We were delighted to be invited to run a stall at Pippfest in Dorking in early September, in the Healing Area on the grounds that Greenpeace helps to heal the planet. Our healing involved recruiting people for the Shoppers' Revolt the following weekend; around twenty joined our campaign against single use supermarket plastics; it was stirring to find so many who had already taken action themselves as individuals.
We invited everyone to take part in our informal survey of what value deposits and refunds would motivate people to use DRS schemes for plastic bottles. But one teenager, Arthur, bowled us over with his originality, his grasp of what current technology could add to a scheme and what would motivate younger people. "Forget refund tokens", Arthur said; "that's so old hat. Every kid has a smartphone these days and would expect any scheme to make use of it. Simply use smartphones when claiming refunds so that refund values can be built up and spent on something really tempting. And if additional ID verification is needed, Arthur said, simply add fingerprint recognition - it's already in use in school canteens."
Ideas like Arthur's really do need to be explored. Doing away with tokens may reduce costs and the risk of mechanical failure. It also provides a way to add serious incentives, like higher value rewards for regular recyclers and spot prizes like cinema tickets and leisure centre vouchers. In fact the chance of winning something big could be needed to balance the loss of anonymity the use of smartphones would mean.
So here's a big thank you to Arthur for stopping by and offering his insights. I hope more like him will step up with original and exciting ideas.