Acknowledgments: Kiyuri Naicker, the volunteers who acted as models, the Victoria Public Interest Research Group (VIPRG), and the University of Victoria Student Society are acknowledged.
The Effectiveness of Models and Prompts on Waste Diversion: A Field Experiment on Composting by Cafeteria Patrons†
Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012
© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 43, Issue 1, pages 24–34, January 2013
How to Cite
Sussman, R., Greeno, M., Gifford, R. and Scannell, L. (2013), The Effectiveness of Models and Prompts on Waste Diversion: A Field Experiment on Composting by Cafeteria Patrons. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43: 24–34. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2012.00978.x
- Issue published online: 22 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012
This study investigated whether or not visual prompts and human models influence compost-supportive behavior by individuals in a cafeteria setting. Waste disposal behavior of cafeteria patrons was observed (N = 1,060) after the introduction of (1) pro-composting signs, and (2) models who demonstrated appropriate composting behavior. Ideal composting significantly increased relative to the baseline with the introduction of the signs (from 12.5% to 20.5%). A further increase (to 42%) was observed when two (but not one) individuals modeled the behavior, and this increase was sustained even after the models were removed. Informational and normative influences may explain the increase in composting. This study further supports the use of prompts and models as a strategy for encouraging pro-environmental behaviors.