Providing meaningful waste feedback to larger grocery stores to promote sustainable development

University essay from KTH/Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID

Abstract: The role of the food retailer within sustainable consumption and production has been described as essential in the food production chain, with the possibility of affecting both producers and consumers to make greener choices. Logistic operations happening in the store are also important to ensure sustainable development, such as recycling. In the Swedish food retailer chain Coop, statistics on waste management in stores have been established recently, but are not communicated back to the stores. HCI have been used previously to provide environmental feedback, for example through persuasive technologies. This thesis set out to investigate how waste data can be presented to store managers and employees in a meaningful way, how this can contribute to sustainable development and provide motivation to improve the source sorting practice. Nine contextual interviews were conducted with a central facilities manager, store managers, employees and a representative from the waste collection company. Two mockups of web visualizations and two scenarios of interactive installations were designed and evaluated in two stores. Interviews highlighted the (lack of) knowledge, the economic compared to the environmental incentive for recycling and current feedback and comparisons. The design mockups were appreciated for the economic information and information provided, but scenarios being too interactive were discarded as too verbose. Resulting concepts are discussed in relation to interviews and evaluation feedback while emphasizing a holistic perspective on the practice of recycling. Using economic incentives through feedback to motivate sustainable development can facilitate recycling in stores for store managers, while other incentives may be used for employees. The potential use of environmental incentives should be further investigated. Mockups need further iterative development and more knowledge should be gathered on regular employees in future work.

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