Trash Can Run!

>Do you know Nike+ ? I’ve been using it for some time and really like the fact that you can measure the length of your walks, the timing, the fact that Lance Armstrong congratulates you after you ran your tenth (or so) trip or more than 50 miles.

However. Every time I go running I get annoyed by all the trash lying on the streets and in the woods. For the past six months I’ve developed a ‘liking’ of taking trash out of the forest and rewarding myself with imaginary ‘Karma-points’. It is also fun to ‘get caught’ while ‘stealing’ trash from the forest and throwing it into trash bins and (hopefully) inspiring people that way.

This is how I came up with the idea for the ‘Trash Can Run’…

Also because I saw a local Dutch TV station asking the Dutch population to help collection trash on the ‘big trash collecting day’. But ‘initiating’ one day a year to collect trash doesn’t change people’s behavior, it only creates awareness. To really solve the problem, you need to change people’s habits and stimulate positive behavior – e.g. having people pick up trash where-ever they go or whenever they go running (or take a walk in the forest with their kids).

Here is how I think it should work, but please feel free to comment and help me out with the loose ends.

Before you take your walk or start your run, you need to ‘log in’ at a ‘trash can near you using your smartphone and barcode or QR code reader.

Then you start your tour or ‘run’ while looking actively for trash. Of course, in the beginning you are only allowed to collect paper trash, worth only 1 point per item (paper digests rather easily compared to other products) and when you advance to next levels you can collect other items.

Paper: 1 point
Plastic 10 points
Tins (cans) 25 point
Batteries 100 points

Of course the more you collect, the more points you gain and the bigger angel you will become online (more karma points will make you a saint!). But how to measure your points? Well – here comes it: most products that people leave behind have a barcode. These barcodes can be scanned with your mobile and connected to the trash-can you dump them in. This way local governments can also track how much trash was thrown away in certain trash cans!

Consider the leaf above as a ‘marker’, QR code or barcode.

As said, of course your points will be tracked through a system online, like in the case of EcoVille for Fiat Ecodrive. And the leaderboard shows the local heroes per forest, block or district, like mayors in Foursquare. Apart from points the trash collectors will also earn badges and call signs, like: paper boy, plastic fantastic, tiny tin, sigaret butt-kicker, etc.

The great thing is that people will start looking for other places in the city to collect trash as soon as they run out of trash in a specific area, so in the end – whole cities, parks and forests will be cleaned by runners and kids with families!

This idea needs sponsors, from governments, recycling companies and maybe even companies like Nike – So if you are connected – spread the word and save the planet ;-)

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