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Could a simple sticker help us recycle more? - Call for designs!

A simple sticker that serves as a just-in-time reminder to help separate recycle from trash.

Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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Update: I've started a public community on G+ to collect design and ideas for creating fun stickers. This is just the start! My goal is to create a website where people can design and print their own stickers.

Please contribute your ideas and designs to the community :)

Pimp Your Bin
 


 

I often end up taking my empty pizza box to the recycle bin. Luckily, the bin has a huge sticker that reads "No pizza boxes" among other things. It serves as a great JIT reminder for me. I don't always have to know what can or cannot be recycled; the information is right on my recycle bin.

What if we had similar stickers for our trash cans? Something that indicates this is not the right place for certain items...

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

Each time you or anyone opens the trash can to toss an empty beer bottle, there is a gentle reminder that the bottle doesn't belong here. This trigger could prompt one to recycle, and repeated exposure could help form/improve recycling habits at home.

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

I would try this experiment at my home and probably get some friends/neighbors to partake. Contributors: feel free to experiment with this concept in your own surroundings :-).

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

In addition to general thoughts on the concept, I could use help with content, verbiage, and perhaps prototyping. I'd love to get feedback on how to improve and test this idea.

Evaluation results

14 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 - 57.1%

The idea is pretty good but I’m not sure it will make new habits - 35.7%

Not sure the idea would really help people establish long-lasting habits - 7.1%

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 - 71.4%

Seems like it could work but needs some fleshing out - 28.6%

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 - 71.4%

Possibly – although it might work better under some schemes rather than others - 14.3%

I think it might only work under particular circumstances - 14.3%

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 - 92.9%

Piloting this idea would be possible but it could take a lot of time and resources - 7.1%

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

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

It rocked my world - 42.9%

I liked it but preferred others - 35.7%

It didn’t get me too excited - 21.4%

64 comments

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Photo of Youngkoun Choi
Team

Congratulations ! That's great idea. I feel like inspiration from that! it is useful and easy to use for everyone!

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Photo of Rong Jun Li
Team

Congratulations ! i hope the wonderful stickers can be able to remind and inspire many people in the world with their home recycling.

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Photo of An Old Friend
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Love the great effect a simple sticker can make!

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Photo of OpenIDEO
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Hey Priyanka! We were so inspired by your participation in the Recycling Challenge that we want to be sure you're in the know about our Renewable Energy Challenge – which is now in the Ideas Phase: http://ideo.pn/rr-ideas We'd love if you might swing by and collaborate + share some of the energy you contributed to the Recycling Challenge so that we can help communities around the world become rapidly renewable. Hope to see you there before Jan 19!

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Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Neat idea. I like it! Would give it a shot at my home too. :-)

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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Cool! let me know if it works! Also, Welcome to OpenIDEO! great to see you here...

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Photo of Maya König
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Priyanka, love the idea! :) Have you seen Recology's customizable recycle and trash signs (good for printing)?

RECOLOGY'S MAKE YOUR OWN RECYCLE, COMPOST, LANDFILL SIGNS
http://www.sfenvironment.org/signmaker

I like that yours comes as a sticker, as I worry with paper Recology sings about the sign tearing off or the paper getting soggy. I also love your hand drawn icons for the disposed items. Thinking of your hand drawn icons and my interviews with people for the Coke Bring Bag got me thinking...what if the stickers were offered as part of a kit--as Nick said--but were blank and offered an opportunity for individuals to draw common items they recycle or throw in the trash them themselves! This way the items on the sticker are more likely to reflect waste the family or individuals are trying to sort at home themselves. Avery makes some cool paper for print at home stickers:

AVERY PRINTABLE STICKERS
http://amzn.to/1nMnhj6

Maybe this paper or a similar one could be offered in the kit? Maybe the paper could come with a pre-printed headline "Trash" and "Recycling?" Maybe Coca-Cola Enterprises could offer a similar page on their site as Recology's Signmaker that includes a place to order it as a printed sticker? Or Coca-Cola could partner with Avery or one of its advisors to send the customized printed sticker or just show how others made the customizable signs with the web program and Avery sticker paper? A kind of Coca-Cola Instructables for making your own recycling stickers?

INSTRUCTABLES: HOMEMADE STICKERS
http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Stickers/

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
Team

Great resources, Maya! Thanks for sharing. Yes, including blank stickers in the kit makes sense. Lots of great suggestions here...I'll be working on a refinement soon!

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Photo of Phil Li
Team

Great concept! This idea makes the most sense considering the research finding on habits... ie don't expect people to pull out smartphones, consider rational arguments, or spend cognitive effort for each piece of refuse. On the other hand, choosing and putting stickers on your bins are simple acts of affirmation and commitment to recycling.

I see people struggle with recycling everyday as an Airbnb host. My guests come from all over the world. Most want to be "good guests" when they see my bins, so they attempt to sort their refuse. But they just don't get what goes where. They are on vacation and don't want to think! The local trash company does provide stickers, but those are confusing. I created my own "simpler" labels, but they are not graphic and is challenging to non-English speakers. On top of that, the local recycling program has evolved over time. I'm not even sure where things go half the time!

I also like a previous commenter's crowdsourced website idea. Designs can be refined and tracked over time for performance. Many trash companies face recycling mandates and may pay for this effort, just as utilities pay for energy efficiency. As designs get better and better, friends who visit will notice, get their own, and recycle too.

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Photo of Coralie Hykes
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Hi ! Not sure this is where I should post this comment but it is kind of the same idea than your sticker idea. Even if most of the time I think I know what I can recycle or not, sometime, I still have some doubt about it....
Wouldn't be easier for people to recycle if on the packaging, they were something more clear of what goes in the green, blue or black can ? It could be just a little trash can logo in green, blue or black, or just a dot in green, blue or black on the different things to trash ?

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Photo of Aaryaman Singhal
Team

Hey Priyanka,

I love this idea for its simplicity and I want to share another simple solution for everyone here.

I live with two roommates in an apartment. I recently signed us up for a composting service. Initially, I had the composting bin further from the kitchen than the trash because the trash bin took up lots of space and there wasn't room for the compost. The recycling was also an extra couple of feet away due to space.
In short, it was much easier to throw things in the trash than to recycle or compost them just because those bins were an extra couple of feet away.

So 1) Put the composting and recycling bins closer to the kitchen counter where people will likely produce trash. I made this possible by changing the sizes of the bins (which is number 2).

2) Change the sizes of the bins to reflect where you want waste to go. Currently, our apartment has a large recycling bin, a small composting bin, and a smaller trash bin.

Things I'm planning on doing for further improvement:

1) The size of the composting bin is fixed (because it is provided to us by the company), but I'm hoping to find a stool to put it on so that we don't have to bend down to open it. This makes composting slightly more convenient.

2) Find a new small trash bin that has a lid (the current one is open). This makes throwing things in the trash slightly less convenient.

My roommates are already making conscious decisions about where they put their trash (and hopefully building good habits!). If nothing else, getting a compost bin has greatly increased how much we recycle.

Hope everyone on this thread can implement something from here to help others build good recycling/trash habits.

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Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Hey Priyanka, congratulations! Such a simple way to really nudge, educate and inspire people to recycle. I'm also digging the website's ability to customise stickers for your own circumstances. I can't wait to see how this grows.

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Photo of Prashant Rao
Team

Smart recycling will help in getting the trash to the right place and encourage down stream activity and save cost. The pictures can be colorful and welcoming with suggestion of what GOES IN and WHAT DOES NOT . Good Idea and does improve recycling at the point of disposal

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Images for possible prototype added to the community page. Will try to come up with some more material before refinement finishes.

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Thanks for the team add too Priyanka.

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Congratulations Priyanka! Looking forward to great stickers to remind, educate, and inspire all with their home recycling!

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Photo of Leigh Cullen
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Congrats Priyanka! A simple sticker can go a long way as a great "recycle that" cue. And everyone loves a good sticker.
Leigh

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Priyanka!
Are you looking for concrete do's and don'ts or are you also looking for messaging - prompts - reminders - impact questions - for the stickers?

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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Hi Bettina, anything is fair game at this point as long as I can use it in the Kit. So yes, prompts, reminders, impact questions are all great! I am certainly including your ABC of recycling stickers/magnets :)

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Thanks for the info.
If I come up with a message without a visual feel free to create one!

Interesting article on the application of social psychology research to crafting pro environmental messages.
http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct05/persuasive.aspx

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Priyanka.
I have a last minute sticker idea. It is message based. In the research phase we heard that social pressure is one approach to environmental messaging that seems to yield positive results.

Referencing the idiom - Keeping Up With the Jones's
how about:

ARE YOU KEEPING UP?

(Underneath the above question is a drawing of two bins -
One very small bin is labelled Jones family trash.
The second very large bin is labelled Jones family recyclables.)

Jones Family
trash

Jones Family
recyclables

I tried this out with some people at work. It took them a minute and then they got it - "oh yah. that's cute. I get it. I think you might want to label the bins Martinez Family or Rodriguez Family up here in the Bronx though!"
So I thought - maybe lots of bins - a mini UN of bins- with all different names representing our multicultural world?

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Hi Bettina,
Great input - do you have a graphic to share on the Pimp Your Bin Community ( https://plus.google.com/u/1/communities/104606287450280138101 ) - then Priyanka could incorporate it easily into this concept - I know you were an initial community member?

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi Paul. No graphic - only one in my head! I started one but time ran out - work got in the way!
My idea is simple font, simple drawing of two side by side outdoor bins. (Or perhaps lots of sets of side by side bins with all different family names. Same question above.) The idea is the message.
I was hoping for a collaboration - if Priyanka liked the messaging she could do the graphics! or whomever else wants to take a shot!

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Photo of Paul Reader
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OK - will mock-up something in Inkscape and post it on the community page. I'll let you know when it is there.

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Mock up added to community page.

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Photo of Jes Simson
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Hey Bettina, I love the "are you keeping up" sentiment. It's cheeky and makes you laugh. Keeping up with your neighbours has been shown to be a huge motivator (although people rarely identify that they are motivated by this): http://freakonomics.com/2012/06/21/riding-the-herd-mentality-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Good point Jes.

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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Hi all.
Thanks Jes. Happy to hear that you also like the cheeky message! Maybe they should study laughter as a motivator! thanks for sharing the podcast!

Thanks Paul for your quick visual of the idea! If I have a chance I will put one up, since it is on the Google page I guess I can still do it? How do you upload a photo to that page - or drawing to that page?

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Hi Bettina,
I thought I saw you as a member of the community when Priyanka first put it up - however it is open to public membership so you can just join and post to one of the conversation categories - as you prepare a post you will see the option to add images, links, videos and events. Coupled with Google hangouts and Google drive it makes a reasonable complementary collaborative environment to OpenIDEO.
I have missed a couple of challenges lately so I'm not sure if Priyanka is the first to initiate this.
In response to Nancy Kelly's intention to follow through with her RecyCream concept I have set up a community for that too. ( https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/112324305673337694221 ) If Nancy sees the community as worthwhile I will transfer ownership to her.

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Just reviewed the imagess in the RecyCream page and discovered that they require a white background if the writing is to be visible in the slideshow and I think I will give them a post for each - combining the images in a single post does none of them any justice.

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Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

something we have toyed with before. Simple, effective tool at the point of action.

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Hi,
Can I ask why it was 'toyed' with ?
Does that mean it was ultimately ineffective, or just economically unsustainable?
Do you have any background to the previous efforts?
Was it tied to a marketing campaign with limited life and distribution?
Such information would be useful in understanding how best to progress this excellent concept.

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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Great questions Paul! Thank you for being so active on this thread..

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Photo of Paul Reader
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I'm always keen to collaborate on your ideas Priyanka, if I have the time and something I think may contribute. You have a wonderful capacity to get to the heart of an issue and provide appropriate solutions.
I note you have been busy with other things (which is understandable).
Your creation of the Pimp My Bin Community is inspired and a great way to allow contributions from Ideators. It overcomes some of the limitations still existing in the OpenIDEO platform and offers a way to progress continued refinement.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

How's prototyping going, Priyanka? Have you thought about holding an offline brainstorming session to motivate some potential designs?

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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Hi Meena, I couldn't do much last week...but a few friends are trying it out at home and liking the results so far...

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Photo of Hermione Taylor
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I love this idea - so simple, yet possibly so effective. Confusion around what can and can't be recycled is one of the most common complaints that I hear. What adds to the confusion is that it differs from place to place, so perhaps a customisable sticker would be ideal, with a link to something like http://www.recyclenow.com so that you can see what you can recycle in your area?

Have you thought about how you'd distribute the stickers? Could they be printed on the inside of the coke bottle label, for instance?!

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Photo of Paul Reader
Team

I have kept this concept in the back of my mind as I have been discussing other concepts.

On the question of distribution I proposed that, amongst other things the kit might be distributed through Nancy Kelly's RecyCream Trucks as services are introduced - either through the inaugural collection or through promotional visits to schools and shopping centres.
Alternatively it could be made into a promotional item in supermarkets or grocery stores in conjunction with things like Bottles for Smiles.

Community Recycling Champions as drivers for RecyCream or simply acting as volunteers for collection of recycling but also distributing the kits.

It would not be a question of either/or but rather an integral part of any promotional initiative. I do like the prospect of introducing it in conjunction with starting a new collection service or promoting any existing one.

So far as content is concerned it could be varied according to the local conditions. The customisation would vary slightly based on the actual service being provided or promoted. Local links (e.g. http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/ForResidents/WasteRecyclingandNoise/householdgarbage/Pages/recycling.aspx - they recycle pizza boxes) could be provided or as Hermione says a link to local links.

Again, with regard to content I wondered about involving kids - picking up on Selina McPherson's suggestion in another thread for this concept ( https://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/refinement/could-a-simple-sticker-help-us-recycle-more#c-dbef8dd48efa031ec6613ccf02cbd67f ) I thought perhaps the colouring activity could be preceded by a stencilling activity, utilising cardboard stencils.
I will put up some designs on the Pimp Your Bin Community ( https://plus.google.com/u/1/communities/104606287450280138101 ) tonight. The thought here was three-told: activity, flexibility and recyclability.

Here is one possible Kit configuration:
1 Container - capped mailing tube;
2 Stickers - small roll or rolled sheets of 2" x 2" blank paper stickers;
(alternative or additional standard printed stickers)
3 Stencils/templates - cardboard 12" x 1.5" possibly x 2 with stencils of various items. and a recycle strike through stencil (see designs on community site)
4. Local (or general) recycling guidelines with website links.
5. Poster/instructions for re-use of mailng tube (e.g. decorated as vase for artificial flowers);
6. Optional small recycling poster based on local rules (glossy pictorial version of 4.)
7. Optional - incorporation of 'family/household' paper and cardboard version of Stephan's Recycling Champs Challenge system ( see modification discussion here https://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/refinement/recycling-champ#c-d05a4137255b3dc094ec8b114453eeb9 ).

All these items would themselves be either re-usable, recyclable or both.

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Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hermione. Confusion about what and where to recycle is absolutely what I have heard from everyone I mention this challenge to. The RecycleNow website you posted is fantastic. I think your idea to have that resource info available to locals on a sticker is great.
Pryinanka - Great idea to include this in the Pimp Your Bin- no?

Too bad there is not an idea just to create one repository website where people can upload links to their local rules anywhere in the world. Clearly this is step one for most folk! Maybe this already exists. Seems like there is loads of info to sort through out there.

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Agreed about the RecycleNow website.
Bettina, really great idea to have a crowd sourced website for links to local recycling rules.
I underestimated how long it would take me to add some designs on the G+ Community., but the first lot will be there by Saturday am USA time.
Have to put up with my CG skills, sadly.

The simplicity of this idea is fundamental. The fact that it would be there as a constant reminder with a one-time initial effort is conducive to habit forming, certainly more so than competing with everything else in the digital space. For those of us without smart phones or tablets (perhaps even no internet access) it represents a "universal" solution.

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Photo of James Robertson
Team

Hi Priyanka.. love the simplicity of this idea. I wonder if a small layer of technology might compliment it? A couple of years ago on a similar challenge, I read about a concept involving RFID tags called 'Smart Bins'... Here is a link... hope it might provide some inspiration for tangential developments!

https://openideo.com/search.html?text=smart+bins

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Photo of Paul Reader
Team

Interesting link James.
The micro RFID tag on items for recycling would certainly enhance sorting items wherever suitable recognition equipment is installed.

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Photo of Robert James
Team

In doing some research this weekend, I noticed there were some smart icon and colour based stickers available on Amazon. I've added them under the accessories section at scrappstore.com take a look

Personally speaking, I probably wouldn't want to buy stickers; shifting my emotional mindset is probably the challenge here. On the other hand, if there was an avenue to obtain free stickers then I'd be pretty chuffed and pop them all over my bins. I wonder how we could get these stickers out to market without cost to the consumer?

Perhaps linking-in with bin manufacturers or resellers to provide a pack of stickers would be a possible route?

I remember flying on Korean Air, they provided stickers to passengers to affix to their seats to indicate if the airline staff should wake them for meals/duty free etc. I still have them, they're great! (https://urbanbrat.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/sh3b02491.jpg?w=450&h=337)

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Good idea to link sticker kit supply with bin manufacture.

Where new services are introduced recycling firms might be responsible.
Municipal authorities generally have distribution of service information/newsletters etc. to ratepayers and households - encouraging them to distribute might work too since they are often major stakeholders in the process.

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Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

I don't really think this is a great idea because the assumption here is that people want to recycle but just forget to do so or are not motivated enough. It's simplifying matters by stating that an attractive sticker will courage one who does not recycle to to do so if he/she sees the sticker in time. I believe we do not recycle because it seems inconvenient. We would rather throw the item in the first bin that comes our way rather than go out of our way to a recycle bin. Just my 2 cents!

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
Team

Hi Indra, I respect your opinion and thanks for voicing your concern. This sticker is designed for using on one's trash bin at home, and not for a recycle bin. Yes, I am making the assumption that people want to recycle and have access to a recycling pick-up service. I am not trying to solve the bigger problem which is about inconvenience.

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Photo of Paul Reader
Team

Hi Indra and Priyanka,

I share Priyanka's respect for your opinion Indra.

As Priyanka says there is a primary assumption that a household recycling pick-up service is already in place.
Our local council was prompted to introduce such a service for three main reasons:
- to provide the convenience we now enjoy;
- to contribute to the growing popularity and value in recycling; and
- to reduce landfill where the cost of land is growing and available space diminishing.

While soundly agreeing with the idea of stickers for internal/household use (which is the focus of this challenge) I can also see this as useful for both commercial and community situations too. Here in Tasmania we are beginning to see commercial premises and public facilities that have recycling bins and general rubbish bins side-by-side.

As a concession to user convenience many of our household recycling bins are what is termed co-mingled so, until recently, we had just two bins - one for all recyclables and one for general rubbish. We therefore have a minimum of inconvenience in our choice. In recent months our council has added a third bin for garden and household compostable items.

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Photo of Emma Hunt
Team

Simple Idea with Huge IMPACT. I think sometimes we do just forget to recycle and/or think what is the big deal anyhow if I just throw this one bottle in the bin. I think the stick concept is simple to implement, and is a good nudge to get people to think twice before they put their recyclables in the trash. At my work we have different bins for different waste and recycling, and I know that it does have a positive impact on behaviours. I look forward to seeing the sticker in production soon, and perhaps an ad campaign to go with it too!

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Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Congrats!, I think this idea is very easy to implement, and would create less reluctance because who doesn't like a simple and clear message.

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Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Great concept and by keeping it simple the visual imagery will also engage children to participate. Great idea!

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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Thanks Anita!

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Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Congrats on making it to the refinement stage, great job!

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Photo of Selina McPherson
Team

To build on the idea of child participation, maybe there is a "family" version of this sticker that would allow kids to color in the different items that are or aren't allowed in each bin. The same way that parents put kids artwork on the fridge...this would be a creative activity that would then be high visibility for the family and kids, giving them a sense of ownership. Also it could help the kids understand what this sticker is there for, by getting involved.

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Photo of Robert James
Team

Hi team. Love the really simple idea. I've built upon this for my own idea by developing a sticker based system for measuring the recycling efficiency of any bin; similar to the energy efficiency ratings for appliances in the UK. Take a look at it here (https://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/refinement/the-scrapp-store-your-recyclables-turned-in-to-desirable-everyday-objects) would love your feedback.

The idea is that the sticker could a) encourage people to achieve a higher rating by for example, not using a plastic bin liner, putting their bin on display etc. I think it'd be really easy to combine this with your idea and alongside the 'rating score' have some highly visual iconographic images of what *shouldn't* go in to a 'mixed waste' bin. What'd you think?

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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Hi Robert, That's a great idea; I'm all for combining concepts. I've started a public community on G+ to crowdsource designs and words. Would love for you to contribute: http://goo.gl/5otrLB

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Photo of OpenIDEO
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Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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Wow, Thanks! Always an honor :)

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Photo of Paul Reader
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Great ideas as always Priyanka!
We now have 3 "wheelie" bins here for general waste, recyleables and green waste. Would love to see a fourth for electronics and appliances but in the mean time just adding them to a sticker on the main bin such as the one you illustrated would be good.
Would help to link in to some of the ideas generated in the e-Waste challenge ( How can we manage e-waste & discarded electronics to safeguard human health & protect our environment? )
As many of our devices get smaller, they also get more "binable" when they are no longer wanted, needed or usable.

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Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Great idea..such a simple...but potentially very effective concept!

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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Thanks Ashegan! If you have any ideas on scaling it, please share :)

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Photo of Erica P
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Aspects of this could also be used to link with transparency of where their recycling (or waste) ends up. e.g. visuals of landfill on your normal bin as people have become disconnected from their waste and how it's disposed of if not recycled.
On the positive recycling front there could also be examples of either what products become or almost an encouragement, smiley face, thank you and reminder of the impact that their recycling has made.
For communal bins (for flats etc), perhaps translation into community benefits (what it means locally).
I live in a shared flat, so a simple downloadable (locally applicable reminder) to my flat mates would be useful.

Sorry maybe a few to many suggestions for one idea......

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
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All great ideas, Erica! I love the idea of more detailed stickers for communal bins and downloadable reminders. Thanks!

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Photo of DeletedUser
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DeletedUser

Hi Priyanka, I like your idea of using stickers with graphic application. I have a same kind of idea on social pressure messages to encourage recycling. You can check it out here:

http://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/ideas/positive-social-pressure-messages

I think it would be interesting to combine our ideas to create social pressure with eye-catching graphics.

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Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
Team

Sounds great Alper! The stickers can be used universally.