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A Qualitative Inquiry into Collecting Recyclable Cans and Bottles as a Livelihood Activity at Football Tailgates in the United States

Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University, Room 131, 480 Wilson Road, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5659; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145659
Received: 15 June 2020 / Revised: 6 July 2020 / Accepted: 7 July 2020 / Published: 14 July 2020
The deposit refund program for the return of beverage containers in some U.S. states has led to recycling as a means of earning income. Michigan’s 10-cent aluminum can and bottle refund, which is the highest in the U.S., makes recycling for income particularly attractive. This study explores the factors that enable or constrain the livelihood activity of people who collect cans and bottles at football tailgating parties, focusing on the motivation behind choices and the factors that enhance or constrain their activities. Maximum variation (heterogeneity) sampling, a purposeful sampling method, was used to recruit participants from different races, genders, and age groups. Data were collected through direct observation and semi-structured interviews and analyzed using thematic analysis. The findings indicate that the income from this livelihood activity was an important survival strategy for those who engage in it. Other significant sources of motivation include contributing to environmental stewardship and recognition for doing so. Differences in capital assets such as social networks, physical strength, skills, and access to equipment led to differences in people’s ability to earn income from collecting cans and bottles. Some challenges restricted their activities, including accessing shopping carts and public buses to transport the cans and limitations imposed on the number of cans that canners can redeem at the redemption centers. View Full-Text
Keywords: livelihoods; informal recycling; bottle bill laws; football tailgates livelihoods; informal recycling; bottle bill laws; football tailgates
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chikowore, N.R.; Kerr, J.M. A Qualitative Inquiry into Collecting Recyclable Cans and Bottles as a Livelihood Activity at Football Tailgates in the United States. Sustainability 2020, 12, 5659. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145659

AMA Style

Chikowore NR, Kerr JM. A Qualitative Inquiry into Collecting Recyclable Cans and Bottles as a Livelihood Activity at Football Tailgates in the United States. Sustainability. 2020; 12(14):5659. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145659

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chikowore, Noleen R., and John M. Kerr 2020. "A Qualitative Inquiry into Collecting Recyclable Cans and Bottles as a Livelihood Activity at Football Tailgates in the United States" Sustainability 12, no. 14: 5659. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145659

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