I recently moved into a new neighborhood, and is trying to adjust to the ways things are done here. One particular problem I encountered is their recycling policy. I get really confused about what to do when I first went into the trash room, as the instructions are so vague, and some are even agitating. For example, there are only two recycling bins in the trash room next to the trash chute, which is fine for most apartment buildings, except it says "bottles and glass" on one bin and "newspaper" on the other. So I was really confused: are newspapers the only type of paper recyclable in the building? Did it mean that all magazines and unwanted mails go directly in to the trash chute? What about the paper bottles like those for milk and coconut water? Do they go into "bottles and glass" instead? What's more amazing is that there are like ten large boxes lying on the floor of the trash room, not broken down, not in the recycling bins, not anything, just lying there, one on top of the other. Then, on the wall writes the biggest turn-off for my devotion to recycling: "Please breakdown cardboard boxes and take them to the ground level trash room." (See picture below)
As a result, the trash room has been a huge mess. Some people don't know where to put their waste papers, so they just stack them on the ground; most often the boxes are not broken down, let along brought down to the ground floor; once I even found a pizza box in the recycling bins.
I believe that there must be a better way than how the recycling is done in the building currently. And below are some of the measures, once taken, can make a huge difference in people's habits of recycling.
Reduction + Reminder
One of the major problems in recycling is that the rules are so unclear and complicated that the residents are never sure whether they are doing it right. By simplifying and clarifying the instructions, the community management could make recycling easy and attractive to residents.
Below are some of the measures that can be taken:
Another approach I can think of is a simulation game. Recycling rules are complicated and confusing in general, and are not strictly enforced usually and varies from building to building. Sometimes people have the good intention to make the word a better place, but they are just unfamiliar with the procedure and are afraid to make mistakes. A simulated software or website can be a safe place for the residents to explore and make mistakes while they learn and avoid the consequences in the real word.
The simulation said above should contain the following features:
Rewards + Recognition
Perhaps recycling is good to the environment. Perhaps by recycling I am making a difference in this world or saving the earth. But I can't see the results of my actions directly, therefore less likely to make this habit sustainable. Some more direct stimulation, i.e. rewards and recognition, might be helpful to fill this gap:
By taking all the measures above, i.e. providing a simulated environment for residents to learn through trail and fail, simplifying the recycling procedures and rewarding those who are doing a good job, I believe that trash room situation can be resolved, and our garbage men's life can be made a lot easier.