Using Group Commitment to Increase Paper Recycling in a Nursing Home in Portand, Oregon

Wang, T. H. & Katzev, R. D. (1990). Group commitment and resource conservation: Two field experiments on promoting recycling. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20, 4, Part 1, 265-275.
Summary

After conducting a literature review, a pilot program was designed to increase paper recycling in a nursing home in Portland, Oregon. First, residents received and information appeal with instructions on what types of paper to recycle. Four weeks later, residents were asked to sign a group commitment form and to pledge to recycle for the next four weeks. Since the residents were a highly cohesive group, it was anticipated that this technique would be effective. In order to obtain an objective measure of behavior change, the recycled paper was weighed during the information campaign and the commitment period. In addition, the paper was weighed during a four week follow up after the commitment period.

Results

After the implementation of group commitment, the weight of the recycled paper increased by 47%. Furthermore, this increase remained during the four week follow up period even though residents knew they had completed their initial commitment.

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