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Updated 22 May: A really big reminder to recycle

Labels on packaged goods rarely include a noticeable reminder to recycle. We might be able to remind people to recycle more (and generate behavioural change) by including a large reminder on the side of the bottle. These labels will tap into visual recycling cues (colours and symbols) already used within that community so that they will have maximum impact. Updated: Uploaded file with some brainstorming on how to engage people for recycle more

Photo of Jes Simson
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Explain your idea in one sentence

Including large visual reminders to recycle on the labels of packaged goods.
The problem - a lack of triggers

Packaged goods rarely include a visible reminder to recycle.  The symbol is often so small that it gets lost amongst barcodes, ingredients and company information.  Embossed symbols on the plastic are really difficult to see.  The symbol is so universal and mundane that it is easy to over look and forget.  

Including visual recycling cues on packaginging

We might be able to change behaviour by including a really big reminder to recycle on the label. Given that labels are usually plastered with a company's logo and product name, this should stick out really well. 

Use colour triggers and symbols that match current recycling habits and triggers within that area - using a yellow background might be appropriate in Australia because plastic bottles tend to be recycled in yellow lidded bins in Australia.  

Hopefully these labels will trigger wider domestic recycling.  By using the labels on everyday products that are used throughout the house it is hoped that they will provide an ongoing visual reminder to recycle other products too. 

Include a why? - eg: "... or 1000 years in landfill"

I've included a reason why you should recycle on the label to try and help people engage with why they should recycle.  If people engage with the 'why' more, then they are more likely to change their behaviour.  

In this case, I've inlcuded a negative why:  "Recycle or 1000 years in landfill".  However, the reason could be positive or negative.  

Negative reasons will probably have more short term impact, but people may become desensitised after an initial period.   Positive reasons may have more long term impact. 

Increasing knowledge

By clearly communicating the fact that a product can be recycled, these labels also aim to increase knowledge about what can and can't be recycled.  
 

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

By tapping into visual cues associated with recycling, these labels aim to trigger recycling behaviour. Most communities have colours and symbols they associate with certain types of recycling - so piggyback off these existing visual cues to encourage behavioural change.

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

It's pretty easy to design a couple of labels (with different colour or symbolic cues / different negative or positive reasons). However, it's going to be really difficult to work out which labels (if any) actually lead to behavioural change. If anybody's got any ideas on how to work this out, that would be fantastic.

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Photo of Congmin Liang
Team

It is a true thing that we need to focus on in our lives. To have a noticeable reminder to recycle is a big thing to allow people to do the recycling. "We might be able to remind people to recycle more (and generate behavioural change) by including a large reminder on the side of the bottle. These labels will tap into visual recycling cues (colors and symbols) already used within that community so that they will have maximum impact." It is very important for us and make a huge impact to have a noticeable reminder on the bottle or can.

Photo of Congmin Liang
Team

I like your picture that has a nice reminder of recycle. And I think all the companies need to do it on the bottles and cans. Usually they mark the recycling noticeable reminder under the bottle or inside the bottle cap, but it is not that easy to let people find the mark. So if they do the noticeable reminder like what you did on the bottle, it will help a lot and let more people willing to do the recycling. Great idea!

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Thanks Congmin for the feedback!

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