Our final solution to “Nudge Sustainable Consumption” is set! We present the “Sustainability-Kit” for schools or other public places. This sustainability kit contains different nudges to raise awareness for sustainability and to improve the related consumer behaviour. One product of this sustainability kit is our stickers that will be stuck to the paper dispensers on toilets.
We realised that most people use too many paper towels to dry their hands and this cannot be considered sustainable consumption. Especially at our school students do not tend to mind their usage of paper towels. With various stickers which are included in our Sustainability Kit, we want to reduce the consumption of paper towels and raise awareness for the previous waste. Moreover, we created a jingle which is supposed to be played regularly in school so that students and teachers are reminded to behave environmentally friendly. Furthermore, we came up with the Sustainability-ABC. Small signs for every letter of the alphabet and a related advice that should nudge to a more sustainable behaviour will be placed all over school. The last element of our kit, the “Paperbus” focuses on paper waste in classrooms and especially false copies which would have normally been thrown away. This paper should be reused as scribbling paper with the aid of the paper bus, so it will not be wasted unnecessarily but used again.
This Sustainability Kit should not only make our school more sustainable but also be available to other schools in the future.
At the beginning, we were not quite sure what we should focus on. After some time we decided to deal with the topic of the wasteful use of paper and plastic. But should we concentrate on a local, national or international solution? What are the approaches already existing? What are urgent problems and possible solutions? Finally, we decided to focus on a local solution and we realised that one can see many people behaving unsustainably at our school. That is why we started to target schools. Moreover, we thought not only our school has to deal with these issues but also many others. Therefore, a lot can be changed for a more sustainable behaviour if schools started to use our kit. We informed ourselves about the paper usage at our school and in the whole of Germany and came up with the solution to create the kit, which includes multiple nudges, so people can decide if they want to participate or not.
We already tested our sustainability kit at our school and succeeded. Therefore, we would like to create a website and offer our kit to other schools and public institutions so they can profit from its advantages: Reducing their usage of paper and behaving more sustainably. Furthermore, we want the kit to be developed not only by us but also by the schools which want to participate. Additionally, we probably want to start a new sustainability kit for plastic or water. Moreover, we will continue to use the kit at our school and hope that it will help to reduce the waste!
¡Buenos Nudging! We say: „Sí“!
Industrialized nations’ lifestyle is not sustainable as resources are depleted, the environment is degraded and global warming is fueled. This puts the welfare of current and future generations at risk. Fostering sustainable consumption is a major task for reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Lifestyles can become more sustainable when for example waste is reduced, fewer fossil fuels are used, or less meat is eaten.
Classic economic instruments like taxing waste, resource use or pollution are often not implemented as they are politically unpopular. Subsidies are costly and often not an efficient strategy for influencing behavior. Even if people would like to consume more sustainably they find it hard to break old habits and do things differently compared to what they did before or to what everyone around them does. The challenge is to change consumption habits that are deeply rooted in our minds and in our society.
Who is responsible for changing consumption patterns? Why are taxes unpopular? Who has an interest in unsustainable consumption? How can public awareness be increased? How can nudging help to make people behave more sustainably, i.e. generate less waste, emit fewer greenhouse gases, or use fewer resources? How can public awareness be raised?
Learn more about the YES! Team of the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Schule Neumünster and the YES! Team of the Heinrich-Heine-Gymnasium Hamburg.