Recycling Bins 34% More Effective When They Have...Holes!

Photo via sillygwailo

Recycling bins in public places are starting to be more common, and they come in a variety of designs. Some are little bins hovering over trash cans that sometimes look more like cigarette bins, some look pretty much the same as a regular trash can...and some have small holes just the right size for recyclable items.

Turns out, that last design will increase the rate of recycling by 34% - just through its shape.Sean Duffy is an associate professor of psychology at Rutgers and has conducted a study to find out what makes people recycle. According to Duffy:

People fail to recycle for a number of reasons, including misinformation and forgetfulness; however, it is also a design problem. My coauthor Michelle Verges and I were talking over the phone about why everyone says they recycle, but if you look around, there is a lot of recyclable material in trash cans. We then went around looking through different kinds of recycling bins and trash cans, examining their contents. We began noticing a pattern: Regardless of the receptacle’s label, recycling bins with little holes in the lids contained recyclables and almost nothing else, while those that lacked those holes were basically used as trash cans. So we carried out a study having recycling bins in one building either with or without the hole, and found that the presence of the hole increased the recycling rate by 34%, which is an enormous increase.

Duffy figures that the fact of the little hole makes people more aware that it is a recycling bin so they consciously use it properly, rather than just tossing in items because they don't notice or don't stop to care what the bin is actually for.

Via Rutgers via Green Daily
More on Recycling:
How to Add Artistic Flair to Your Recycling Bin
The Un-Recyclables: Things You Should Keep Out of the Recycling Bin
Sucking Waste Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Ignorance, Illiteracy, Apathy or Bad Design?

Tags: Recycling | Urban Planning | Waste


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