‘Super Sort’ - Gamifying Waste Education
A socio-technological solution to the problem of incorrect recycling behaviour.
Since 2012, targeted recycling programs and waste education initiatives have helped to double the University’s landfill diversion rate from 15% in 2011 to 30% in 2015. But keeping recycling rates up in busy retail eating spaces like Hub Central on North Terrace campys, has proven challenging, particularly with an ever-changing student cohort.
Waste audits in early-2016 showed that large numbers of recyclable items were being placed in landfill bins, and that recycling bins were heavily contaminated, coffee cups proving the worst offender. So Computer Science students were engaged through the Ecoversity Green Project Fund initiative to develop four games; Coffee Sort, Rubbish Rain, Bin Me and Colour Match, based on popular games like space invaders and brain training exercises. The games were designed to reinforce the colour coding of red and yellow bins for landfill vs. recycling, and target specific issues such as not emptying containers and cups before recycling.
The App was trialed in Hub Central over three days with more than 300 students playing games in return for a free Keep Cup and coffee voucher.
A post-app waste audit in Hub Central showed:
- 12% decrease in recyclables in the landfill bin
- 9% decrease in combined recyclables/organics in the landfill bin
- 4% decrease in organic bin contamination
The App is being further developed and will be used as part of the Ecoversity waste education program in 2017.
This project was part of the Smart Cities initiative.