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Explain the barriers and reasons why!

This idea is for householders, and anyone else that loses faith in recycling due to varying messages! If the understanding around the reasons why different materials are recycled in different areas is clear to people then it may encourage them to have a firmer belief in recycling, it may even encourage them to use alternate recycling systems if their household collection doesn't include the material they wish to recycle. This idea is based around making recycling easier to understand and explaining and displaying on-line information and leafleted/sticker information in a more uniformed manner.

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Written by DeletedUser

Explain your idea in one sentence

Explain why there are differences in collections in different areas - Help the consumer understand the obstacles a council face (transparency for the consumer) and make sure that the explanation is described and promoted the same way across all councils.
If consumers are fully informed on a subject then they can make an informed choice on what to do. If they only have half the information or are able to access a mixture of information displayed in a number of different ways that has no explanation then confusion, indecision and lack of understanding take hold; these can all lead to a people losing faith in the solidarity of a cause. Everybody understands the benefits to recycling and why it is important to ensure things are recycled, but this can cause problems at the same time when the same type of collection takes place in different areas but different materials are requested for recycling. Consumers can be confused about the reasons why this happens when recycling is so important.

If we could make it easier for people to understand why there are differences maybe they would be more willing to help recycle materials in other ways.  For example when it comes to something not being recycled through  one local authority kerbside collection but a neighbouring local authority offers recycling for that item through the kerbside collection, there could be a message that reads “ we do not collect xxxx for recycling through the kerbside because ……., if you wish to recycle this item you can via ………”

This might succeed in helping to increase recycling as it clarifies the issue and allows people to have a better understanding to the barriers their council may face.  People expect transparency around how and why things happen the way they do. If you explain the reasons and are transparent with the issues then it allows them to make a decision to either add a little more effort and recycle through other available options or accept that they can only recycle what is offered for now and wait for this to change.

Questions for the consumer (i.e. you and me):
  • As a consumer how do you feel about this issue of different collections in different local authorities?
  • Does it annoy you that there are variations in collection from the kerbside?
  • Do you understand the barriers that drive the difference in collection?
  • If you did understand the barriers would it encourage you to change your opinion and do more to recycle in other ways?
  • Do you think that councils should have to display information in the same format?

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

This idea could help form new habits and improve recycling at home by giving a better understanding around why there are differences in collection , it would also explain the other options available to recycle material that is not collected through the home and encourage them to be used as an alternate option.

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

Ask a few councils to change their descriptions on line and produce new leaflets to explain the reasons and variations in materials collected. Display this information in the same layout and format across all councils.

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

How do other people use the information provided to them, does it impact on the way they collect material and what material they collect for recycling? If they understood the barriers to recycling would it change the way they recycle and encourage them to do more to ensure their used packaging makes its way into a waste stream that will be recycled?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jes Simson

Hey Luke. Great idea! One of the biggest challenges of moving between areas is having to change your behaviours and not knowing the reason why. I really like your suggestion of showing people how they can recycle items in other areas, if the service isn't available in their area.

I've been trying to tackle a similar issue over here: If you click on the app's link, one of the screen's includes a reason why you can't recycle. I would love your input.

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I have just checked out the link in full, and I think that the app is a great idea. I was looking through the other ideas coming up and think that Goders idea works perfectly alongside the both of these as well, a link to his idea is:

If there was a uniformed approach to accessing information that didn't change no matter where you could only be of benefit. this kind of approach could go some way towards encouraging people to recycle more, it would also allow them to see the different option to recycle as some items that may not be collected through the household collection are still recyclable through other collection options like bring schemes or recycling centres.

I think that Goders idea to include information on the benefits to recycling an item and the energy and materials saved is a great way to add weight to the app. People can tally up how they are reducing their impact on the world and understand what their recycling effort actually equates to.

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