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Bin City

Virtual rewards for real world recycling

Camden Council faces a difficult future, with budget cuts and growing social challenges across the community. In 2015 I worked in a team with three other service designers to develop proposals to increase the uptake of recycling in the borough. Camden households alone produces 1720 tonnes of waste per month. This waste can have significant monetary value if recycled, an opportunity that is quite literally being thrown away.

The design

Bin City is an app that rewards real life recycling with points in the game, encouraging recycling and educating players about its benefits. The game rewards are a short term stimulus to recycle, while getting into the habit of recycling being the new norm can last a life time. The game is targeted at the 32,800+ children in Camden, but the pester power of these children has the potential to reach parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles. Additionally the activities involved in the app give players a reason to get up off the sofa and go outside, we only have to look at the smash hit of Pokemon Go to see real world examples of the positive effects gamification can have.

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