Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Idea for litter prevention scheme

A scheme for raising awareness and the prevention of take-away food litter.

1. On joining the scheme customers pledge to be good citizens about litter to get rewards and an ID card to use with cash purchases.

2a. Participating food vendors offer a lottery draw or point-of-sale discount when purchasing food using payment processing which records their ID e.g. debit cards.

2b. Cash purchases are tagged with CCTV or photo at point-of-sale.

3. Scheme terms and condition include permission to capture data.

4. Food packaging i.e. boxes and cups is marked with unique machine-readable code at manufacturing plant with UV ink.

5. All packaging is passed through a scanner at point of sale and linked to POS transaction data and cctv images or customer ID.

6. Evidence of disposal violations (such as street litter) is collected and scanned for match to sales data.

7a. Customers with ID can redeem any packaging to gain reward points.

7b. Customers without ID (or choosing not to use theirs) can redeem any packaging at point of origin or another branch with reward points going to charity.

8. Evidence of disposal compliance (such as waste receptacles) is scanned for match to sales data.

9. Compliant disposal data is searched for trend evidence and learning.

10. Violation disposal data is searched for match to customer ID and trend data.

11. Customers with record of consistently compliant disposal are entered into a reward lottery or acknowledged with discount coupons.

12. Consistent non-compliance evidence is passed to law enforcement.

13. Identified customers with consistent non-compliance are offered educational interventions rather than prosecution to preserve the vendor brand values.

From: McDonalds Customer Services
Sent: 12 August 2011 16:22
To: Nat Bocking
Subject: McDonalds Customer Services Department Reference: 1182617
Dear Mr Bocking 
Thank you for your enquiry and interest in McDonald’s.
I would like to take this opportunity to explain that at present, we are in the process of reviewing our approach to litter. Regrettably, it remains a social problem for the country as whole as it seems many people still feel it is acceptable to indiscriminately drop litter wherever they choose. Ultimately, this is something that will require long term action toward changing the ‘mind-set’.

Our franchisees and individual restaurants work closely with local schools, youth groups and scout troops on litter education. In addition our restaurant staff carry out regular ‘litter patrols’ in the surrounding areas throughout the day.
In Manchester and Birmingham we employ dedicated litter pickers who walk the streets. In addition we are exploring ways of working with national organisations like Keep Britain Tidy, Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Scotland Beautiful, in an effort to try and tackle this issue together.

We have also made a lot of progress with our packaging suppliers in order to reduce the amount of packaging we use and where possible use recycled packaging, whilst at the same time complying with food safety standards.

Please rest assured that this is an issue which is high on our environmental agenda and one which we take very seriously.

Natasha Callis
Internet Response Team
McDonald's Customer Services Department
11 - 59 High Road
East Finchley
N2 8AW

Dear McDonalds,

Thank you very much for your reply. I hope you appreciate that the diagram I sent you explains how you can change that ‘mind-set’ that is the root of this pervasive problem.

If you had a mechanism to reward compliant behaviour and gently re-educate (rather than punitively punish) litter violators, it would do a lot for your brand and counter your detractors that you are serious about your environmental and social impact.

I do appreciate you have litter patrols but I have witnessed McDonalds litter being thrown away 20 miles from the nearest restaurant in rural Suffolk and so it strikes me the only way to help prevent that is to make the litter traceable to the point of origin. 

Even if the actual purchaser could not be identified, then at least some spatial data about where litter originates and ends up would be useful to McDonalds and the fast-food industry to understand what is or isn’t working in getting an anti-litter message to the customer and such data would assist the siting of waste bins and distribution of litter patrols and so on.

I look to the market leader in McDonalds to consider such innovation as, after over 30 years of operation in Britain, I haven’t seen improvement in the results of your current practise. Making your litter traceable would demonstrate that you had, if you could.

Kind regards,

Nat Bocking


I have now entered this idea in the GeoVation Challenge. Please vote for me and make this a reality. 

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