Community Support for Recycling Pays Off
By Jason Seacat from the Scientific American Blog
Reducing waste production and increasing recycling must begin at the community level. Educating residents about recycling, changing community norms to support recycling, providing low cost and convenient recycling opportunities, de-incentivizing trash disposal and enforcing penalties for illicit trash dumping represent just a few of the activities best supported and managed by local municipal governments.
Unfortunately, few communities have historically invested sufficient resources to effectively support recycling amongst their residents. This reality, coupled with the fact that trash disposal is relatively convenient and often well subsidized, leaves many residents with the unsurprising view that their community does not value recycling.
For change to occur, communities must create policies and provide resources to their residents to motivate and support recycling efforts. Fortunately, emerging studies are now beginning to provide empirical evidence to develop best practices.