Using Commitment and Feedback to Encourage Apartment Complex Dwellers to Participate in Curbside Recycling

DeLeon, I. G., & Fuqua, R. W. (1995). The effects of public commitment and group feedback on curbside recycling. Special Issue: Litter control and recycling. Environment and Behavior, 27, 2, 233-250.
After conducting a literature review , commitment and feedback were identified as effective tools in improving the participation in curbside paper recycling. Then, a group of apartment complex dwellers was solicited to participate in a pilot program. Those who agreed were randomly divided into four groups: feedback only, commitment only, or feedback and commitment combined. Also, a control condition received no interventions. The feedback only participants had the total weight of paper collected by that group published in the local paper. On the other hand, the commitment only participants were asked to sign a consent form that would be published in a newsletter and would identify them as environmentally concerned individuals. The combined condition received both interventions simultaneously. In order to facilitate data collection, paper was collected on separate days for each group. Then, the amount of recycled paper was measured in pounds.

Curbside paper recycling increased in each intervention group. The commitment only group recycled 5% more, while the feedback group increased by 25%. However, when these two tools were used simultaneously, paper recycling increased by a remarkable 40%.
Site Courtesy of
McKenzie-Mohr & Associates

Expertise in Community-Based Social Marketing