Can Standardized Signs Increase School Recycling 47%? (Video)
Image credit: Recycle Across America
From 4 ways to earn cash from recycling, to iPhone apps that make recycling a breeze, we've featured a fair amount of ideas to increase recycling rates here on TreeHugger. Lloyd has even cast a critical eye on the practice, provocatively claiming that recycling is bulls**t. But we haven't, as far as I can tell, tackled one of the most important aspects of recycling infrastructure—signage. It's an oversight that should be fixed, because proper signage can make more of a difference than you'd think. A lot more.As our slideshow of recycling bins from around the world showed, there's an almost infinite variety of ways to communicate what should be recycled and where. But while variety and diversity are good in cuisine, music and culture—they can be somewhat of a negative when it comes to signage.
Now Recycle Across America, a non-profit charged with "delivering solutions that make recycling more simple, comprehensive, efficient and prevalent in the United States" is making a push for standardized recycling signage across the nation. It has put together a comprehensive collection of signage which it is offering up free of charge on its website, and it claims adopting such signage could make a massive difference to recycling rates. In fact when one school district adopted standardized signage across all of its buildings, the non-profit claims, it increased recycling rates by 47%. (Of course it would be interesting to know what signage was there before, and whether the new signage was part of a wider awareness raising campaign.)
Whether or not standardized signage would result in such massive increases, and whether these signs are the right signs for the job, remains to be seen—but anything that helps eliminate the confusion around recycling can only be a good thing.