Craft an out of box experience that facilitates behavior modification resulting in a change of actions and emotions.


Primary Research, Concept, System Diagrams, App Prototype, Physical Package, Video.


Sketch, Keynote, principle, Adobe Premiere.
App design


Paper towels make life pretty easy when it comes to wiping up messes in a hurry, but the Paperless Project revealed that the paper industry is the 3rd largest contributor to global warming. How might we encourage people to use less paper towels to conserve our resources?

PaperCycle is an app that encourages you to use less paper towels by rewarding you coupons. This project is interrelated with another experiment project my teammates and I did which proved the working concept of this App.


4 Weeks

Project Type



Reward System

A reward system that encourages students to save more paper towels by following the suggested behaviors

Social Impact

Further encourages student to keep using this app, by showing the impact that student has made by following the suggested behavior.

Exchanging points

All the points got from the app can be exchange into rewards for CCA students.



In the United States alone, 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year. Based on research, most Americans are triple-takers, causing more environmental damage than if they just took one paper towel at a time. If you don't believe this statement, take a look at these statistics:

• In the U.S. we currently use more than 13 billion pounds of paper towels each year and that number is growing steadily. This equals more than 3,000 tons of paper towel waste in the U.S. alone.
• Globally, discarded paper towels result in 254 million tons of trash every year.
• As many as 51,000 trees per day are required to replace the number of paper towels that are discarded every day.
• If every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year.
• If every household in the U.S. used three less rolls per year, it would save 120,000 tons of waste and $4.1 million in landfill dumping fees.

Obviously, there is a need to encourage everyone to cut down paper towel waste, but how might we change people's behaviors and encourage them to save paper towels?


In order to understand people's mental models of how people use paper towels, I ran eight intercept interviews with students at CCA (California College of the Arts). I asked them if they are aware of how many paper towels they use and why so. Here are the main reasons why people use more than one paper towel:
1. One paper towel is not enough
2. Door handles in bathroom are dirty so that I need an extra one to hold the door on the way out.
3. Take an extra paper towel just to make sure my hands are 100% dry.

The mindset that one paper towel is not enough results in more paper consumption

There is an opportunity to convince users that one paper towel is sufficient for drying their hands

Secondary Research

After the interview section, I explored different ways of drying hands by using one paper towel. One of the methods caught my attention was Joe Smith's TED talk of How To Use a Paper Towel. He introduce two steps in drying your hands with one paper towel, which are : 

Here is the link to the TED talk


The secondary research was my starting point of the entire project because most of people don't know how to utilize a paper towel efficiently. I started to ideate different ways to "make" people either fold the paper towel or shake their hands.

I was stuck during ideation section because I was trying too hard to make people do certain behaviors but neglected the fact that people have developed habits that are hard to change.

A better way to achieve my goal will be to look for behaviors pattern and build from exiting behaviors

Rather than forcing people to change behavior, I moved my focus to diagram how paper towels are consumed at CCA. I got inspired by the money flow and came up with an idea to motivate students to save more paper towel by rewarding them.




next project

Evaluating Behavior Change

An experimental project that prove the concept of PaperCycle works