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Social Experiment Inspires Change: Nearly 400 Homeless Individuals to Receive Hot Meals in Antwerpen this Christmas


A recent social experiment in two supermarkets in Flanders, Belgium, revealed a profound shift in consumer behavior that translated into tangible benefits for the community. As a result of the experiment, nearly 400 homeless people in Antwerpen will receive a hot meal during Christmas. 

Traditionally, consumers are motivated by the prospect of financial incentives when participating in deposit return programs. However, this study sought to test whether a more altruistic approach - providing a free meal to a person in need instead of a small monetary reward - could effectively encourage people to return their used packaging.

The experiment, which aimed to measure whether people would change their habits when choosing between receiving a monetary reward or contributing to a charitable cause, revealed compelling results that challenge conventional thinking. 

In the study, participants were allowed to contribute to a charitable cause - providing a free meal to a needy person instead of receiving a conventional monetary reward for participating in the deposit return program. 97% of individuals correctly depositing their empty plastic water bottles choose the altruistic option of providing a free meal to a homeless person in Antwerpen.

The initiative, driven by the philosophy that "you change your behavior, you change a life", demonstrated that individuals are more inclined to modify their actions if they perceive a direct and tangible benefit to helping others.

It harnesses the power of digital tools like the Unbox XYZ platform to build smart and inclusive digital deposit return systems. These systems assign value to all packaging, fostering a more sustainable and socially responsible approach to waste management. 

In contrast to traditional digital deposit return systems, where only 40% of consumers change their behavior when offered a 20-eurocent return, the success of this experiment highlights the significant role that Value-Based Rewards play in shaping consumer behavior. By connecting individuals directly with charitable initiatives, these rewards prove to be a powerful motivator for positive social and environmental change.

The Unbox XYZ platform has played a pivotal role in this transformation, facilitating the seamless integration of value-based rewards into the deposit return process. The platform has proven to catalyze positive social change by connecting individuals directly with charitable initiatives.

"We are thrilled to see the immediate and tangible impact of this experiment on the lives of homeless individuals in Antwerpen," said Sige Marien, Head of Unbox Belgium. "The success of this initiative underscores the potential for digital tools like Unbox XYZ to revolutionize waste management systems, making them not only environmentally friendly but also socially impactful."

The team extends their gratitude to the organizations Unbox, CAW, and Field&Concept for their invaluable collaboration in bringing this initiative to fruition. Through partnership and shared commitment, the experiment has not only unveiled new possibilities for incentivizing positive behavior. Still, it has also made a meaningful difference in the lives of those facing homelessness during the holiday season. Happy Holidays! 

About Unbox 

Unbox is a purpose-driven software company with a platform to reward positive behaviors, and efficiently distribute and track value, cash flows, and funding.

Join us in this transformative journey as we progress towards a cleaner, more sustainable world, and reach out to Unbox today.


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