Re­cy­cling’s shame game?

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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