22nd Apr, 2021

'Rubbish-ometer' aims to reduce littering by turning waste disposal into a game

A PIONEERING experiment has been launched in Caldecott Park to reduce littering.

Rugby Borough Council (RBC) has installed a giant ‘rubbish-ometer’ featuring two litter bins, allowing residents to indicate which of two options most deserves their rubbish.

The experiment encourages residents to dispose of their rubbish responsibly by inviting them to vote with it, turning the routine act of disposing waste into a game.

The first dilemma posed to park-goers is to decide which is ‘rubbish’: football, or rugby union?

The initiative builds on behavioural science research that shows that human behaviours are influenced by the behaviour of others and a desire for a reward, among other factors. The ‘game’ aims to give residents a motive to follow other people’s examples and allow residents to back their favourite option.

The launch comes after councillors backed a new drive to tackle litter in Rugby, following the adoption of new measures at a meeting of the council’s Cabinet.

A spokesman for Rugby Borough Council said: “The council has been using the findings of behavioural science research to influence its communications in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and this game builds on that approach.

“With lockdown easing and the weather improving, use of our parks and open spaces will increase. With that will come an increase in littering, but we hope that this experiment will give residents motivation to do the right thing for Rugby.

“Everyone knows that it is wrong to litter, yet still some people do it. This game introduces behavioural science techniques to influence that behaviour.

“It will be interesting to monitor the rubbish-ometer over the coming weeks to see if this approach makes a difference.”

Other measures approved by the council include support for Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteer litter pickers, a review of enforcement powers, funding for new ways to tackle litter with technology, and a clean-up on the A46.

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