Resource Recovery: Use of a Group Contingency to Increase Paper Recycling in an Elementary School

Hamad, C. D., Cooper, D. & Semb, G. (1977). Resource recovery: Use of a group contingency to increase paper recycling in an elementary school. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62, 6, 768-772.

Recycling has been suggested as a means for replenishing dwindling energy supplies, reducing solid waste accumulation, and conserving natural resource bases. In the present study, the rates of newspaper recycling in 10 classrooms totaling 271 1st-6th graders were measured for 91/2 wks when a verbal appeal was made to students and when prizes were awarded to participating members of 3 classes recycling the most paper. 792 lb (359 kg) of newspaper were collected when the verbal appeal was made, and 14,298 lb (6,486 kg) were collected when prizes were forthcoming. The impact that newspaper recycling has on energy consumption was estimated, and the advantage of using the school system as an "agent" for wide-scale recycling operations is discussed.

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