What unsustainable behavior needs to change:
The annual waste report for the Dutch municipality of Dordrecht sheds light on a specific behavioural issue: the frequent illegal dumping of bulky waste near underground containers in the Prinsessenbuurt neighbourhood of Nieuw-Krispijn. This behaviour has had significant consequences for the neighbourhood’s liveability and the efficiency of the waste removal process.
The Green Nudge:
In collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat and the municipality of Dordrecht, Shift Gedrag developed an effective solution to reduce this undesirable behaviour and promote a more sustainable approach to waste management.
The strategy, which they’ve positioned as „The Green Nudge,“ included multiple interventions:
- Container Wraps with Children’s Drawings: A design competition for children from Prinses Julianaschool, using the winning drawings to decorate the underground containers. This resulted in increased ownership and reduced anonymity.
- Thank You Sign: Informational signs with the message, „Thank you for keeping the container areas clean!“ This sign served as a reminder of the respective behaviour desired and made people aware of their civic responsibility.
- Sidewalk Instructions: This strategy used text and images on the sidewalk near the containers, including contact information for scheduling pickup appointments – to ensure people had quick access to information about bulky waste.
- Flyers: Clean neighbourhood coaches distributed flyers to inform residents about the intervention and waste disposal options; including translations in various languages to enhance accessibility.
- WhatsApp Trial: As part of the pilot, residents could have bulky waste picked up by simply sending a WhatsApp message to HVC. This lowered the threshold for scheduling a pickup appointment.
- Bulky Waste: After the implementation of the intervention, incidents of illegal dumping of bulky waste near the underground containers decreased by a remarkable 85%. Conclusively representing a significant behavioural change.
- Residual Waste: Incidents of illegally dumped bags of residual waste also decreased by 54%, indicating a positive trend toward more sustainable waste management.
- Plastic Waste: While the results for illegally dumped bags of plastic waste were not yet significant, there was a promising decrease in the intervention area. No comparable improvement was observed at the control site.
Are you aware of any other nudges that that reduce littering? Feel free to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
From psychologist Roos Alink who is a director at Dutch Shift Gedrag. Shift Gedrag helps governmental organisations to make the Netherlands more sustainable and safe with behavioural insights.