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Community Recycling Champions - Volunteer-Collect-Deliver.

Many neighborhoods don't offer recycle pickup services. What if we nudged people to volunteer - on a rotation basis - as collection agents for their neighborhoods? (Partly inspired by openIDEO's community champions idea)

Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
21 17

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Explain your idea in one sentence

Volunteer as a recycling champ to help your community recycle better, together. (tagline adapted from OpenIDEO)
Scenario:

Joe is checking his email (or paper mail) and notices an email (or paper mail) from his city council: "The city of RR and Coca Cola Enterprises want you to be a recycling champion in your community!"

Coca-cola has reached out to recycling centers with an idea to help increase recycling in their area.         

Joe is curious about the program and decides to give it a try. The recyecling center is only 3 miles away, so he signs up to volunteer for his street, which has 8 houses. The system assigns him a champ ID. Now he is on a bi-weekly schedule to collect and deliver recyclable items to the recycle center.

Joe informs his neighbors that he volunteering to pick up their recycle every other Saturday at 7 am.

It's the first Saturday and Joe is ready to collect the items. The neighbors have bagged their recyclables and placed them on the curb. Joe picks up the bags and takes them to the RR recycle center. On delivery, he gets a "Champ Stamp". (perhaps a reward for every 6 champ stamps?)

Joe enjoyed his first pickup...it was easy and didn't take much effort :)

Describe how your idea would help form new habits and improve recycling at home

Although many people like the idea of recycling at home, disposing those items can be a challenge. Many neighborhoods still don't offer a recycle pickup service, and people have to be really motivated to haul their bags to the recycling center. What's easier? Just dump them in the trash bin! Hopefully having recycling volunteers will make it convenient for more people to recycle, and help reduce such behavior.

How might you design an early, lightweight experiment to further develop your idea?

We sort of prototyped this at my old workplace. We asked employees to separate recyclables from their trash and put it in the new recycle bins. Next, we sent out an email seeking volunteers for "recycle rangers". We asked for three per floor and a couple of backups. Their job was simple: when the recycle bin fills up, empty it and take the bag to the facilities center on the first floor. The facilities' associate would later drive the bags over to the recycling center. Response was great! We were truly amazed by the number of folks wanting to help and do the right thing....when it is convenient to do so.

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input of our OpenIDEO community?

Do you think this idea works? Any suggestions on improving /amending/collaborating would be awesome!

Evaluation results

6 evaluations so far

1. How well do you think this idea will create new habits for the people involved?

Really well. I can see it creating lasting behavioural changes - 16.7%

The idea is pretty good but I’m not sure it will make new habits - 83.3%

Not sure the idea would really help people establish long-lasting habits - 0%

2. Can the idea be scaled to work in different countries and with different people?

Yes – it’s clear how the idea could be adopted by people from far and wide - 50%

Seems like it could work but needs some fleshing out - 50%

I don’t think it could be easily used in different locations - 0%

3. Can the idea be used regardless of the local recycling schemes?

Yes – it doesn’t seem to rely on a particular collection scheme - 50%

Possibly – although it might work better under some schemes rather than others - 33.3%

I think it might only work under particular circumstances - 16.7%

4. How easy would it be to pilot a version of the idea to test it out?

Really easy – ways to test this idea further are already springing to mind - 33.3%

Piloting this idea would be possible but it could take a lot of time and resources - 66.7%

A pilot doesn’t seem easy at this point - 0%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world - 33.3%

I liked it but preferred others - 50%

It didn’t get me too excited - 16.7%

21 comments

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Team

DeletedUser

I like this idea and it's potential. One additional opportunity could be the collection of organic material for an anaerobic digester, and then using the biogas through a bio methane upgrade to power the vehicle required for collection!! Circular economy at work!
Could be potential for small / medium communities/ villages/ towns to even charge recycling companies for their recyclables and use the $$$ to benefit localised services and further incentivise recycling habits to improve.

Spam
Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
Team

Sounds like a great idea, Gary! Thanks for chiming in! I'll update the entry to include your suggestion to incentivize. In terms of the Bio methane upgrade, I don't know how that works. Do most towns have anaerobic digesters? Don't know if I'm even asking the right question :)

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Team

DeletedUser

Hi Priyanka,

Thanks for the thumbs up - here is a little bit of background to anaerobic digestion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_digestion . With regards to bio methane: this can be used instead of fossil fuel to run any collection vehicle http://www.biogas-info.co.uk/biomethane-as-a-transport-fuel.html
There was a precadent set recently by a small Welsh village who undertook a similar type project http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-25783510 it was very well received - and definitely shows the potential for a collaborative approach.

Gary.

Spam
Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
Team

Excellent! thanks for the info!

Spam
Photo of Denoja Kankesan
Team

Hi Priyanka, I really like your idea. How about a way for the recycling champs in each neighbourhood to connect with each other? Maybe a local meetup or online community where they could chat about what is working for them in their neighbourhoods, share tips and strategies? Could also create a friendly competition by updating each recycling champs rewards earned in a public space...just a few thoughts. Edit: I noticed Meena's neighbourhood e-waste champion has a similar concept as part of the idea.

Spam
Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
Team

Absolutely! I was thinking about some sort of a mobile platform that could keep the champs connected and also see how they are doing against other community champs. Could be a place to collect rewards, plan meetups, chat, etc. Would you like to help me come up with a concept?

Spam
Photo of Denoja Kankesan
Team

Hi Priyanka, I'd be happy to! Let me know how you would like to work on it.

Spam
Photo of Denoja Kankesan
Team

Hi Priyanka, just checking in to see how I can help with this idea.

Spam
Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
Team

Hi Denoja! I truly appreciate your enthusiasm! I'll be working on an update soon, and would love your feedback on that. If you'd like to work on your own version of a refinement, go for it! I'd love to get your perspective :)

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