Corporate recycling: interventions and person variables associated with participation
Needleman, Lawrence D.
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The efficacy of five different types of interventions for increasing the number of participants and the quantity of recyclables collected in a corporate-based recycling program were compared. Employees at a corporate research center (N=443) associated with a large state university were asked to bring aluminum cans, glass, and newspaper from home to bins located at work. In addition, in order to track individual employee's recycling behavior, they were asked to write identifying information on each bag of recyclables (i.e., last 4 digits of social security number or a computer identification name). Interventions included appeal messages, two kinds of reciprocity interventions, goals plus feedback, and raffles. A quasi-experimental, modified multiple baseline design was used. More specifically, interventions were given to one building first, and then after a delay, they were administered to the other three buildings simultaneously. Program and intervention information were disseminated by either traditional office memos, electronic mail, or phone mail. Results indicated that only a small percentage of employees participated in the program, and raffles were the only interventions that reliably increased the number of participants and quantity of recyclables. In the hope of being able to predict which employees would participate in the recycling program, prior to the interventions, employees were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing attitudes towards recycling and person variables. More specifically, employees' optimism, environmental concern, beliefs regarding their ability to control environmental outcomes (i.e., “environmental locus of control"), and psychological reactance were assessed. Mean scores on the environmental concern and environmental locus of control scales indicated that employees were quite concerned about the environment and believed that their behavior could have a positive impact on it. Although psychological reactance scores reliably depended on employees’ recycling status (i.e., whether they were non-participants in the recycling program, infrequent participants, or frequent participants), neither it nor any of the other variables could accurately differentiate participants from non-participants in the program. Reasons for the low participation rates and the discrepancy between person variables and participation were discussed, and suggestions for improving future research in this area were made.
- Doctoral Dissertations