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Information and the decision to recycle: results from a survey of US households

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This paper relies on a unique dataset collected during a national survey of US households to explore how different sources of information (print, television, radio, family/friends, work/school and others) influence the decision to start recycling. Although print media are influential, it is found that face-to-face communication (through family/friends or work/school) is the most effective medium to get people to start recycling. However, it is even better to provide households with recycling information from multiple sources. The respondents in this study identify concerns about storage space, time and the safety of recycling as the main obstacles to start recycling. In addition, age and ethnicity are statistically significant but not income or education. These findings should be useful for crafting information campaigns designed to boost recycling, although to be successful these campaigns need to incorporate findings from environmental psychology and knowledge of specific communities.
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Keywords: environmental attitudes; household recycling; logistic regression; recycling information

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Urban and Regional Planning, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, USA 2: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Planning, Policy, & Design, & Economics Departments, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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