University recycling study 'shaming' students into recycling

A new study at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom has students putting their trash habits on display for the BinCam. The camera is mounted above the waste basket in their dorm rooms and uploaded to their Facebook profile. On this page, the student's friends can keep track of what the residents are throwing away and what should be recycled as well as their eating habits. According to BBC News, the students will get points taken away by indulging in unhealthy foods or putting a recyclable box or wrapper in with the regular trash.

The users keep track of their waste habits by installing a camera phone on each bin lid - when it opens it will take a picture and be deactivated when closed. The researchers believe that this constant approval or disapproval in real-time has made a difference in the student's waste habits.

"There's a 'naming and shaming' element to it, but the students enjoy it," project leader Anje Thieme told the news source. "But by taking a photograph and uploading it to Facebook, it's a bit like having your conscience sat on your shoulder."

The points system will go into a larger ranking called the 'Bin League,' where students can compete against different households and track their progress on a tree graph which shows how each group is performing. The researchers believe that this study is vital for this age group, as the 18-34 age group is seen as the worst at recycling.

The researchers believe that the experiment has worked wonders for the students, and their attention will soon be turned on the Newcastle faculty. The idea of making recycling a competitive and fun activity has certainly fostered a new generation of sustainable individuals.