Wednesday, November 15, 2023
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Recycling: A Classic Intention-Action Gap
Session ID
B7 - You Don't Always Get What You Measure: The Importance of Non-Energy Benefits
Sustainable Consumption and Production
Elizabeth Schussler

If every home in the U.S. had adequate access to recycling, we would STILL lose more than half of all residential recyclable material – that amounts to roughly 15 million tons of economic value and environmental benefit lost each year. The reason: many Americans are confused about what and how to recycle and lack confidence when it comes to recycling. If we want to improve recycling, and ultimately mobilize household participation in the circular economy, we need to strengthen recycling behavior in homes. In this session, The Recycling Partnership will share their new research from The Center for Sustainable Behavior & Impact that can help communities optimize recycling including: • Findings from national consumer segmentation and ethnographic research which helps us to better understand and document resident barriers and sentiments towards recycling. • Insights from ethnographic research where residents shared their motivations, challenges, and systems for recycling at home, identifying areas where we can better assist residents in improving recycling. • Learnings from 19 different intervention strategies including distribution of in-home recycling bins, motivational interviewing and strategic messages delivered to residents as cart tags and mailers. • Best practices in measuring the impact of programmatic and educational programs effectiveness.