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Scrapp – A Ratings & Rewards Ecosystem

Scrapp is a ratings and rewards ecosystem that encourages more people to recycle at home. Through it presents a range of recycle efficient bins and also links-in with businesses to adapt the retail environment of bins to reflect this. Once consumers have an appropriate bin, they can adopt a high-or-low tech approach to track their recycling activity. Consumers are rewarded for positive behaviour through innovative rewards on scrapp in the form of discounts, exclusive items, recycled items, or local initiatives. Let’s make recycling at home beautiful. Let’s make people feel proud to collect. Let’s create a recycling ecosystem that motivates, informs, assists, recognises and rewards people.

Photo of Robert James
22 15

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Explain your idea in one sentence

A stylish, points & ratings based, recycling ecosystem that encourages recycling; recognising positive behaviours with innovative rewards.

UPDATE 20-June

My bin finally arrived and I've been able to do some prototyping on the collect/counting options; I think that both high-tech, and low-tech approaches could work (in addition to no-tech / no-measuring) depending on how consumers want to engage with the scrappstore.

I've given the idea a quick lick of green paint, a makeshift logo, and my first ever(!) video... inspired by the great work of the guys over at the Trash Talks idea... and Scrapp is ready to sail in to the bold world of Evaluation *yikes*

Here's the Lowdown on Scrapp:

  • Curation: A carefully collected and grouped selection of recycle efficient bins available both online and in-store.
  • Collection: Counting the recycling activity in the home; by both high tech and low tech means. Integrating with third party apps to bring a rewards scheme ‘to the table’.
  • Celebration: Recognition of positive behaviour through innovative rewards and discounts, and community initiatives.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the development of Scrapp; directly on this idea or through all of the other ideas in refinement and before that too! It's been super challenge, and I'm still waiting to hear back from a few retailers I've been in touch with already. Will keep you updated! :-)


UPDATE 10-June

Still waiting for the shiny red bin to arrive *grr* so have been thinking more about the first and last stages of the idea; CREATION (of the environment to allow easy recycling at home)... and CELEBRATION (of your hard work collecting and recycling lots of materials) Thanks to all for your continued comments; keep them coming! :-)

Refinement mk.II

Popping down to the shops to have a look at bins available on the market, I was shocked to see the retail layout of bins in one of London's premier department stores. Sure there was volume (some 60 bins available in store) but there was very little by way of recycling bins or bins that rate highly on the recycling efficiency scale. Bins tended to be grouped by manufacturer, rather than by function and there was no grouping of recycling bins. The focus was very much on design and not function.

How can we encourage people to recycle more when if on their buying journey they aren't actively steered towards bins that help them to recycle? Taking a look online too, there is no dedicated bin buying resource with a focus on recycle friendly models. Let's get the very basics; the start of the journey; right before we move on to points and rewards... - (Crude) Prototype Now Live!

Recognising this, I've created a simple prototype store which groups bin designs in to some of the categories mentioned; 'AAA' thru 'A' along with a selection of accessories (stickers, bags etc.) and also hinted at possible rewards. Creating a one stop shop for buying the best bins; both from a design perspective and also a recycling efficiency perspective is super easy and should be the first point of call when it comes to a consumer making the decision to purchase a new bin! It'd be great if any smart developers could take this further and build a mini 'curated aggregator' which we could begin to promote to the press.

Finally, based on the brilliant comments from Maya and Guy, I've separated the rewards end in to three distinct categories: 1. Discounts for expensive items (and bins from the store), 2. Free lower value products which are more attainable such as the Coke Second Life kit and 3. Community Projects where points can be contributed to social good; projects that are related to / use recycling to benefit a wider audience. As always, let me know what you think! :-)

UPDATE: 30-May

Hi everyone! Had a great time spending some time reading about the other shortlisted ideas and the feedback so far. Thanks :-) The key take-away for me was that the idea of having a *new* waste collection service whereby the volume of waste was validated and converted to points outside of the home wasn't too feasible; and certainly not something that would be scalable without major cost and infrastructure.

On the other hand, a way to collect rewards linked to materials recycled *is* desirable and forms the 'end to end' ecosystem that is going to change habits. This fundamentally means the validation of what, or how much, waste is recycled needs to take place in the home.

Cue a couple of sleepless nights circling around the same issues many of us seem to be having on this area. Smart bins that are aware of what's inside then? Bins that can weigh content? Scanning every item that goes in to the bin isn't practical, and what about abuse of the system? If we're going to be providing rewards for recycled content, how do we make sure Joe Bloggs doesn't *say* he's recycling a thousand alu cans a day and earn himself that Emeco 111 chair in a week?

Refinement mk.I

a) My current bin is a black plastic bag on the floor (neat right?) and totally embarrassing until my shiny red one arrives. When it does arrive, I thought "how great is this going to be! it's so much better! perhaps 3x better! and I want everyone to see it!" - And so was born the first refinement. Bin pride can be quantified; in a similar way that home appliances (in the UK at least) have energy efficiency ratings, why can't we do the same for bins? I mocked up a weighted test to define what distinguishes a 'AAA' rated bin from a lowly 'E' and how the same bin can move up the ratings with subtle changes that will encourage better recycling habits. We've got both gamification and nudge going on here.

b) Thinking about the killer question; how will coke (or anybody) know how much recycling I'm doing? Inspiration came to me via the Coca-Cola Recyclometer - As humans, we're creatures of habit and, I for one, will typically consume the same kinds of product on a regular basis. When my bin bag is full, I'll likely have a cereal box, a couple of newspapers, a glass bottle of this, some cans of that... and that's unlikely to deviate that much every time I empty the bin. That's how I 'played' the Recyclometer and was amazed at the 'score' that my typical full bag of rubbish could produce. That it *would* produce each time I empty it. It's self governing. Set up 'my bins' on the ScrAPP Store, log the typical average contents of each bin.

c) The rest is easy. Each time I empty my standard bin full of standard recyclables, I select the bin I'm about to empty on my phone, click 'empty bin' and the empty action is logged, along with a time and date stamp, and crucially a photograph of my full bin. This serves two purposes. Firstly I need to collect those points (see below) but also, it serves as an audit check to the community who will be able to see what I'm emptying and when. Joe Bloggs won't have 1000 alu cans to cheat the system and if he tries, the transparency of the community system would soon flag it up.

d) So now we have a community of recyclers online, each with a collection of 'bin selfies' along with ratings for each bin (bin beauty contest anyone?) details of when they're emptying, what's typically in those bins and a whole host of badges and awards that they can earn. Get more bins? add it to your profile, seen a AAA rated bin on a friends profile; let's take HOUZZ's lead and buy that desirable bin directly from the website or ScrAPP store.

Your Turn!

Let me know what you think. Follow the bin recycling efficiency flowchart and let me know what you score for your bin at home (I'm a lowly E currently :-( boo! ) and if you're developing a bin as part of your idea (I'm looking at you guys R-Blocks, Rejuve, Haig and Nest Bin!) then similarly, where do you end up?

It'd be great to create a collection of bin selfies somewhere online? Does anybody know a service where we can upload photos of our bins and see how we're all doing at home? or a portal where we could make the bin efficiency test live via a flowchart or quiz? What other functionality could we add to the online portal and accompanying app? Answers on a (recyclable) postcard please...

Original Idea & Founding Principles...

Step 1: CREATE your Environment

  • Start with beautiful bins. The first stage is to tap in to the very same desire that makes recycling such a big issue; we love to consume! This may sound counter intuitive, but the problem is also the solution. The concept is simple, ‘productise’ recycling – make us want to consume it as a service.
  • How do you do that? Well, how about making the places we put our rubbish attractive. People like interacting with desirable things (research suggests that attractive people earn more and get promoted faster! – don’t shoot the messenger guys! ;-)
  • Attractive bins like the Frisbee from French firm Perigot or the crumpled wastepaper bin from Essey are beautiful and call out to be used! What’s more, they’re less likely to be hidden away in a dark corner and serve as an omnipresent reminder to recycle more. They can take the burden of recycling out of the kitchen and in to multiple rooms in the house.
  • What’s more, simple design cues like (for example) a red bin bag would excite us. They’re different; and like the flash of red from the sole of a pricey shoe is something that we want to be noticed. Making people proud to talk about their new product gives the scheme social currency.

Step 2: COLLECT and Share

  • So we have beautiful bins to store our rubbish. But we shouldn’t think of recyclables as rubbish, but instead as objects of value (more on that later) We’ve collected a whole load of recyclable material and we need to get it ‘back in to the system’. Human nature dictates that we’re pretty lazy here and going out of our way to lug bin bags (however attractive) to the recycling centre might not work.
  • We’ve done our bit, so time for the manufacturers to show they’re equally committed to the cause as well. We said that rubbish is something of value; what better way to emphasise that than by having somebody come to collect it from us? Take a look at what Nespresso is doing; they’ll come to your door, at a time arranged by you and collect your empty coffee capsules for free.
  • Now I know what you’re thinking here. Driving around town in a big red truck colleting red bags of refuse isn’t going to come cheap (and will hardly do wonders for our carbon footprint) but there may be something of a compromise somewhere – A mix of partner collection centres and direct collections in certain cities, for a certain level of bags perhaps? Community. Hit me with your ideas! :-)
  • So here’s the clever bit. Just because I’ve given my bags of recycling back, doesn’t mean I relinquish ownership of it. Tie a paper luggage tag with a QR code to your bag and when it arrives back at recycling HQ we’ll scan it and let you know it’s safe and sound. Cue recognition. My points balance increases and I’ve got a personalised score that’s ripe for sharing and gamification.

Step 3: CELEBRATE your Success

  • It started with the EMECO Navy 111 chair. A design classic reinterpreted by (the equally iconic) Coke, and a stellar example of the brilliant possibilities of recycled materials. Of course, at £252 a chair, perhaps a less than accessible example, but who was it that said not being able to have something makes you want it even more? Incentivisation.
  • Recycled materials, *my* recycled materials, could end up as a chair! or a t-shirt, or a duvet, or USB stick for my computer? Whatever floats your boat. When you’ve got enough points, order away and have that nifty (or pricey) gift delivered back to you. Perhaps even a partial credit against that iconic chair, or access to exclusive events, or other objects of desire.
  • It’s all there on the scrapp store. Making recycled products desirable and changing the way we think about what happens to that bottle, can or cardboard packaging when it goes in to that little round hole. The opportunities are endless; scrapp, as an alternative currency for good; coordinated by the producers of packaging, and enabled by its consumers

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

(1) Encourages Interaction through Design: Our homes are beautiful and our recycling touch-points should be too. It shouldn’t stop at the kitchen, but be present in every room of the house. (2) Challenges the Perception of ‘Rubbish’: Packaging isn’t something without value if it can be used as a currency to trade for something which we do value. It’s a simple principle as old as civilisation. (3) Informs us about the Recycling Process: Through engaging interaction with a shop window, visibility is created and awareness raised of the potential (and desirability) of recycled goods.

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

I’ve started already! A gorgeous new bin is on its way and I’m going to see how it affects my habits. How many comments it receives from design-focused guests at dinner parties and if the neighbours have anything to say about red bin bags! Keeping a score of how many bags of recyclables I collect, I want to see how long it might take to recycle the number (and cost) of the plastic bottles needed to produce one Navy 111 chair. Who knows, perhaps keeping track of cost might spur me to *consume* less instead!

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

The concept of an entire recycling ecosystem can be dauntingly large but that’s precisely the benefit of having an equally large and creative community! Hi there :-) From thoughts about user touch-points (web, mobile etc.) through to the outstanding challenges of collections (big red vans, collection partners), thoughts about potential products (chairs vs. concert tickets), gamification (challenges and awards) this is my first OpenIDEO project so please do pitch in!
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Team (3)

Robert's profile
Paul's profile
Paul Reader

Role added on team:

"Hi Paul, really grateful for your contributions to far to the ScrappStore concept. Would be really keen to get your continued input and test some ideas with you. All the best, Robert."

Maya's profile
Maya König

Role added on team:

"Hi Maya, really grateful for your contributions to far to the ScrappStore concept. Would be really keen to get your continued input and test some ideas with you. You seem to knwo where to look when it comes to possible items that could be 'sold' on the ScrappStore :-) All the best, Robert."


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Way to go Robert! It's obvious that we have the same approach to recycling. Both concepts aim to make recycling at home beautiful and help people be proud of it. They would certainly go in hand in hand to beautify recycling.

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