The Effects of Bin Proximity and Visual Prompts on Recycling in a University Building

Neal D Miller, James N Meindl, Mallorie Caradine


Institutions such as universities are responsible for a significant amount of recyclable material entering landfills. This problem could be addressed in part by increasing the percentage of waste recycled by consumers on campuses. Building on previous research, we evaluated the effects of bin proximity and visual prompts on rates of recycling within a university building. The total weight of recyclable materials (aluminum, plastic, and paper) placed into the building’s garbage and recycling bins was measured each day, and a reversal design was employed in which the environmental arrangement of the recycling bins was systematically manipulated. Both interventions produced a decrease in the amount of recyclable material being thrown in the trash cans, with visual prompts plus bin proximity being slightly more effective than bin proximity alone. However, neither intervention produced large increases in recycling. Interpretations of these findings and suggestions for future researchers are discussed. 


recycling, bin proximity, visual prompt

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility