We are always thinking of ways to influence behavior and make it intuitive for people to fully utilize the sustainability programs that exist where they work. In many cases, small, low-cost changes can produce big results.
Here is one example of how Great Forest implemented a few small but calculated changes that worked wonders to encourage composting and reduce waste (and the cost of waste removal) in a client’s cafeterias and break rooms.
The effort showed immediate results – an extra 11,000 pounds of compostable materials collected each month and diverted from landfills.
So how was this accomplished?
1) Bin size
After determining that only 5% of materials from the targeted cafeterias and break rooms would NOT be accepted for composting or recycling, Great Forest consultants decided to downsize the large garbage bins and replace them with smaller bins for waste. More compost bins were also added. This increased the visibility of the compost bins and discouraged people from throwing compostable and recyclable items into the garbage.
2) Bin Location
Great Forest experts also studied the layout of the areas to improve bin use. Compost bins, for example, were moved next to coffee machines to ensure grounds go in there rather than in the garbage. In all instances, the amount of space taken up by the new trash, recycling and composting bins remained the same.
The new setup was supported with staff training sessions on the recycling and composting programs, and reinforced with image-rich informational signs.
An added benefit, the large garbage cans, which were still in good condition, were donated to a local elementary school.