Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], Apr 23 : For clean and safe environment, start placing bins at a distance of 1.5 metres away from suite doors as a study reveals that it can drastically boost recycling and composting rates by 141 percent.
The University Of British Columbia in Canada researchers highlight how small changes in convenience can have a big impact on performance.
"We know people care about the environment, but having the desire to recycle and compost doesn't always translate into behaviour changes," said study's lead author Alessandra DiGiacomo.
"Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that people composted and recycled much more when we made it more convenient," DiGiacomo added.
The team placed bins in three different locations: a garbage disposal area (the least convenient option), at the base of an elevator in a building (a more convenient option), and by elevator doors on each floor (the most convenient option).
The experiments were carried out at three multi-family apartments and in two student residence buildings at UBC.
For 10 weeks, the researchers examined and weighed the waste. They found that when compost bins were placed on each floor in the apartment buildings, instead of on the ground floor, composting rates increased by 70 percent, diverting 27 kilograms of compost from the landfill per unit per year.
When recycling stations were placed just 1.5 meters from suites in student residences, instead of in the basement, recycling and composting increased by an average of 141 percent, diverting an average of nearly 20 kilograms of waste from the landfill per person per year.
"The findings showed that a minor change in the environment can have a huge impact on behaviour," said study's co-author Jiaying Zhao.
"What psychologists can do is change the environment a little bit so that our actions can follow through on our intentions.
We need to provide solutions and alternatives to current practices to help people recycle and compost more." The study appeared in the journal of Environmental Planning and Management.