Thursday, May 19, 2005

What'll you do for a dime?

What'll you do for a dime?


Last summer, I wrote about Michigan's recycling plan for plastic bottles, one in which point-of-use machines in stores grind up bottles and issue a paper receipt for 10c for use in the store. 


My sister-in-law and excellent thinker Lise Schools lives in Michigan and provided an update to me this morning on how this simple system affects behavior:


I'm becoming a savvier Michigander on this $0.10 deposit.


1. At parties. When people leave parties, they take their bottles with them (liter pop bottles, 6-pack bottles). I've watched people walk throughout the host's house tracking down their bottles.


2. The price at grocery stores. Not all bottles are returnable. The ones that are returnable cost more, but you get the refund. So when doing a cost comparison of tonic water at the grocery store, I had to factor in the deposit to see which brand was actually cheaper.


For a dime!!! 


Motivation does not have to be expensive.  It does have to make sense.  The point-of-use grinders and the immediate (though small) economic reward alter behavior.  Positively.  Cleaning up landfills.  Reducing roadside litter. 


The applications on a micro level in our companies (and even with our kids) are enormous.


I hope this is helpful.  And that you recycle a bottle today. 

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