Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Malott

Third Advisor

Dr. Harold Glasser

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Numerous researchers and theorists have attempted to explain the existence of the gap between the possession of environmental knowledge and awareness and the display of pro-environmental behavior (Glasser, 2007; Kollmuss & Agyeman, 2002). Behavior analysis is uniquely aligned to contribute to this discussion through its emphasis on the role of controlling variables in behavior change. A growing number of behavioral research studies address the challenges of group-contingencies in an effort to solve real-world gaps (Lehman & Geller, 2004). This study was designed as a continuation of the line of behavioral research designed to increase recycling rates and also as an attempt to solve an issue presented in an academic building. During baseline measures, 20-30% of the landfill waste was comprised of recyclable material. Bins for plastic/glass/metal were not present in classrooms and classroom landfill bins were being utilized for disposal of bottles and cans. The treatment package included removal of all classroom bins, addition of centrally located, integrated landfill and recycling bins, along with the development of new signage. Results showed a decrease in the amount of recyclable material inaccurately sorted into landfill receptacles. These findings vary from previous recommendations that recycling bins be placed in all possible areas of waste generation.

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