The rubbish-ometer in Rugby's Caldecott Park is a behavioural science experiment - here's how it works

It is believed to be the first of its kind

Monday, 5th April 2021, 1:18 pm
Updated Monday, 5th April 2021, 1:20 pm
The rubbish-ometer.

The newly-installed 'rubbish-ometer' in Caldecott Park is actually a behavioural science experiment being conducted as part of Rugby Borough Council's war on litter.

Featuring two litter bins, it gives Rugbeians the chance to use their litter to have their say on what is rubbish - Rugby Union or Football.

Rugby council explained that the bins comprise an experiment which encourages residents to bin their rubbish responsibly by inviting them to vote with their rubbish, turning the routine act of disposing of their waste into a game.

The experiment builds on behavioural science research which shows that human behaviours are influenced by the behaviour of others and a desire for a reward, among other factors.

The game aims to give residents a motive to follow other people’s example and allow residents to back their favourite option.

It is believed that the 'rubbish-ometer' is the first of its kind, and the council will be monitoring its success.

The launch comes after councillors backed a new drive to tackle litter in Rugby, following adoption of new measures at a meeting of the council’s Cabinet on the night of March 29..

A spokesman for the council said: “The council has been using the findings of behavioural science research to influence its communications in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and this game builds on that approach.

“With lockdown easing and the weather improving, use of our parks and open spaces will increase.

"With that will come an increase in littering, but we hope that this experiment will give residents motivation to do the right thing for Rugby.

“Everyone knows that it is wrong to litter, yet still some people do it. This game introduces behavioural science techniques to influence that behaviour.

“It will be interesting to monitor the rubbish-ometer over the coming weeks to see if this approach makes a difference.”

Other measures approved by the council include support for Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteer litter pickers, a review of enforcement powers, funding for new ways to tackle litter with technology, and a clean-up on the A46.