It's safe to say that most Americans are fairly clueless on how to recycle packaging. According to research released by the Ad Council, only 52% of Americans say that they are "very" or "extremely" knowledgeable about how to properly recycle. Additionally, only 38% say they are "avid recyclers," recycling as much as possible and willing to go out of their way to do so. While there are several barriers to recycling, among the most common reasons given for not recycling are that respondents did not have enough information about where to recycle or what types of materials they are able to recycle.
Organizations are working to educate the public about recycling and one of the most active campaigns is run by Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council (which PlasticsToday covered about a year ago). Fully aware that a majority of Americans are tied to their computers, the campaign just launched a new online game called, Super Sorter, which is designed to educate gamers on the different ways items can be sorted and recycled.
The Super Sorter game takes place in a material recovery facility (MRF) where mixed recyclables are separated by different types of sorters. The goal of the game is to sort all of the materials in the queue as they progress down the conveyor belt and send the recyclables on their way to becoming something new and valuable. If you miss too many recyclables, and they end up in the landfill, you lose the level. Complete all seven levels and, guess what, you are a Super Sorter!
The Super Sorter game was created to engage a new generation of environmental stewards, building on data showing that 97% of teens (and more than four in five young adults) play computer, web, portable or console games.
So I tried out the game and it's pretty user friendly and it's definitely a cool way to showcase the recycling process. Yes, I said cool. I realize it's not Candy Crush Saga or some kind of sports game, but it's better than reading a long document on an outdated web page. So I have to say, thumbs up to this campaign for 'thinking outside the box' when it comes to recycling education.
The game is free and can be played at iwanttoberecycled.org/game.