A Field Experiment on Interventions to Improve Curbside Recycling

Schultz, P. W. (1995). A field experiment on interventions to improve curbside recycling. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 56, 5-B,

The United States is currently facing a solid waste crisis, and recycling is an important proenvironmental step toward resolving the crisis. Previous research with recycling has focused primarily on artificially created recycling programs. This study was designed to assess the effectiveness of several interventions at improving recycling in an existing curbside recycling program. Recycling behaviors of 605 single family households in a middle-class suburb were coded for frequency of participation, amount of materials recycled, and the presence of nonrecyclable material in the collection bin (termed contamination). Sets of contiguous houses were assigned to one of five experimental conditions: Plea, plea plus information, plea plus neighborhood feedback, plea plus individual household feedback, or a control condition. Interventions were implemented using doorhangers delivered to each household. Four weeks of interventions and four weeks of follow-up observations were compared to eight weeks of baseline data to assess the relative effectiveness of each intervention. Results showed partial success for the interventions. Significant increases in frequency of participation, total amount of recycled material, and amount per participation were observed for the individual household feedback and neighborhood feedback interventions. The information intervention successfully increased only the amount of material per participation. A significant increase in the total amount of material recycled was also found for the plea only condition. None of the interventions altered the amount of contamination per participation. These results show that findings from studies on recycling conducted in artificially created programs can generalize to modern community curbside collection recycling programs. Further, the findings indicate that written interventions can be an effective way to alter the recycling behaviors of community residents. Providing written interventions, like disseminating.

Find this article online

Welcome, Guest

Not a member yet? Sign up and add powerful tools that will help you engage in the CBSM community through additional features.

Site Courtesy of
McKenzie-Mohr & Associates

Expertise in Community-Based Social Marketing