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  • Iaps2008

    1. 1. Beyond Recyclers and Non-recyclers: Orientations to recycling in two cities Tsai-Shiou Hsieh Ph.D. Program in Environmental Psychology Graduate School and University Center City University of New York U.S.A.
    2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Seeds of this project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>personal experience as a new comer to NYC. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a previous survey-research in an academic building. (Hsieh, T.-S. 2002, IAPS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a reflection of existing theories on recycling behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a policy swirl of NYC ’ s recycling program </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Individual Factors <ul><li>Recyclers vs. Non-Recyclers (socio-demographic characteristics) </li></ul><ul><li> Some stereotypes, no conclusions. </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological Processes Attitudes-behavior model </li></ul><ul><li> Explanation not strong enough </li></ul><ul><li> Continuous modifications </li></ul>
    4. 4. Contextual Factors <ul><li>Convenience, information, availability </li></ul><ul><li>Physical attributes: proximity, design..etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction with demographic variables. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Socio-demographics did not directly influence recycling behavior. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interaction with psychological processes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Social context ” study: availability of recycling program was more important than individual ’ s environmental concerns. </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Summary of Relevant Literature <ul><li>Attitude-Behavior model continues to be dominant in recycling studies, even though it provides insufficient explanations. </li></ul><ul><li>Discussions of contextual factors are scattered and limited. </li></ul><ul><li>Appearance of new frameworks and models. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Recycling in Context <ul><li>Why contextual factors are important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recycling is not only an individual behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural, political and economic conditions influence recycling programs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why our understanding of contextual factors is limited? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of appropriate framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compounded with other variables </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Research Questions <ul><li>Relocation and contextual factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How does relocation (and the change of environmental cultures) have an impact on environmental concerns? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does moving to a place with different policies influence everyday environmental practices, such as recycling activities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the factors involved in the processes of re-shaping one’s pro-environmental behavior, such as recycling? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does a new place’s contextual (political, cultural, social and physical) factors of recycling relate to people’s ecological thinking? </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Research Design <ul><li>An Ecological Approach </li></ul><ul><li>United States vs. Germany </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Localized at city level: NYC vs. Munich </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recycling in the two cities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NYC: pick-up system, fewer categories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Munich: drop-off system, more categories </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Research Methods I <ul><li>Archival studies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Background information of recycling culture: physical objects; government policy brochures, advertisement, public discourses represented in newspaper articles. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informational affordances in different political/ economic/ cultural environments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Observations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quantity and quality of the recycling containers in public places; signs and posters; bottle refund mechanisms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical affordances </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Research Method II <ul><li>Interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Germans in NYC and Americans in Munich </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In vivo Interviews (at interviewees ’ places) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Criteria: adult; in charge or sharing garbage disposal in the household; having lived in NYC/Munich for at least two month; staying in a residence (not hotel-type lodging.) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People ’ s experiences of recycling in the host country; their perception of environmental cultural differences between their home country and the host one; and any reflections regarding recycling and garbage to their ecological thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All transcribed and coded using ATLAS.ti </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Result I : beyond recycler/non-recycler dichotomy <ul><ul><li>Temporal differences: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relocating to another country often changed people’s recycling behavior: both directions observed. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spatial differences: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People sometimes recycle differently based on where they are: home, office, public space,…etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Material differences: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>people may choose to recycle only certain types of material, based on different reasons. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Result II : various reasons for recycling (or not) <ul><ul><li>Ecological reasoned (good for the environment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic reason for oneself (save money) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economically effective for society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legally required (it’s a law) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social norm of the community / neighbors…. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good citizen- national norm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Habit </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Case I: “I don’t recycle because I think it’s good for the environment.” <ul><ul><li>B.D. has certain pro-environmental concerns and behavior and in general, but he is convinced that recycling certain materials are not good for the environment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I used to think it’s [recycling] important, but now I think it’s more important that people find out the truth behind it, the economics behind it, and the reality of using recycled material versus using virgin material.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ When I don’t recycle, I don’t think I’m irresponsible. I already said that. I think I’m more responsible for not recycling….. Recycling is a nice idea, nice concept, but doesn’t work.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternative to recycling: “ lower consumption. Policies like the German packaging law helped to reduce the packaging in this country. More thoughtful consumption, just purchase what you need and considering what would or wouldn’t be thrown out or wasted in a non-useful manner. “ </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Case II: found her German recycling life in the neighborhood <ul><ul><li>E.N. grew up recycling, but couldn’t do that for several years after moving to the US, until she moved to this neighborhood. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ When I came here, you know, I just….it just happened. I didn’t have to.. create composting here, I just have to participate, because it was already established here, this neighborhood. I think it’s probably…pretty typical for our neighborhood. We’re very environmental conscious… “ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“… in this building, actually the whole neighborhood. They have something outside, in front of our house, that the whole neighborhood contribute to that garbage can to compost. And it will be emptied actually I think several times during the week. And it goes to the community garden which is two blocks away.” </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Further Analyses: <ul><ul><li>Different dimensions of affordances (physical, social, informational, political….etc.) v.s. recycling orientations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People’s original environmental orientation (before relocation) v.s. the importance of contextual factors. </li></ul></ul>