Recycling is complicated. Material labels are unclear, the proper waste receptacles are never close by, or it is uncertain whether your items are actually recycled. Often times, materials that are well known recyclables, like aluminum, never make it to the proper bin. How do we help the next generation understand the complexities of recycling, and give them the motivation to continue to develop a life-long habit of being good stewards?


education through silly gameplay

My time abroad changed the way I think about trash, forever. It became normal to check all of my packages for recyclable materials and to painstakingly sort my trash everyday. My new normal evolved into my thesis; how can we motivate the next generation to be good stewards? Greenie is an application designed to help kids learn and form habits of recycling at an early age. By leveraging their familiarity with tablets in the classroom, the next generation is able to retain information from a digital space and apply it to the physical space.


In an effort to increase repeated visits and to keep users motivated, I designed libraries of inanimate objects with human expressions. Instead of discouraging wrong answers, the module characters only react when the user supplies the correct action. The tin can may have a “disgusted” expression while she’s waiting to be sorted, but as soon as she’s on her way her expression will change.


With help from visual prompts, each module reinforces key recycling tasks for learning retention and habit formation. Greenie teaches the next generation about the complexities of recycling and how to become life-long stewards of this place we call home.