Recycling for collective rewards: the worm hotel!

Soon the residents of Amsterdam Noord will be able to use their WASTED coins for collective rewards

Since 2015, the residents of Amsterdam Noord can receive WASTED coins in return for their recycling efforts. They take pictures of their garbage bags at the associated recycling points and receive virtual or physical coins. Up to this point, these coins could only be used for personal rewards, such as discounts on bread, cinema tickets or a haircut. However, our community expressed an interest in using the coins for collective rewards, such as a picnic table, playground equipment or… a worm hotel.

A worm hotel is a community box in which up to thirty households can dispose of their organic waste which will be composted by worms. This compost is used to feed plants in the box, but can also be harvested by the community members for other purposes. We thought this would be a particularly interesting community reward because separate organic waste disposal is not yet possible in Amsterdam Noord. Worm hotels not only facilitate recycling, but also create circular systems, reduce the amount of household waste, green the neighbourhood and serve as a meeting point to strengthen the social cohesion.

From October 1st, residents can sign up in groups of four and start donating their WASTED coins for a collective worm hotel. Besides the group members, other WASTED members can also donate their coins and the group members can campaign for their cause. The first groups that reach 500 coins will win a worm hotel, instruction workshop and container to separate organic waste at home. The group members will be the owner of the worm hotel and get to decide its location (together with the municipality) and are responsible for its upkeep.

Besides being a project with a variety of benefits in itself, this is also a pilot for a new direction WASTED, one of CITIES’ projects, is heading in. Therefore, we aim to answer a series of questions. Do residents recycle more waste when they are saving up for a collective reward? Do they come together more? Does this improve social cohesion and solidarity in the neighbourhood? And how can this collective reward system be replicated in other neighbourhoods? Hopefully, in the future, a large selection of collective rewards will be available to residents far beyond Amsterdam Noord.

Would you like to learn more about this project? Follow WASTEDlab on Facebook or Instagram or send us an email (community@wastedlab.nl)

Created on 26 September 2019

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