Nov 22, 2019
Litter is found just about
everywhere you find people. Discarded wrappers and dropped pieces
of paper aren’t meant to be cluttering up our parks, running
trails, and sidewalks. Yet, litter is everywhere. It’s a problem
that hasn’t been solved. Today’s guest is someone who looked at
this problem and used intuition and research to create a
I am so excited to have Michael
Manniche, CEO and founder of The Littery as my guest. When I
learned about The Littery in a post on LinkedIn, I knew instantly
it was a perfect example of behavioral economics being used to
create a business to help the planet and people from all countries
living on it by turning litter…into lottery tickets.
In today’s interview, Michael
shares how he first invented the name (it contains the problem and
the solution). Michael has always felt that litter is totally
unnecessary. He also understood that litter was a behavioral
problem. The solution would need to be something strong enough to
change that behavior. He then shares his research and how he has
built a business model that pays people prize money to stop
littering. This is a great example of how behavioral economics can
be used in business and in making the world
- [03:27] The problem and the
solution are in name The Littery. (“litter” +
- [04:07] Michael has always felt
that litter is totally unnecessary.
- [04:52] He wanted to find a
motivation strong enough to change the bad behavior of
- [05:48] Lotteries have been
around for over four thousand years and all over the
- [07:44] Michael had a theory
that a lottery incentive could stop littering. He did a test in his
home country of Sweden and the results were better than he
- [09:14] It's actually
incredibly easy to change behavior with the right driver or
- [11:31] To test the concept,
Michael went to a movie theater. They had students measure litter
on the floor, in bins, and for correct sorting.
- [14:07] Patrons were offered an
opportunity to win €5000 or free movie tickets if they put their
trash in the correct place.
- [15:41] After one month, across
four locations, the litter in the bin was now 100% and correctly
- [19:35] The success of the test
encouraged Michael to leave his job, get investors, and start his
- [20:29] You put an app on your
phone. When you open a smart bin and throw something in, you get a
digital lottery ticket sent to your phone.
- [21:38] It's also a goal to
sort recyclables correctly. There is a camera in the bin that
checks the sorting process. You don't get a ticket if things aren't
- [23:33] The AI and image
recognition was more difficult than Michael thought it would be.
The lighting and things have to be exactly the same as it would
look inside of a bin.
- [30:02] He incorporated in
Latvia (and moved to Sweden to support his dream), because he had
- [31:02] The next phase will be
piloted in the Paris area. In the future they will use the city
litter contract money to purchase the bins and pay the lottery
- [32:47] The business model
depends on procured contracts. Having a new solution is a challenge
for procurement. This stage they are also raising funds to help
finance the pilot programs.
- [34:52] Some partners include a
large waste management company and Coca-Cola.
- [35:33] 10% of earnings will go
to charity. Winners can also donate to their charity of
- [41:01] Optimism bias and
framing comes into play when you think about how picking up trash
can give you a chance to win a lottery.
- [42:14] Now, when Michael looks
at a cigarette butt on the ground, he sees a lottery ticket.
Hopefully everyone will have that same opinion soon.
- [44:31] Humans want to behave
as the norm. We are also prone to enjoy competition. Michael has
incorporated many of these things into the app.
- [46:35] If anybody wants to
invest reach out to Michael.
- [49:02] Michael is learning
that behavioral science is super intriguing.
- [50:35] Using incentives to
influence the larger group is the plan.
- [51:41] “When litter hits the
bins everybody wins.”
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