Using a Uniquely Designed Waste Recepticle as a Prompt to Control Litter in a Shopping Mall in Blacksburg, Virginia

Geller, E. S., Brasted, W. S. & Mann, M. F. (1979). Waste receptacle designs as interventions for litter control. Journal of Environmental Systems, 9, 2, 145-160.
A literature review was conducted to examine different interventions into reducing the amount of litter at a Virginia shopping mall. Then, a pilot program was designed to incorporate prompts into the litter control efforts. In particular, some of the regular garbage cans were replaced by an obtrusive and uniquely designed receptacle. It was anticipated that by simply making the receptacle more interesting, more people would deposit their refuse thereby reducing litter. Consequently, the new receptacles were designed to look like birds and displayed a prominent anti-litter prompt. In order to obtain an objective measurement, the weight of the trash in regular cans was compared to weight in the bird cans for 36 weeks. In addition the weight was measured for 5 weeks before the bird can were introduced.

Overall, the weekly average weight of the refuse in regular cans was 9.34 lbs. To compare, the average weight of trash in the bird cans was 15.05 lbs. Moreover, the bird cans had a consistently higher weight of trash than did the regular cans before the intervention was introduced. In addition, areas around the bird cans had less litter than areas around the regular cans.
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