Solid waste mismanagement is a social burden that requires the introduction of reliable public policies, including recycling principles and technological facilities. However, the development of recycling plans is a real issue for municipal governments, since it involves psychological and cultural factors, both in developed and developing countries. Questionnaire survey is an important tool for evaluating which solid waste management policy is suited for each specific study area, involving citizens and stakeholders. The aim of this paper is to evaluate what approach should be applied for social surveys in higher education institutes, comparing developing and developed countries. Italy is the developed country analyzed, where two universities in different cities are compared, while La Paz (Bolivia) is the emerging reality considered. The research conducted in La Paz led us to understand that, although recycling rates are low (about 8%), many students (56.96%) separate up to half of the waste produced at home. At the same time, about 53% of those interviewed do not know the recycling practices implemented by the informal sector which is the one that constantly act for improving the recycling rates of the city. Low technological acceptance is instead underlined in the high income country, since there is a common negative opinion concerning the introduction of landfills and incinerators near residential areas (49% disagree). A comparison of the methodologies adopted for the two case studies is introduced whereas investigations results are presented.
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