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Le 15/03/2021

Challenging citizens: a way to change behaviours

Inhabitants are the main actors and decision-makers in society. That’s why, working on their eco-friendly behaviours can have a real influence.

Lille Metropole has been regularly organising challenges for its inhabitants over the past few years. Using your bike, reducing your household waste, consuming less energy, every part of daily life is being taken into account. Recently, the “Energy spur” challenge and the “Zero waste families” challenge have been evaluated by students of the University of Amiens. A report, which aims to determine whether engaging in waste-reduction behaviours can influence energy-saving behaviours, and vice-versa, came out in July 2020.

The two challenges work the same way. Families sign up voluntarily. By doing so, they commit to measure their consumptions (water, energy, electricity, waste). To help them reduce these rates, Lille Metropole organised workshops and groups to discuss integrating eco-tips in the families’ daily life or reducing your production of waste. Families are also given objects to progress in their journey: books, tools to measure their productions, games or samples.

Families are gathered into groups, which all have a captain whose role is to motivate everyone to go to meetings and get involved into the challenge.

To begin with, the “Energy Spur” challenge is being organized during the heat season in summer. The current edition gathers 166 households from 39 municipalities. The challenge dates back to 2015. It is incorporated within the framework of AMELIO programme dedicated to tackling energy poverty.

Concerning the “zero waste families” challenge. It began in November 2017 and lasted 6 months. 339 families took part in this challenge. They came from 33 municipalities of the metropole. The point was to raise the population’s awareness of sustainable purchasing, composting, green alternatives, or repairing. To do so, they were given a jar, a bulk bag, a washable kitchen towel, a kitchen leftovers bin, discount coupons in reuse shops, reducing waste books and a pocket scale. It has a been a success for 90% of the families. They noticed a real change in their lifestyle. On average, families have reduced their waste production by 37%.

Challenges are a good way to communicate on those topics, and to encourage the population to change their behaviours through games. Talking about electricity or plastic becomes funnier and more attractive for all the family. It also encourages people to share their experience and motivate their neighbours or friends to also take part to the challenge.

Through this change in behaviours, it is a whole system which is being implemented and strengthened. Green shops and sensitizing places are being brought to the forefront. All these tiny actions combined together can have a real leverage for our policies and our planet.