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The new and improved food court at Westfield Knox in Melbourne has been live since late last year and whilst the final product looks really nice and is delivering great results, this post is also about the process.

Charopy had been engaged with with Scentre Group Head Office for some time when we were contacted by their Head of Sustainability about a planned renovation at Knox. Whilst Charopy works with a lot of clients on retrofitting our technology to existing bins, it is great to be contacted at the inception of a new project to ensure our solution is an integrated part of the design and not just an afterthought. This allows the team at Charopy to give the design team our learnings on best practice when it comes to integrating a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) collection within a shopping centre environment, or any other location for that matter.

From that initial request we ended up talking to the Scentre Group design team, the construction team at Scentre Group and their contractors at BCI Furniture. In this case our standard panel was exactly what they were after. Cost effective, elegant, and easy to service. We discussed how some shopping centres are using digital screen content from Charopy to maximise engagement, but in this case the client wanted to launch with something more simple, whilst keeping space above the bin for a future digital screen implementation if desired.

There are so many places where Charopy technology makes sense, but food courts may be the most obvious of all. You have significant purchase, consumption and disposal of single use drink containers, you have dwell time as people are seated and can be made more aware of your recycling initiatives, and you have the very real problem of traditional commingled bins frequently ending up in general waste and destined for landfill due to contamination. On top of this, you are paying more in waste removal by not effectively segregating CDS, plus you are missing out on the 10c deposit from the thousands of containers sold within your shopping centre. Major companies reporting annually on their sustainability targets is just one more reason to implement a CDS stream within a food court, but solving for contamination has traditionally been the biggest hurdle to moving forward on this.

Westfield Knox has joined a growing number of shopping centres around Australia to solve the problem of recycling bin contamination with the help of Charopy. Their implementation is not only highly functional, but looks absolutely amazing too.

Recently I was invited by a non client to go and see first hand the positive impact Charopy is making. The invited came from a company doing the collection of container deposit scheme (CDS) material collected at various shopping centres run by different owners and centre managers. Whilst the collection company themselves were not yet a direct Charopy client, they definitely knew about our technology and wanted to show me the difference in the collection quality from a typical shopping centre using Charopy compared to a collection from a shopping centre still using traditional methods of source separation - mainly signage.

I got to see some high quality non contaminated bags of cans and bottles (no surprises they came from a food court with Charopy installed), but the photo above is a bag taken from a shopping centre not using Charopy. From what I was told it is not even worth sorting this and a bag like this one (and many more like it that I saw) will end up in landfill. Too bad for all the recyclable material inside - at a rough guess maybe 25% of it was CDS and thus should be recycled, but the contamination in that collection just makes sorting at this point unviable. A real pity, especially when people who do the right thing are obviously seeking a good recycling outcome by using a CDS bin in the shopping centre, not knowing there is very little chance of any of it actually being recycled.

Sham recycling bins are still way too prevalent in out-of-home location Australia. But with two new products being launched very soon by Charopy, we will continue to chip away at this problem.

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about how various clients over the years had added instructions on the product they had purchased from Charopy and I called it Good Instruction, Great Results. So this post is a natural continuation of that theme, as from today clients purchasing a standard panel from Charopy (the most popular product) can take advantage of our years of experience in understanding user adoption by displaying a new sticker we have designed.

We wanted something that conveyed the key message of recycling along with instructions on usage, but using as few words as possible. When you are standing in front of a bin, the last thing you want to be doing is wasting time trying to understand how it works or what types of products it will accept.

You'll notice the scan arrow is actually based upon a bar code, just to make Step 1 even clearer for first time users. Step 2 also has a clear arrow pointing to where that action takes place. Even if you don't read the text in the upper right, the fun border of cans and bottles is hard to miss, further helping to communicate the types of items this bin is designed to accept.

Another service we've recently added is making it even easier for potential clients to order our technology by cutting and delivering border panels for existing bins. If your bin surrounds have a vertical opening then just give us the dimensions and we can arrange for a sheet to be cut from the beautiful recycled plastic shown below.

Taking this option you'll get a standard Charopy panel with no visible screws surrounded by a cut to size piece of material that really enhances the story around your sustainability initiatives. Whilst you could use any material to hold the Charopy panel in place, I think the imperfections in the recycled sheet actually enhance its beauty. But the choice is yours if you prefer a different material, especially if you want to place an even large sticker over the top of it.

Whilst we really like the sticker design above, many large clients design their own instructions to match their company's branding guidelines; so even if you don't use the sticker shown here, try to design your own instructions with a similar level of brevity and clarity and I'm sure your Charopy launch will be a huge success.


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