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Through scheme, low-income families exchange compostable rubbish for fresh food

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Hello Compost wants to encourage composting by offering low-income families credits for fresh produce in return for their organic waste, using gamification as an incentive.

Mexico City’s Mercado du Trueque has already seen residents swap their rubbish for food, and now a similar scheme is launching in New York. Hello Compost wants to encourage composting by offering low-income families credits for fresh produce in return for their organic waste, using gamification as an incentive.

Getting households to separate their recyclable matter is one struggle, but asking them to also compost their organic rubbish is entirely another issue – not least because its smelly and messy. Hello Compost aims to make the process much easier, as well as offering rewards to those that join the program. Created by Parsons design students Luke Keller and Aly Blenkin, the scheme provides stylish, odor-blocking bags that homeowners can keep in their kitchen and use to store their organic waste. The bags are also freezable, so they don’t have to sit in the open. When full, the bags are collected and sent to Project EATS, an agriculture non-profit that weighs the waste and determines how many credits it’s worth. These credits can then be used by families to buy fresh produce from local farms. A companion iPad app also allows participants to track their progress and see how others are doing, offering a competitive element.

Hello Compost is one of the entrants to Fast Company’s Innovation By Design awards, and could encourage more people to take up composting in urban areas such as New York. Could a similar scheme work in your part of the world?

Spotted by: Murray Orange

Website: www.facebook.com/hellocompost

Contact: www.twitter.com/hellocompost

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