Encouraging food waste recycling

Whilst working at the WCBC an interesting project was brought to use by a combination of organisations, these being Dref Werdd and Gwynedd Council. The core of the problem being that uptake on food waste recycling across Gwynedd and probably the rest of Wales has been especially low. Our brief was to change behaviour by increasing uptake of using the provided kitchen caddy waste unit.

I used a very simple tool/acronym to start designing solutions for this behavioural problem, that I was introduced to it by Sille krukow, its simple… The 3 B’s

1. What is the observed Behaviour – in this case – people do not recycle food waste. More specifically they do not use the provided kitchen caddy to recycle wasted food.

2. What is the desired Behaviour – the desired behaviour is to use the caddy to recycle food waste, and therefore reduce the amount of rubbish taken to land fill. Of course the real solution here is not to waste food at all, but more about that later.

3. What are the Barriers to achieving the desired behaviour? rather than guessing at a solution, lets look at the actual barriers that prevent the behaviour happening. In the case of the food caddy there are a few…

* Smell – users complained that storing food in this way was smelly, especially during summer months, if left to long it encouraged maggots, and nobody likes maggots!

* If placed in a cupboard to help prevent smell, it was forgotten about and not used.

* Its ugly, I’d have to agree – If I had a nice kitchen the last thing I would want on display is a cheap plastic container with a large gwynedd logo across the front.

Clearly the food caddy’s had been designed around functionality not the end user! 

As well as a few other reasons, we now had three solid reason that prevented desired behaviours; we now based our ideate sessions around these core problems and established a brief that would allow us to design a product to encourage food waste recycling. Our brief included…

* Needing to store the caddy out of sight but also be able to make it salient; we wanted people to remember to use it.
* We wanted to add value; could we make it more efficient, more helpful, actually give it a function beyond simply encouraging waste recycling.
* Make food waste recycling as effortless as possible.

We prototyped a few ideas before making a small batch of our final product and sending it out to be tested in thirty homes in Blaenau Ffestiniog, to find out more about the projects results, please take a read of Dr Sean O’Neill’s kitchen caddy case study here…

Here’s an overview of the product Dr Sean O’Neill and myself designed and produced…

food waste caddy bracket



Interesting in knowing more about this project, feel free to email or call us. the product will be entering a second phase of trials shortly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s