A Study Examines How Better Communication Can Boost Recycling

Environmental News from New York: A University at Buffalo-led study examines how improved communication can support efforts to increase recycling in New York State and the rest of the United States.

The study, which analyzes survey data collected from 1,010 residents from across New York State, found that:

  • A concern for the environment, subjective knowledge (in this case, how much they think they know about recycling), and social capital (network and relationships that can be used to gain an advantage) are critical factors in someone’s likelihood to recycle.
  • Subjective knowledge – rather than objective knowledge (how much an individual actually knows) – influences whether someone intends to recycle.
  • Social capital affects recycling intention indirectly through attitude and subjective norms.

“We see that people with more pro-environmental attitudes, those who believe that they know more about recycling, as well as individuals who are more connected in their communities tend to want to recycle better because they have a more favorable attitude toward recycling and view recycling as a socially desirable thing to do,” says study co-author Janet Yang, Ph.D., professor in the UB Department of Communication.

She adds: “This work highlights the importance of establishing an environmentally friendly culture within local communities, and that environmental campaigns and education should be grounded on the community level.

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Source: University at Buffalo

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