How Does Sociology Play a Role in Recycling Bin Contamination?

Many articles exist to enlighten readers of the sociological responses, causes, and impacts of environmental problems on communities. Such articles explore positive effects that successful recycling programs can have on communities and how a different persepctive can be used to alter recycling behavior. Utilizing triangulation methods - including interviews, observations, and content analysis - recycling behavior has been found to not only be influenced by social norms, but also by the personal norms of individuals in a community and the awareness of individuals' consequences. In a study performed in a neighborhood in Colorado, prompting the community to recycle had a greater impact both in terms of increased recycling amount and attitudes towards recycling than the impact of increasing the recycling knowledge of the community (Recycling as Altruistic Behavior). The results from the Colorado study and other studies can directly be applied to altering the sociological ideas surrounding recycling bin contamination on the Diag.

To learn more about the sociological aspect of recycling and gain a more in-depth perspective, check out some of the following articles:

  • Derksen, L., & Gartrell, J. (1993). The Social Context of Recycling. American Sociological Review, 58(3). doi:211.0302.69/5845-7
  • Hopper, J.R., & Nielsen, J.M. (1991). Recycling as Altruistic Behavior: Normative and Behavioral Strategies to Expand Participation in a Community Recycling Program. Environment & Behavior, 23(2). doi:10.1177/0013916591232004
  • Lounsbury, M.Ventresca, M., & Hirsch, P.M. (2002). Social Movements, Field Frames and Industry Emergence: A Cultural-Political Perspective on US Recycling. Socio-Economic Review, 1(1). doi:10.1093/soceco/1.1.71


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