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I hear the word "gamify"" a lot these days, typically used in the context of trying to make a product more compelling by introducing competitive elements amonsgt users. Since Day One at Charopy the goal has been to get kids more engaged with recycling, but we have never been in favour of simply preaching at children about the importance of sustainability and hoping that they would just modify their behaviour accordingly.

There is an old saying "what gets rewarded gets done" and the rewards when schools adopt Charopy comes in two key ways. Firstly children are rewarded financially because they earn money on their wristband for every eligible container returned. That money is theirs to spend in the canteen, or in whatever manner the school decides. The second way children are rewarded is through peer recognition, and this is where the gamification element comes in. To illustrate this I am showing below the screen parents see when looking at the available balance on a child's Charopy account.

In the illustration above, this particular child is the 4th best recycler in class 5L at that school; in the 14 days prior there were three children in 5L that returned more eligible drink containers for recycling. This data can be shared with the class teacher who can put a weekly leaderboard up in the classroom if desired, or the children can simply ask their parents to check their position daily. By bringing a competitive element into recycling we are tapping into the desire of children to win, and what could be better than harnessing this desire to drive a positive change in behaviour that hopefully will begin to build longer term habits of embracing a more sustainable way of life as they mature.

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

The are two different ways to view the current amount your child has to spend on his or her Charopy wristband. When you first registered or anytime you Add Funds, you will receive an email confirmation with a URL that you can click. Please bookmark this URL if you want to check the balance often. You will also be able to view a list of all recent transactions.

The second way is way more high tech, and always seems to impress people when I show them. But the downside is it only works on some phones - most Androids and the newer iPhones.

If your Android phone supports Google Pay or Samsung Pay and you have NFC activated in Settings then you should be able to tap onto your child's wristband in order to see the current balance of his or her account. Please note that this feature is only activated on the wristband once your child has done his or her first 'earn' transaction through recycling. For iPhone users, the versions 7, 8 and X iPhones can only read NFC Tags if you download and open an NFC reading app first, but the newer XS, XS Max and XR iPhones operate in a similar way to most Android NFC phones in that so long as you have NFC turned on in Settings, then simply tapping your phone against your child's Charopy wristband will show the current balance and recent transaction history.

I've heard of parents doing this every morning before the kids leave the house, and I've even had one person tell me how great this feature is as they simply tap the child's phone after school and know how much money and at what times of the day that child spent money in the school canteen, and even whether or not that child returned any items for recycling that day rather than throwing them into the general rubbish bin.

Please note that the internal NFC antenna within the phone is located in different locations on different devices, so it may not work in exactly the same way (corner of phone) as illustrated in the diagram above. If this method fails on your phone, then just click the link sent in the email confirmation you receive anytime you Add Funds to your child's Charopy account and you will see the same account information.

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

When we started Charopy we always said that Term 2, 2019 would be a pilot period capped at a maximum of three schools. We are now coming very close to the end of Term 2 and it is time to start sharing more widely some of the amazing features we have built into the product plus some of the features we are in the process of building, as well as highlight some of the amazing schools we are working with and those we will be working with in future.

So unless you either teach at, or have children at one of our Sydney pilot schools, chances are you haven't even heard of Charopy until now as we have been very conscious about keeping a low profile - but that is about to change in a big way. More news on that in the coming days.

Part of my reason as the founder of Charopy for doing a pilot period was the success I had when I founded the Qkr for Schools mobile payments app back in 2013. At that time I insisted that the number of schools be capped for the first 6 months. Even though we knew the product was becoming incredibly popular with our early pilot schools, we did not want to grow too fast before we were ready to handle the growth. So in 2014 we came out of pilot and had almost 100 schools sign up in that first year. Today almost 1,000 schools around Australia use that app, and my hope is that with Charopy my team and I can recreate the magic of the early days of Qkr and do for recycling and student initiated payments what Qkr did for parent initiated payments in schools. At Charopy we are now ready to come out of pilot and from Term 3, 2019 we will be accepting more schools onto our platform - a platform that is already seeing, in the schools with which we work, an increase of 2 to 3 times the number of children engaged with the container deposit scheme, whilst increasing the frequency of their interaction with that scheme by an even greater extent. My team and I are extremely focussed on getting school children to embrace sustainably, and we welcome your interest in following our progress.


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