Participation in residential organic waste diversion programs: Motivators and optimizing educational messaging

Gary Pickering, Hannah M.G Pickering, Ashley Northcotte, Catherine Habermebl

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Participation in residential organic-waste-diversion-programs (OWDP) represents an individual-level behaviour with significant environmental benefits, including lowering greenhouse gas emissions. This study of 2621 Niagara, Canada, residents sought to understand the attitudinal and sociodemographic drivers of participation and non-participation in OWDP. Additionally, we examined the impact of messaging about the benefits of OWDP on likelihood of future participation while varying the frame and perceived source of information. Participants reported environmental factors as the main motivators for OWDP involvement, while non-participants cited smell, inconvenience and cost as the most salient barriers. Several sociodemographic and knowledge factors predicted participation, as did strong recognition of the anthropogenic origins of climate change. Forty two percent of non-participants were more likely to participate after receiving the educational message, but this did not vary with information source nor a social-norm frame. These findings inform theory around pro-environmental behaviour and provide actionable information for education campaigns aimed at promoting OWDP.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number104807
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
    Early online date17 Mar 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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