The Effects of Three Prompting Methods on Recycling Participation Rates: A Field Study

Margaret A. Reams
Brooks H. Ray

DOI: 10.2190/5EJN-QJH9-VWAW-KL3T


This study compares the effects of three commonly used prompting methods on recycling participation rates. These are: 1) the securing of pledges to recycle through direct, personal contact, 2) the securing of pledges through indirect contact, and 3) the dissemination of educational information alone, with no personal contact or pledge. We applied the three prompting methods to residents of married student housing communities at Louisiana State University during a five-week test program. Securing pledges through direct contact led to significantly higher rates of recycling than either gaining pledges through indirect contact or disseminating only educational information. However, pledging, per se, was not shown to result in higher rates of participation. We conclude that the direct-contact prompting raised awareness of recycling, increased peer pressure to recycle, and enhanced delivery of recycling information, and that these effects led to increased participation levels.

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