Recycling Bin Contamination

Recycling Bin Contamination

Welcome to our Page!

This page was created on behalf of our final project for Environment 211, Fall 2013. Our goal is to use research to learn about the most effective way to encourage proper recycling behavior. We used the social sciences of communication, psychology, sociology and economics to demonstrate how to change the behavior of individuals who do not recycle or who contaminate recycling bins. 

We focused our efforts on university populations and college campuses in order  to use scholarly articles applicable to the University of Michigan. We also use articles not specific to college campuses or even recycling, however these still provide valuable recommendations for promoting recycling and preventing waste contamination.

Throughout our site you will be able to learn about: the main issue in the practices/participation of proper recycling, the research we conducted (split up by social sciences), our recommendations, where viewers can get more information about the most effective ways to influence behavior, and our references (articles). 

Background Information on Recycling and Contamination

What is contamination?

Contamination occurs in recycling when non-recycables are placed in recycling. Contamination can include anything from food waste to plastic bags. Different recycling systems allow for different materials to be recycled and consider different materials as contaminants. This makes proper recycling difficult. In order to make prevent contamination while recycling effectively, it is neccesary to be informed about the materials recycling programs accept, and follow these guidelines.

     Example of Proper Recycling   Example of Improper Recycling

Why is contamination bad?

When a certain percent of a batch of recycling is contaminated, the whole batch of recycling is considered unusable and thrown away. Therefore contamination can undermine the good recycling habits of others and cause easily recyclable items to end up in land fills.

Why is Contamination Bad?

For futher information visit these sites!


This site was created by David Henslovitz, Ava Landgraf, Alex Robinson, Karishma Satapathy & Nathan Vellayan