Options for Changing Behaviour

Although there is always likely to be a minority of households who will refuse to participate in recycling (perhaps as many as one in five), and similar numbers are resistant to being told what to do, the vast majority believe they can do more -with the right kind of help. 'Make recycling easy' was the overwhelming message from both the focus groups and household survey. For many people, this means making recycling as easy as throwing away normal refuse. Not surprisingly, therefore, provision of kerbside recyclables collections and more bring sites close to home were the two most popular interventions that people thought would motivate them to do more recycling - supported by 77% and 71% respectively.

Medium and low recyclers felt they needed to be reminded about recycling more directly. As well as specific information, visibility of bring banks acts as an important reminder for some. High recyclers want local Councils to take a wider range of materials. In reality, people tend to obtain most of their information on recycling by accident - from what they have seen around them. However, people expect information on recycling to be provided to them by the local Council, or environmental campaigning groups.

A common perception that recycling saves Councils money is one of several powerful myths about waste generally, and local government in particular, that influences how people respond to the idea of being asked to do more recycling. Long held views about the Council Tax make it difficult for people to think about how direct charging would differ from the present system, and how they might benefit. Charging is often perceived as imposing extra costs. It is seen as especially unacceptable by low income households and low recyclers, and unfair by a majority. People respond moderately positively to the idea of financial rewards for recycling. Both in relation to rewards and information, people were most comfortable with ideas that made sense in relation to established cultural norms -e.g. TV advertising, reward cards, web sites (for professionals).

People think that 'carrots' should come before 'sticks' - which would mean greater investment in making recycling easier (less effort) first. Some feel that greater, and demonstrable, commitment from local Councils should be demanded before people are punished for their own lack of commitment to recycling. If waste behaviour is to be transformed as required, building trust and dialogue with household customers of recycling services will be at least as important as providing extra facilities and new services.

0 0

Post a comment