The Disney Trash Cans

In a class I took, I heard an experiment that Disney did years ago.

They found the maximum distance people would travel to throw away trash. Say it was x feet. Then they made sure at any given time, there was a trash can <x feet away. According to legend x was 30 steps.

Who cares? Well, Disney was faced with a challenge because people litter. Trash sits around. Drinks spill. The park looks messy.

They could have put up signs that said “throw your trash away” or “$250 fine for littering.” But instead, they chose to make the right behavior easier by having more trash cans and placing more optimally.

When people on your team, in your organization or community aren’t behaving the way you would like them to, you have two choices. You could yell and hope it works. Or you could make the good behaviors easier.

I have a guess at which would have better results, but I’d say it’s worth an experiment or two.