Recycling’s shame game?
What does your recycling say about you?
You know, those empty bottles of wine and the box of beer from last Friday’s dinner party – what must the neighbours think?
Well, that social pressure, or sense of shame, can be a powerful tool in the fight against waste.
In Western Australia, the Mindarie Regional Council is taking it a step further – clear wheelie bins.
That’s right, so everyone on the street can see what you’re recycling and what you’re not. The council says the trial is not to ‘‘name and shame’’, but to ‘‘create conversations’’.
But could see-through wheelie bins work in New Zealand? In Marlborough, the council’s solid waste manager Alec Mcneil has been watching the Mindarie trial with interest.
Mcneil said he was ‘‘not sure’’ if social pressures would encourage Marlburians to recycle better.
‘‘Increased social pressure can work both ways,’’ he said.
‘‘We try and make the service as simple as possible and user friendly to get the community engaged.’’
Stuff took to the streets of Blenheim to see what people thought.
Husband-and-wife duo Grace and Mike Stanford, of Western Australia no less, said they had heard about the transparent bin experiment and were torn on whether the bins would work in Marlborough.
‘‘It may pit neighbour against neighbour, and it may actually provoke people to tip the bins upside down,’’ Mike Stanford said.
‘‘In the alternative, it does make you think even more about what you are going to put in your recycling, because some people abuse the system,’’ Grace Stanford said. ‘‘So it’s got a positive and a negative.’’
Friends Reihana Woodhead and Greg Hina said a transparent recycling crate could show ‘‘a lot of what your character is’’.
‘‘Say if you’re a drinker, you drink beer sort of every night [the neighbours] must think a lot,’’ Hina said.
‘‘But then you’re seeing other people’s rubbish you know and . . . people are like, ‘Oh, [sic],’’’ Woodhead said.
‘‘Then the person on the truck could go tell his mate and his mate could tell someone else and so on and so on.
‘‘It wouldn’t be good. Because that’s your personal, own space.
‘‘It will get conversation but is it good conversation? Like, ‘You’re drinking heaps this week bro!’ Stuff like that.’’
Doug Avery said he did not worry about what his neighbours thought ‘‘at all’’.
‘‘I’m not disappointed with my consumption of alcohol, I’m quite pleased with it actually,’’ Avery said.
‘‘I’m always staggered that you put all sorts of stuff in one crate.’’
Lyndie Henry said ‘‘clear bins could help people recycle better around town’’.
‘‘If they’re not clear, then people are not sure what they should put in,’’ Henry said.
Gemma Urlich, who was