Incentives and rewards are a superpower

How do we use technology to initiate habitual change towards commercial waste?

Noom, a weight loss app, tries to create long-term health and lifestyle changes by introducing one small habit day. Our social media apps are very deliberately designed to give you a dopamine hit whenever you get a notification. Game developers use gamification to influence users, making apps more “sticky” and addictive. Rewards systems, incentives, time-critical deadlines, colours, sound, haptic feedback, scarcity. The most effective design is subtle and influences you in a way you don’t even realise and behavioural scientists know it.

I’m hoping to leverage this knowledge and apply it to the work we do at CiRCLR. Our goal is to revolutionise the way businesses think about their waste because right now, they don’t think about it at all. Before you throw something away, I want you to log it in our app first – and when that happens, you should feel good about it.

When we throw something away it’s out of sight, out of mind. But sadly, it will become the responsibility of that community where it ends up in landfill. The implications of this thoughtless action are long lasting and far reaching. As a society, we should strive to be more considerate about the waste that we generate. 

Fortunately, there is hope. We’ve spent a long year researching and what I’ve come to learn is that there are plenty of people working within businesses who are driving this change from within. But those sustainable trailblazers need help (if you’re a sustainability manager, I’m talking to you).

Organisations are made up of many people, who often need incentivising. Yes, waste minimisation strategies need to be simple, convenient and frictionless to reach mass-adoption. But the habit needs to be rewarding, because no one will do it out of pure altruism.

CiRCLR is designed to incentivise businesses to think about their waste and start treating it like a resource, not only for the company’s benefit, but for the benefit of our environment and society. I can’t think of a better purpose for addictive tech design!

What a load of rubbish.

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