A Machine Encourages Kids to Recycle With Candy Bribes


Images Courtesy of YunJin Chang

You teach your kids that recycling is the right thing to do. That caring for the planet is a responsibility, to protect their future and that of future generations. But the concept of tragedy of the commons can be a difficult one, even for adults. So, how can you get your kids to recycle? Bribery, of course!


And now, thanks to a design by YunJin Chang, you can appeal to your child's sweet tooth to encourage them to recycle. It's the Recycling Vending Machine (RCV), which rewards the recycler with candy when something is properly disposed of.

Even without the element of bribery, it's a clever design. It's made for glass, aluminum cans, and plastic. Once you've pressed the appropriate button, the hole opens and you chuck the item in. If all goes well, the machine lights up, and a candy is dispensed.

If you mess up, no light, no candy. It's a great idea, and one that will appeal to sweet-toothed adults (such as myself) as well as children. But I wonder how practical it really is. First, I would make it a bit bigger, to increase its storage capacity. And hopefully, you can throw in multiple items (of the same type) at the same time- otherwise you end up wasting a lot of time, and have more candy on your hands that you know what to do with.

Lastly, I would make it so that something other than candy can be offered- maybe delicious fruits and veggies from your garden?

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More original ways to encourage recycling:
France Puts On Concerts to Encourage Recycling, Charges Old Electronics As Entry Fee
Niagara Region Employs Students to Reward and Encourage Curbside Recycling
Baggin' it in Barcelona: Recycling Bag Fun for Everyone!

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