Effective strategies for enhancing waste recycling rates in socially deprived areas

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This paper presents the results of a study of attitudes towards and behaviour in relation to waste recycling among a sample of 231 residents of socially deprived neighbourhoods in two inner-London boroughs. The research explored (i) the degrees to which certain variables that previous empirical investigations have found to influence recycling in non-deprived localities also apply within low income districts, and (ii) the types and levels of rewards and penalties most likely to induce non-recyclers in the areas covered to start to recycle. A conjoint analysis was undertaken to establish the natures of the combinations of rewards and penalties that people living in socially deprived neighbourhoods believed would be most likely to encourage their local communities to recycle more extensively. Additionally a logistic regression analysis was completed to ascertain the main determinants of residents' decisions to recycle. It emerged that schemes based on direct material rewards and penalties appealed to the participants to significantly greater extents than programmes which relied on indirect benefits. The sample members exhibited low levels of awareness of recycling issues, despite the fact that recycling had been the subject of widespread media attention in the months prior to and during the investigation.
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