Plastic Conscious Lifestyle App
CITIES is developing an app to help residents reduce their plastic consumption


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CITIES is working on an amazing new chapter! WASTED (, a project by CITIES, is developing an app to help residents reduce their plastic consumption. WASTED has been active in waste recycling since 2015, and developed a successful reward system in Amsterdam Noord and De Pijp. However, though recycling reduces the negative impact of waste, it does not solve the underlying problem of waste creation. A comprehensive strategy to address waste issues in cities should consider each of the products’ life phases, including consumption, use and disposal. From our experience in Amsterdam, our users would love to live a more plastic conscious lifestyle, but don’t know where to start or don’t have the time. As we see it, no drastic changes are needed and small changes in habits can have a large cumulative impact. Therefore, WASTED is developing an app to help people take the first steps, by suggesting manageable and concrete activities and providing monetary incentives. Through increasingly radical challenges it provides a lifestyle guidance programme towards more sustainable consumption habits.

The app is divided into chapters, each chapter addresses a specific topic and each topic sets challenges to be performed throughout time. Examples of topics are bathroom, gardening and travel. For example, in the chapter ‘travel’, the user can start by purchasing a refillable water bottle or coffee cup, with the challenge to use this item four times. The user can choose the intensity of the challenges, for example shopping plastic free once, twice or every day of the week for a month. The app guides the user through the whole journey of leading a more plastic conscious lifestyle. The app also validates the actions of the users. Every time a challenge is performed, the user uploads a picture. Users have to validate each other’s pictures by a peer to peer validation system which allows the community to grow stronger, ask questions, advice, and especially point out at possible fraud. The validated pictures allow the users to gather digital coins, which can be traded in the app for discount codes to purchase circular plastic-free products.

The app is being developed in close collaboration with the WASTED community in Amsterdam Noord. In the first phase, we sent out a questionnaire to understand the habits and barriers to more sustainable consumption. We found out our community thinks about environmental problems and is interested in making its lifestyle more sustainable, but experiences time and money constraints and struggles to find a starting point. We also had interviews with waste free influencers to try and understand how they manage such a lifestyle and inspire others. We found out it is important to take small steps and phase them out over time, as well as provide a positive message and explain the impact of certain actions. Currently, we are testing our concept with small WhatsApp groups, providing the participants with challenges and asking them to take pictures of their progress. In the next phase, we will ask the participants how they experienced this test and gather feedback through focus groups. All of this information is used to optimize the content and interface of the app. Soon we will have our first meeting with the app developer, and we plan to have our first users test the app in early 2020. Are you interested in following the developments? Keep an eye on our Instagram, Facebook or website.

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