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How To Gamify Recycling and Cut Waste Faster – Method InSight

Gamify waste: make office recycling fun to meet targets faster

Humans are creatures of habit and behaviour can be hard to change. As we know through work with our clients, in many workplaces it can be hard to get team members to recycle more than they already do.

However, as organisations grapple with how to improve their environmental impact, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and meet climate reporting requirements, better waste reduction is only getting more urgent. Companies can now use gamification to lift workplace recycling engagement like never before.

Improving recycling in the workplace

Once you’ve got beautiful bins in great locations, consider gamification as a tool to help boost recycling rates and cut waste. With emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), gamification to drive behaviour change is becoming easier each day.

What is gamification?

Gamification is the use of game mechanics in non-game contexts. Game mechanics and features can include competitive elements, social interaction, leaderboards or badges. At its heart, gamification’s success rests on how these elements motivate and engage people to do things differently.

Psychological studies show us how game mechanics can generate social engagement, positive emotions, fun, relevance, a sense of accomplishment and more. While at a simple level, gamification can be ‘points for prizes’, it can also work more internally – and more interestingly. Gamification can build a sense of self-fulfilment, joy, increased control and feelings of growing competence in the workplace.

A great example of gamification in action is Duolingo. If you’ve ever used it to learn another language, you’ll be familiar with its use of learning streaks, leaderboards, levels, and badges to keep users engaged in the app, solve common learning challenges, and ultimately support users in meeting their learning goals.

Benefits of Waste Gamification

Game mechanics have been used successfully to reduce energy use for at least ten years. As the City of Kuopio and Savonia University of Applied Sciences found, in their 3R Game Jam research, gamification-based solutions can also be used efficiently to increase recycling.

At Method, we designed InSight to make it easier for our clients to bring joy, fun, and a greater sense of control among their staff through gamification. We know sometimes people can feel hopeless and discouraged from taking environmental action. If used well, gamification is a useful tool that can help change those negative emotions into positive responses. Positive emotions move individuals and teams to do more.

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Gamifying your waste with Method InSight

The energy sector has been able to use gamification because smart-meters create the data necessary for game mechanics. That hasn’t been possible for workplace waste. Now, Method InSight’s bin-by-bin level data collection lets you gamify waste easily.

Here are five ways you can use Method InSight to gamify waste diversion in your workplace:

  1. Use the team-facing leaderboard at the bin station to show how much has been recycled in a given period. Simply showing the growing success in this way can foster a greater sense of control and fulfilment.
  2. Use the data to report regularly to team members on how much they have recycled that day, week or month, compared to the previous period. This comparative data can encourage a feeling of individual and collective competence. In this way, success breeds more success. You can support this with targeted communication activity to help improve specific metrics.
  3. Structure the leaderboard and internal reporting to show different achievements between different bin stations, departments, buildings – or even between countries. Friendly competition is a strong motivator.
  4. Create team or location-based recognition based on the data you collect to celebrate the team recycling the most or showing the most improvement over a period.
  5. Use the insights from the data and the leaderboard to incentivise and reward the recycling and waste cuts you want to see.

This list is just a start. By combining the power of data with our human delight in games and quests for fun, Method InSight will let you build waste cuts in your workplace like never before.

Educating and engaging staff on recycling

With quality data at your fingertips, the only limit for how you go further to educate, inspire and incentivise your teams is your creativity.

Shared team goals and rewards can be great team bonding experiences, how about putting up a quarterly prize for the biggest reduction in landfill or best use of your organisation’s waste data?

With a connected and holistic waste performance picture, shared learning opportunities across floors, business units and buildings open up. Include your waste wins in your internal communications to encourage learning across the business and crowdsource ideas for diverting even more.

InSight gives you unprecedented content for inspiring behaviour change across teams and locations. Our Waste Success team are ready to help you mine your data and develop staff education and engagement ideas that work for your organisation.

We’d love to share more on how gamification can help you.

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