to be used for sorting of their waste. (they already paid for it). TV targeting of them would be a good idea.

Individual Plastic shredder could be made available to homes to self reduction of the volume and enable pellets to be sent back instead of bottles; Caps would be separated.

Photo of Sidd Maini

I like this challenge but is there any incentive for the winning submission?

Photo of Meena Kadri

Collaboration for social good is what gets most folks in our community excited about participating!

Photo of DeletedUser


However if one has poor recycling habits as an adult it is most likely to remain that way. The old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" would hold relatively true in an example like this. This is why it is very important to instill positive habits with our children and society at a young age. I am a firm believer that everything can be accomplished through properly educating people, mainly youths.
The earlier good habits are ingrained, the easier it is to incorporate them into your daily life. Here are some activities that will help kids understand what recycling is and how they can be part of it:

1. Litter in the park. Visit a park or beach, where you can point out the trash on the ground. Explain how this can affect wildlife like birds, which may eat the garbage and get sick. Bring some bags and pairs of gloves to help clean it up.

2. Make recycling bins. Sorting out recyclables is a surprisingly fun activity for young kids. Let them decorate bins with pictures of what should go in each one (paper, plastic, cans, etc. — depending on how the recycling is sorted in your area) and then give them some items to practice sorting. Explain how it’s important to put everything in the right bin so that it can all be processed easily once it gets to the recycling facility.

3. Bedtime stories. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, a classic, is a great way to give kids an early entrée into the world of environmentalism. The Little Green Books from Simon & Schuster are also fun reads and include titles like The Adventures of an Aluminum Can, My First Garden and I Can Save the Ocean!

4. Explore the rooms of your house. When recycling, we often mainly focus on the kitchen, but there are things you can recycle and reuse all over your home. Have kids walk into a specific room and point out what they think can be recycled — if you’re not sure, research it together. Whether it’s stuffed animals in a bedroom, paint in a garage or bottles in a bathroom, there are plenty of items that don’t have to be destined for the landfill. Go over how items can be reused or upcycled, too — old toys can be donated to charities, pants that are outgrown can turn into shorts and mismatched board game pieces can become jewelry. This will help kids get in the habit of thinking about where their outgrown items can find a new home once they’re done with them.

5. Recycling relay. In a grassy area, set up a row of recycling bins, each which accept something different. Then split a group of kids (elementary school age works well for this game) into teams and have them take turns running to the bins, depositing an item in the correct container, then racing back and tagging a teammate, who then picks up an item and runs to the bins. The first team to correctly recycle all their items wins. To add an extra challenge, include some items that can’t be recycled so that kids can learn what has to go in the trash. You may want to add a composting bucket as well.


Photo of chang liu

I like your point Julie, you ever notice that there are different sign on the trash bin in school's food court? I just remember there are three colours, I still have no idea I should put what kind of trash in which one every single time even there are discretion on it, until school put some volunteers right there and teach me how the "colour" work.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Julie – we'd love it if you might come over & join our Ideas phase to post some of your fabulous concepts: to see you there!

Photo of Calvin

What makes me recycle:

* Awareness - the feel of urgency
* guiltiness

What may make recycling become my habit:

* Understand the actual impact
* Satisfaction
* If I know where it will go, it may help (tracking)
* Community - recycling with friends

What stops me?

* Wasted effort - found out that recycle items finally went to dumping ground
* Hard to well pack the recycling items
* Small home, require extra space for recycle bin

Photo of DeletedUser


Coming from a third world country were recycling has never been really looked at as an issue, waste is also a major problem when it comes to harboring germs and bugs that are the cause to so many diseases. So I would like to add a cultural aspect to the role of recycling in those countries. Recycling is not part of the cultural norm and hence not really in the mindset of many people. And the lack of proper recycling infrastructures makes it worse because as a result there is no motivations too recycle.

So in this case, I would recommend working on a solution that aims at tackling the cultural aspect to recycling, while developing an infrastructure that will complement such a mindset by encouraging recycling.

Photo of Leah Alissa Bayer

I agree with previous comments abut the confusion among households about HOW to recycle. The requirements, sorting, allowables, etc vary so drastically from different counties that it's difficult to remember what is able to be recycled where. This leads to frustration over the confusion and then ultimately a divorce from taking ownership of better habits because it's become an inconvenient, cumbersome process. Standardizing what can be recycled and how more universally would help.

A better idea is starting this discussion from the packaging industry in the first place. If all products were designed with a natural life cycle in mind from the start, the consumer wouldn't have to make the distinction between what can and can't be recycled - everything would qualify. Trash wouldn't exist as it does currently. Take, for example, the makers of the mycelium packing product at Ecovative: where the product is inspired by and made from nature's best recycler, mushrooms. Or the new edible "water bottle blobs" - leaving zero waste:

It would be ideal for businesses to stop pushing the responsibility of dealing with disposing of their inefficient designs onto the consumer. If you design something, consider what it is you're creating and where it's likely to end up - design for that natural process and take ownership for the lifecycle of your product.

Photo of DeletedUser


I think recycling successfully requires that each step of the process (consumer taking action to recycle, corporation following through on their perceived commitment to recycling, etc.) actually happens. In my experience, I have taken the time to place materials in what I perceived to be the proper recycling bins/areas, only to find out that the organization doesn't recycle and puts all materials into the same "trash" bin. Also, where I life at my apartment complex, there are areas for trash and recycling, but it's not clearly marked what the expectation is for the consumer, so the trash and recycling materials end up being combined and co-mingled. This is very deflating and disheartening for those of us who are truly committed to protecting the environment and recycling.

Photo of Congmin Liang

I think you right because all of us are being part of recycling in someways. Recycling is a big problem that we need to face in the world, and we need to protect our environment from white rubbish, which include the plastic bottle and bags that we use to get water and food during our daily life. And as you mentioned, "When it comes to recycling at home, there often seems to be a mismatch between our good intentions and our actions and in many countries around the world, less than a third of us recycle at home. " So it is very important to let all the people to start to do the recycling things on their everyday life. But the questions that you also mentioned "How can we nudge people to incorporate better recycling habits into their daily routines at home? What tools, campaigns or services might we design to support habit changes that stick?" There are really hard to tell people to do the recycling if they didn't want to or they don't understand how bad it will make our environment to be in the future. So to make some ideas and make some interesting points of how important it is to not only for our environment, but also for our own lives. So that to let everybody join in this recycling.

Photo of Congmin Liang

There are some point that I didn't mentioned in my post: we could let teacher teach how important recycling is to their students in high-school and college, make some advertise about recycling on TV or radio to let more people to know could be a great way by using internet and other media.

Photo of mengyuan chen

awesome thoughts. I like your point of view. Looking forward to hear more upcoming ideas from you.

Photo of Congmin Liang

I am very glad that you like my points of view in this idea challenge.

Photo of mengyuan chen

I think the recycling of materials is an extremely crucial process towards the improvement of the condition of our planet. We need to protect our planet so that we could have enough energy and comfortable environment in the future. And the advantages of recycling will be significantly larger if a higher percentage of people take their time to recycling. This is because our planet and environment are in dire need of protection from pollution and other harmful activities.

Photo of chang liu

I think that let more people derectly get the benefits of recycling is more important than responding to advertising

Photo of Congmin Liang

Yes, you are right. That is what I am thinking about too.

Photo of DeletedUser


There are a few ways that can establish better recycling habits. For example, I spend my summers in a town that requires you to pay for trash pick up (per bag), however, they charge nothing for recycling pick up. The idea behind charging per trash bag and not for recycling is the notion that nearly everything can be recycled. Even living in a large household, if done properly, the family should be able to recycle nearly every thing we have till we are left with only one small trash bag at the end of the week ($2) worth of trash pick up. My family lines up the recycling on the front door step, as we use an item we just bring it out front and drop it into its proper bin. It is remarkable how small the trash becomes once you take out all the recyclable items from it. Nearly everything can be recycled, it would surprise you. Another option , is in Boston, I live in a ten unit apartment building and majority of the people living in the building recycle. The recycling is made very easy. All recyclables are put into recycling bins, it does not need to be separated (glass can be put with paper or aluminum or plastic), it all goes into one bin. On each monday, the recycling pick up comes and takes it, that is they take what is left of it after the cities homeless rummage through it. Although recycling is made relatively easy for the residents, it is still up to the people them selves to separate their recycling and put it into the recycling bins down stairs rather then the trash bins. Lastly, in Belmont they have both trash and recycling pick up both offered for free to the residents (paid for by taxes), however, if a household continuously refuses to recycle they can be fined by the city for not recycling ($50). This offers incentive to the residents to recycle. Although, none of these really promote better habits, they provide ease and incentive too.

Photo of Karoline K

Hi Julie, really interesting to hear about your experiences from different cities. This would make a great research post in this Challenge - so if you've got time it'd would be awesome to see you over in the Research phase Cheers!

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I have my concerns about Coca Cola, but there is plenty of upsides.

Understandably there are a number of (justified) ethical concerns about participating in a project which partners with a manufacturer who is directly responsible for a number of health issues society is currently battling with. However, Coca Cola Enterprises has understood that consumers are beginning to comprehend the impacts of fizzy drinks on their health and are now turning into a more demanding audience, rather than remain innocent consumers. That is why they are reaching out to initiatives such as this to help shape a brand and a business which is closer to consumers than before.

Looking at this from a positive angle, I think there is a unique opportunity here to help shape and change the waste recycling world with Coca Cola Enterprises, part of one of the worlds largest multinational corporation, having our back. I am certain there is a distinct interest by them to make a change, to make a difference and indeed a real impact on the market and establish a strong leadership position which might even encourage others to follow suit!

Photo of Cristina Lastra

A little something to get the creative juices flowing - I thought these were wonderful: Redesigned Consumer Packaging Disappears To Eliminate Waste

Photo of Karoline K

Oh those are wonderful Cristina, thanks for the inspiring link! If you've got a moment, it would be a great story to share with the community over in the Research phase :)

Photo of Meena Kadri

which is here: :^) Looking forward to having you join us on this challenge!

Photo of DeletedUser


This article gives us a little bit of hints how people some times act contradictory behavior.

Photo of DeletedUser


David Pio makes a fair and solid point about public health. I don't think there is any debate about the negative health impacts of processed sugar and artificial sweeteners. However, it appears that this is about recycling in general, not just recycling coke cans. My kitchen fills up with plastic bags and boxes from local produce as much as it does from aluminum cans. I recycle as much as I practically am able. To play devil's advocate, I would suggest that generating ideas for recycling anything and everything is an idea worth the challenge, You don't have to love the sponsor or the context, but opting out completely because it's not "perfect" helps nobody. Simply put, if you don't like coke, don't buy coke. I intentionally drink zero soda, but while developing scalable and transferrable ideas may help Coke, it can help a lot of other people and businesses, too. I support David's raising the bar, and pushing to do and be better. But doing the best we can with what we have on the ground matters, and often that is where things actually get done. If Coke is begging the question and supporting the research, I, for one, see an opportunity here. Let's go out and DO something.

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Kevin, I agree with your idea about working to solve something, however, I can't in good conscience also work to make CCE more profitable by doing this. My assumption is that CCE is interested in this idea because it will drastically reduce their input costs to use recycled material versus having to pay top dollar to develop new bottles from raw materials. While it is admirable to reduce the use of new raw materials, the idea is still inherently flawed because you are promoting a product that offers no real value to society. A better challenge might be to focus on the plastic bottles used for delivery of drinking water such as Dasani, a CCE owned brand. If we put the conversation about sugary soft drinks aside and focus on bottled water, wouldn't the better challenge be to figure how to get people to stop buying bottled water in the first place,? Instead focusing them on buying water in bulk containers and using reusable water bottles? This tactic would cut out much more production of bottles that need to be recycled in the first place? Wasting energy on solving symptoms of a model that doesn't make sense in the first place is inefficient. We should be trying to solve the really big problems - the causes and not the symptoms.

Photo of DeletedUser


I'm all about getting people to recycle more, but wouldn't OpenIDEO be better off not partnering with a company that sells useless products in the first place? The problem that we should be trying to solve is how to change consumer behavior to not drink toxic products like Coca-Cola. A true solution would be one that protects both the environment and people at the same time. If these products aren't purchased in the first place, we solve the recycling problem, we keep people healthier, and we reduce health care costs for issues such as type II diabetes and obesity. That sounds a like a challenge that is much more interesting to solve. Sorry IDEO, but I think you missed the boat on this partnership. Smells funny to me.

Photo of DeletedUser


Thank you for bringing up this point David. Of course, a posible counterpoint is some good is better than no good, so at least CCE is doing something here. The counter to that is openIDEO could've gotten a more conscious sponsor (whose raison d'etre also matches their talk) than one of the world's biggest purveyors of soda, tooth rot, high fructose corn syrup and aspartame. Smells like greenwashing a guilt complex to me.
Clearly, there was a lapse in thinking here, and in connecting the dots.

Photo of DeletedUser


Totally agree with you Alejandro. Some good is better than no good, but would love to see the collective creative energies of the Open IDEO participants used to help solve causes rather than symptoms.

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When it comes to recyclables as containers, e.g. bottles (glass & plastic) I would suggest to "revert" (in some countries) to deposits. Growing up in the Netherlands I didn't know better than collecting as many bottles as I could to earn pocket money as a kid.

It is a shock for the first time to hear at the checkout that your 1ltr plastic bottle attracts an additional $1.00 deposit, but once you get used to it - you count your empties and think that they will pay for the new ones.......

This is a proven system which would and has received lots of opposition by the manufacturing lobbyist groups but it works . It does require a government framework which is the major drawback.

One other thought would be to encourage private business to collect these recyclables and reward the providers. What's that empty worth?