Recycling in multi-family dwellings: Increasing participation and decreasing contamination

Population and Environment (Impact Factor: 1.46). 01/1995; 16(3). DOI: 10.1007/BF02331920
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT This study explored the promotion of recycling in multi-family dwellings. An experimental design investigated four behavior change techniques: biweekly postcards giving specific feedback to each dwelling unit as to quantity and contamination of the recyclables, newsletters giving general information on recycling and the amount recycled by the city as a whole, written pledges committing households to recycle for a specified period, and volunteer coordinators who distributed information and answered questions from residents. The effectiveness of these techniques was compared against that of a control group. The findings suggest that volunteer coordinators are not an effective intervention technique in multi-family dwellings, and that feedback and commitment techniques are useful mainly for managing contamination in medium sized complexes. The data also suggest that the size of a multi-family dwelling complex significantly affects the amount of recyclables collected and the level of contamination. Smaller complexes with less than ten units recycled up to three times the amount on a per unit basis as complexes with more units. Smaller units also had fewer problems with contamination in their recyclables. Several explanations are offered for the poor participation and performance in larger complexes. Peer Reviewed

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