Recycling as Altruistic Behavior: Normative and Behavioral Strategies to Expand Participation in a Community Recycling Program

Hopper, J. R., & Nielsen, J. M. (1991). Recycling as altruistic behavior: Normative and behavioral strategies to expand participation in a community recycling program. Environment and Behavior, 23, 2, 195-220.

Experimental and survey data from 122 residents of a large urban neighborhood with a community-wide curbside recycling program confirm that recycling behavior is consistent with S. H. Schwartz's (e.g., 1968, 1970) altruism model, in which behavior is influenced by social norms, personal norms, and awareness of consequences. A block-leader program, in which Ss encouraged their neighbors to recycle, influenced altruistic norms and increased recycling. Prompting and information strategies increased recycling but did not affect norms and attitudes. All intervention strategies influenced behavior independently of the measured norms; block leaders had the most impact, followed by prompts and information.

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