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Oslo Kommune

Quantifying the littering problem

Is there more littering in neighboorhood A than B? Answering this simple question is a tough methodological challenge and potentially a lot of hard work.

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Grønland is a district in downtown Oslo, Norway. According to common belief, the district is burdened by more littering than other parts of Oslo. As part of a plan to upgrade this vibrant, but also slightly «worn-out» area, politicians needed hard facts about the littering problem, and advice on how to address it.

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Mindshift was hired to execute research in the field in order to provide a statistically valid answer to this question, as well as conduct field studies for testing low-cost measures addressing the problem.

Picture: There wer 2.5 times the amount of cigarette butts and portions of snuff, 3 times the amount of food packaging waste and 1,8 times the amount of litter

Mindshift developed a classification scheme for litter and methods for data collection and quantification of the amount of litter within each category. We compared the results with a referance area in Oslo, namely Grünerløkka, by collecting data from the same area size and length of street line, with the same type and amount of activity.

Picture: Data collection methods are important. The methodology and analytical approach determines how the data may be used and what explanations they can generate.

Picture: Visualisation of litter density by category compared to reference area

Picture: Visualisation of some of the 100 000 geo-referenced observations by litter category 

The project concluded that there was indeed more litter on Grønland. Within the categories food packaging waste, there was 3,0 times the amount and cigarette butts and portions of snuff 2,5 times the amount. We also observed and pin-pointed several «hot spots» for littering. Littering varied greatly between different data collection zones, there was a particular accumulation of litter around Gørnland Torg/Motzfeldts gate and certain spots in Jens Bjelkes gate. Any measures to reduce the littering problem should focus on these spots.

The report provides further details .Another unique aspect of the project was that Mindshift trained a group of local teenagers in scientific methodology and the techniques we developed for classification, data collection and quantification of litter. The teenagers themselves suggested several of the anti-littering measures we tested as part of the project.

Picture: Another unique aspect of the project was that Mindshift trained a group of local teenagers in scientific methodology and the techniques we developed for classification, data collection and quantification of litter. The teenagers themselves suggested several of the anti-littering measures we tested as part of the project.

Downlowd the report here

Introduction of nudging measures resulted in a 208 % increase in desired behaviour, i.e. share of smokers using the cigarette butt disposal bin. Extrapolating this figure to the whole of Oslo, this would imply an estimated reduction of 1.23 million cigarette butts a year*, provided the measures had been implemented throughout the city. The project demonstrated the importance of attention when change behaviour in a busy environment, as well as the effectiveness of nudging techniques - influencing people through targeted behavioural design.

*Estimate based on figures from Sneipfritt, indicating that 2.4 million cigarette butts end up on the ground every year in Oslo

Sustainability sector

Let's Talk!

Ambitious business manager with a complex issues to solve? Potential colleague who enjoy challenging old habits? Let's talk!

Anne Stokke

Anne Stokke

CEO

anne.stokke@mindshift.no

+4798238713

Andre Ruud

Andre Ruud

CTO

andre.ruud@mindshift.no

+4797569513

Bjørn Hallan

Bjørn Hallan

COO

bjorn.hallan@mindshift.no

+47 917 59 222

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