Love NZ uses mobile karma bank to show that rubbish that comes around, should go around

Recycling really should be second nature by now, but it doesn’t take much more than a look around to see there’s still plenty of work to be done in terms of education. So in an effort to fill up those 1000-odd recycling bins all around the country, Love NZ has just pushed play on a six-week campaign by McCann Melbourne and its direct and digital arm MRM called It’s A Karma Thing, which exhorts Kiwis to ‘do the right thing’ and earn points they can then redeem for prizes.

it's a karma thing love nz campaign app

Punters are being encouraged to download the app, then scan the QR code on Love NZ bins around the country when they recycle containers in order to rack up ‘karma kredits’. For those with less intelligent devices, there are codes on the bins that can be entered via SMS or online. And because you’ll need something to do with all those ‘kredits’, the campaign site is hosting a bunch of virtual auctions for everything from Countdown vouchers to iPads.

it's a karma thing appit's a karma thing app

Backing the campaign are Coca-Cola NZ, TradeMe, Vodafone, The Warehouse and Countdown, who have donated prizes including phones, BBQs, travel, entertainment and food coupons.

Twenty-six regions have been involved to date in Love NZ public recycling initiatives, which are funded by the government’s Waste Minimisation Fund, local authorities and industry—and almost all are involved in the Karma campaign too. 


Lyn Mayes, the manager of Love NZ, says it was working with the McCann NZ office before it was wound up, and it’s been a “huge mission” getting all of the councils on the same page to make this work. But from her perspective it’s been very positive to see the bureaucrats working with the industry towards something that will benefit all parties—and the country as a whole. 

Nicky Wagner, MP for Christchurch Central and chair of the Love NZ board, says it’s about raising awareness and getting Kiwis to regularly use recycling bins while out and about.

“Last year the Rugby World Cup acted as a catalyst to put the infrastructure in place for recycling and we recycled an enormous amount during the tournament. In just six weeks over 15 million bottles, cans, plastic bottles and cartons got recycled. However even with recycling bins at the stadiums during the Rugby World Cup people still left their drink bottles on the floor to be collected by cleaning staff. We hope It’s a Karma Thing will incentivise New Zealanders to look for the Love NZ recycling bins and put their bottles and cans in them so it becomes a way of life, just as we recycle at home.”

  • This is an edited version of a story that originally appeared on idealog.co.nz.

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