'Litter is ruining the fun', Source: City of Aalst

Belgium gamifies recycling with new app

Belgium gamifies recycling with new app

De Click can incentivise citizens to throw their own trash responsibly but also offers incentives if you pick up someone else’s

Belgium’s national recycling company FostPlus launched a new app that aims to gamify recycling and draw attention to the problem of unrecycled litter. The app is called ‘De Click’ (The Click) and is now available around the country.

It asks users to take pictures of litter they have thrown out, preferably with a visible barcode and based on the picture, the app rewards the user with vouchers, the so-called ‘Circular Ucoins’. These can be redeemed at certain partner vendors, used for entering museums and can also be donated to certain environment protection groups like Natuurpunt.

de clickDe Click trash can, Source: City of Aalst on Facebook 

The initiative sparked an anti-litter campaign in the town of Aalst, which aimed to draw attention to the massive problem in the city. During a period of three weeks, volunteers tried to collect as much wild trash as possible, which then local authorities displayed on the Grote Markt square, to raise awareness of the detrimental effects of litter.

People should deal with litter pro-actively

According to local authorities, in 2022 cleaning services collected 880 tons of waste, an increase of 20% compared to the previous year. From these, 23 tons were illegal dumping, an increase of 60% compared to 2021.

This provoked local authorities to organise a litter collection campaign in 2023. 24 organisations, non-governmental and private, took part, as well as 800 students from 12 primary schools. The collected trash was then posed on Aalst’s main square for all to see.

Furthermore, according to city officials, the sheer amount of rubbish provoked an additional reaction – a campaign to convince people to pick up litter wherever they see it. This is why they decided to back De Click, a simple app rewarding good behaviour.

All a user needs to do is pick up a piece of trash and photograph it when they are disposing of it in the proper container. The reward? Vouchers for municipal services, as well as for some businesses. The hope is this will incentivise the local population by creating a positive feedback mechanism for throwing away trash responsibly.

trash on Grote MarktThe trash exhibit on Grote Markt in Aalst, Source: City of Aalst on Facebook 



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