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Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 458; doi:10.3390/su8050458

Visual Prompts or Volunteer Models: An Experiment in Recycling

1
Sustainable Behaviour Research Group, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
2
Values and Sustainability Research Group, University of Brighton, Watts Building, Lewes Road, Brighton BN2 4GJ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 15 March 2016 / Revised: 26 April 2016 / Accepted: 4 May 2016 / Published: 9 May 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [464 KB, uploaded 9 May 2016]   |  

Abstract

Successful long-term programs for urban residential food waste sorting are very rare, despite the established urgent need for them in cities for waste reduction, pollution reduction and circular resource economy reasons. This study meets recent calls to bridge policy makers and academics, and calls for more thorough analysis of operational work in terms of behavioral determinants, to move the fields on. It takes a key operational element of a recently reported successful food waste sorting program—manning of the new bins by volunteers—and considers the behavioral determinants involved in order to design a more scalable and cheaper alternative—the use of brightly colored covers with flower designs on three sides of the bin. The two interventions were tested in a medium-scale, real-life experimental set-up that showed that they had statistically similar results: high effective capture rates of 32%–34%, with low contamination rates. The success, low cost and simple implementation of the latter suggests it should be considered for large-scale use. Candidate behavioral determinants are prompts, emotion and knowledge for the yellow bin intervention, and for the volunteer intervention they are additionally social influence, modeling, role clarification, and moderators of messenger type and interpersonal or tailored messaging. View Full-Text
Keywords: food waste; behavior change; recycling; urban; determinants; bin covers food waste; behavior change; recycling; urban; determinants; bin covers
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lin, Z.Y.; Wang, X.; Li, C.J.; Gordon, M.P.R.; Harder, M.K. Visual Prompts or Volunteer Models: An Experiment in Recycling. Sustainability 2016, 8, 458.

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