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Gamifying recycling for kids

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.



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