Creating new personal habits for recycling

A telecom company in Holland wanted to increase recycling of old paper and plastic cups at its offices. The company had already installed boxes on each department building and a special team repeatedly informed and instructed employees on different occasions about the boxes and emphasized the importance of using them. Despite this, the amount of paper and plastic cups that ended up in the personal wastebaskets was not reduced.

After a five day pre-measure of the recycling behaviour, departments of the company were randomly assigned to different conditions: Two groups acted as control groups and two other received a personal recycling box for old  paperwork, which was noticeably placed near each participant’s desk. The last two groups received instructions to visualize and write an implementation intention plan. Participants in these groups were asked to plan when, where and how to recycle their old paper and used recycle cups. In one of the groups a personal recycling box for paper was also installed near their desk a day after they had completed their plan.

The experiment showed that asking people to plan how, when and where to recycle reduced the amount of paper and plastic cups that ended up in the normal waste with75–80 per cent and that the behaviour change was stable over time. Also the personal recycling box improved
recycling. However, there was no significant  difference between those who got both a personal
recycling box and had to plan and those that had to  plan only, showing that the effect of the implementation intention works just as well in itself.

Text Source from article, chapter 7 Creating New Habits:
Enabling sustainable choices in everyday life – 12 strategies to promote behaviour change

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