Bin it to Win it | When litter can turn into cash

One of Birmingham Made Me’s Entrepreneur teams, supported by Living Labs and in coolaboration with the Birmingham City University Students Union (BCUSU) has come up with a smart way to promote recycling of litter in an engaging and rewarding way.

Litter is an eyesore, everybody hates it yet everybody does it. It’s such an innocent act and yet we disapprove of those we see doing it. The worst that can happen is a judgmental look from others, yet we rarely volunteer to pick up litter for others. Sometimes it’s not even your fault, most airports and some train stations don’t even have bins in sight. So, littering is something we have come to accept as part of our society.

To solve this problem, Aaaron Moore and Ladi Fagbola came up with the simple yet great idea of giving litter value. What if every piece of packaging you had becomes a lottery ticket? What if picking someone else’s litter meant you could win some money? This idea manifests as “Bin it to Win it” (#BitWit), as the name implies, you bin something to win something. They developed an incentive scheme where people who bin their litter enter a cash lottery. Therefore, the more litter you bin, the higher your chances of winning. The actually took it a step further by incorporating recycling into the mix, where binned items are recycled instead of being sent to landfills.

On the 22nd of October, 2014, Aaron and Ladi teamed up with the BCUSU Eco Café to test our idea. The Eco Café is a mobile coffee stand that sells hot drinks including coffee, tea and the best hot chocolate in Birmingham. The Eco Café truly embraces the sustainability model of doing business, with their coffee sustainably sourced, their coffee machine running on gas and the actual van powered by electricity.

As it’s a mobile stall, most of their drinks are drunk on the go and they cannot keep track of where their cups end up. So, teaming up with the two aspiring entrepreneurs came naturally. They provide the cups and hot fluids and we get the cups back to be recycled. From the 58 cups they sold on the day, 30 cups were entered into the Bin it to Win it lottery. With a win ratio of 1:20, we had two winners, £10 each. Probably wouldn’t change their lives but will definitely make their day. This return rate was higher than anticipated and every person who got engaged loved the idea.

BMM Living Labs have been the key supporter in this and the previous project Hacking the Future with Iain Acton and Steve Heron bring the mentors and leaders. “This is an exciting idea for potentially making a big difference through very small interactions. So it’s great to see how Arron and Ladi have created this prototype to test the concept and gather valuable feedback during the Expo.” – Steve Heron.

The Birmingham Made Me entrepreneur team is thrilled to take the project to the next phase on the 19th of November at the SmArt Mart Expo! Check out the agenda and book your ticket HERE for your ticket!