Anytime I travel to a new place, I aim to learn from the different lifestyles and culture around me, especially with how individuals interact with their environment. Similarly, in Denmark I visited a park that had an innovative recycling machine which intrigued me to think deeper.
A word of caution -this blog might touch on aspects on consumer behavior and psychology but I believe that is integral in trying to influence a positive sustainable behavior change. To reward or punish negative environmental behavior has been a highly debated topic by many around the globe.
Rewards and Encouragements
While I personally believe a combination of both measurements is required to enforce a positive change, some may disagree. The Economic and Social Research Council support the latter and have discovered that entailing positive benefits are more effective in instilling environmental care amongst individuals, compared to issuing negative warnings. Being an optimist in nature, I am glad to hear this evidence.
Reverse Recycling Vending Machine gives out money $$
Such a strategy was reflected in the reverse vending recycling machine placed at the Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark. Painted bright red with a conical hat, the machines around the lush green bushes at the park effectively attracts one’s attention towards it. Interested to find out more, one can read the clearly marked signs that promote depositing reusable plastic drink cups from the gardens in the machine, to receive 5 Danish Krone (DKK) for a cup.
It is important to remember that while taking about behavior, social rules plays a role in decision making. In Europe from what I noticed, there was a major recycling norm with bins present in major public areas around the city. While this helps in encouraging society members to follow suit and recycle, I am sure there are regulations that help with the implementation.
Excited to try out the machine, I turned our beverage cup upside down and the machine spurted out a shiny new 5 DKK coin. Even though this charge might have been included in the purchase price of the beverage, this definitely encourages visitors to retract their money in a fun and innovative way.
Tivoli’s CSR report notes that the reuse of these reusable cups through these machines saves a whooping one million disposable cups a year. However, the number of times a cup was reused within the park gardens was 4.42 times in 2016 as there was a higher number of visitors taking cups home as a souvenir.
Not sure if I was in the dark because of being an outsider, but additional signage at the food outlets would help increase tourists usage of these recycling vending machines.
It is quite encouraging to see the use of technology to create a positive environmental change and looking forward to seeing more innovations in the future.
Visit Tivoli – https://www.tivoli.dk/en/