05-18-08 - 9

Recycling bins have a huge value way beyond just their merit in reducing waste. Some analysts contend that the actual recycling is not a very good use of human time and money, that we don't reduce the land fill enough and we spend tons of energy doing the recycling. Regardless of that, I think it's very valuable because it introduces a daily awareness of conservation to people's lives. People don't think about things unless they are in direct contact with them every day. Everyone in SF complains about the homeless, but if they were on our streets where we seem them every day nobody would think about them at all. We have a disastrous prison situation, but nobody cares because it's hidden away. Recycling is a perfect thing because it's not too onerous, people don't mind doing it too much, so it gets into their daily routine and they start thinking about conservation, and then that extends into other behavior, it becomes connected to consuming less, not buying water bottles, getting a more efficient car, etc. Once something is in our lives we can become pleasantly obsessed with it.

This model is very good in general for getting people active & caring about issues. If you give them some very small easy way to get involved in something in their daily lives, in an activity that they do anyway, then they will accept it and make it part of their routine and grow to care about it.

No comments:

old rants