Increasing Community Recycling with Persuasive Communication and Public Commitment

Authors


Requests for reprints should be sent to Shawn M. Burn, Claremont Graduate School, Benezet Psychology Building, Claremont, CA 91711.

Abstract

Persuasive communication and public commitment were used to encourage recycling in a citywide program. The persuasive communication was a combination of factors which have been found by laboratory researchers to produce attitude and/or behavior change. The public commitment manipulation involved signing a statement supportive of recycling. Households which did not recycle during a 6-week baseline period were selected for experimental study. Trained Boy Scouts made an oral informational statement and then gave each of 201 experimental households one of three treatments (a written persuasive communication, public commitment, or both). A control group of 132 homes received no treatment. Recycling was observed for 6 weeks following delivery of all treatments. Results indicated that the three treatment groups recycled significantly more than the control group but did not differ significantly from each other. Future directions for applied work in this domain are discussed.

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